It comes as no surprise when you’re assigned to write a research paper or an essay in college. Still, students often find themselves perplexed when professors ask them to write a literature review for, say a Bachelor’s thesis or a research paper. In our article, we want to explain what literature reviews are and offer some tips on how to write it correctly.
Let’s Get it Started
So, today you were told to write a literature review. You’ve resolved not to waste your valuable time and get down to such an important task right away. You choose a piece of literature you consider worthwhile, say, your favorite novel or poem, and set out to create a masterfully written literature review… That’s where we need to abruptly stop you. The truth is a good few students don’t bother to gain an insight into a literature review once they get the task to write it. They either contact professional essay writing services that can quickly write your literature review or google frantically for “literature review” in the attempt to find a good example of the required type of a paper. First, let us make it clear that a literature review represents a collection of materials on a particular topic, which can be anything from mitigating global warming effects to analyzing the causes of Ophelia’s death in Shakespeare’s tragedy. And there’s one more thing you need to keep in mind while writing a literature review. Your literature review doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to present your personal evaluation of the sources mentioned in it. Sometimes, an impartial, objective assessment is all that’s expected of you.
Prior to writing your paper, we highly recommend that you find your focus. Remember that unlike an annotated bibliography where you merely list the relevant sources, a literature review must revolve around some ideas. Therefore, be sure to dwell on each source mentioned and emphasize its significance in the context of your research. You should also pay special attention to the themes and issues that connect the selected sources together. What insights do your sources offer into a problem or situation analyzed? Are there any instances of subjectivity or biases? Do they reveal a trend in a particular field? What are the strength and limitations? Consider all these questions when writing a literature review.
Organization and Structure
In contrast to essays and research papers that must have a debatable thesis, you literature review may not have one. Instead, make your main points known to your audience in the thesis statement. Moreover, it’s a good idea to introduce your organizing principle, which will help your audience form a clear idea of what your paper is going to discuss.
As with any academic paper, you need to include an intro, body, and conclusion, also known as a recommendation section into the paper in question.
In your introduction, you should warm up your audience and present a brief idea of the topic to which your sources pertain. The background section should have at least five sentences. At the same time, there shouldn’t be more than 150 words in your intro.
When it comes to writing the body of your paper, you should do your best to present a thorough discussion of the sources you’ve selected. It’s also important that you organize them in a proper way.
The common ways of organizing sources into a coherent review include:
- By publication
- By trend
Organizing the Body
Once you come up with an organizational framework for your paper, you may proceed to identify the main ideas, pinpoint details, and highlight important messages conveyed by the authors of your sources. Make sure the information you use complies with the tasks of your paper and its focus.
Don’t forget to use quotes, both direct and indirect, when supporting your claims or emphasize a particular point. At the same time, we should to warn you against overusing quotes in your literature review. The abundance of direct quotes is fraught with undermining your authority and credibility as a writer and researcher.
Also, be cautious when paraphrasing other authors’ thoughts. Accurately presenting another person’s viewpoint on a particular subject isn’t an easy task, especially when it comes to analyzing scientific works. Take care to refer to the author of your source if the ideas you’re mentioned don’t belong to you to avoid any plagiarism-linked penalties.
Give a Summing Up
In the summation section, wrap up the most important points discussed throughout your literature review. Recapitulate the findings and ideas of your sources and make sure your conclusion creates the sense of finality and closure.
Revise and Proofread
Your literature review will never become flawless is you fail to devote due attention to proofreading and revising. Check over your paper to make sure it complies with your professor’s instructions and requirements. Eliminate all grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes. Pay special attention to the way you present information. It should be succinct, concise, and to the point. And don’t forget about proper formatting your literature review.