How to Write a Review of Literature

Review The format of a literature review may vary in different disciplines and assignments. A review may be a self-contained unit or a preface to engaging in primary research. A review is a required element of grant and research proposals and usually a chapter in theses or dissertations.

Generally, when you write a review, you should know that its purpose is to analyze a part of a published body of knowledge critically through classification, summary, and comparison of earlier research studies, literature reviews, and theoretical articles.

Writing an Introduction of a Review

When you write a review introduction, you should:

  • Define or identify the topic, issue, or sphere of concern, thus offering an appropriate context for literature reviewing.
  • Point out conflicts in theory, evidence, methodology, and conclusions; or gaps in scholarship and research; or a single problem and new perspective of immediate interest.
  • Establish the reason for writing your literature review. Explain the criteria to be used in your analysis and comparison of literature and also the organization of the review. When necessary, state why certain literature is or isn't included.

If you don't know how to write a review body, check out:

  • Group your research studies and other types of literature due to common denominators like conclusions of authors, or specific objectives, chronology, and so on.
  • Summarize individual articles or studies with some details about each of their merits due to their comparative importance in the literature.
  • Provide your reader with strong sentences throughout the whole body.


Writing a Conclusion

In a conclusion:

  • Summarize the main contributions of significant articles and studies to the body of knowledge, maintaining the focus presented in the introduction.
  • Evaluate the "state of the art" for the body of knowledge which is reviewed, pointing out the main methodological flaws or gaps in your research, inconsistencies in theory, and issues pertinent to future study.
  • Make a conclusion by presenting some insight into the relationship between the main topic of the review and a larger area of study like a discipline, a scientific endeavor, or maybe a profession.

Remember to summarize your resources within each paragraph and throughout the review. When the literature review shows others’ ideas, your voice should remain front and center. When paraphrasing a resource that's not your own, make sure to represent the author’s opinions accurately as well as in your own words.

Draft in hand? You are ready to revise. Spending an ample amount of time revising is a good idea, as your main goal is to show the material, not the argument. That's why it is important to check over the review again to ensure it follows your assignment and your outline. Rewrite or rework the language of the review so that you have presented the information in the most concise manner. Ensure to use terminology that is familiar to the audience. Get rid of unnecessary slang. Eventually, check twice that you have documented the resources, and format the review accordingly to your discipline.

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