Writing a literature review can be a major challenge especially when you have little knowledge of the subject. However, it is important to note that embracing the research process is a major way to have an easy time. If you are finding it hard to comprehend the subject, you should never hesitate to seek professional help. Here at HelpHub, we have a team of professional academic writers who will be more than happy to help you. Also, we dedicate our time online to provide you with this guide on how to write a literature review.
What Is Literature Review?
A literature review is a comprehensive survey of several scholarly sources on a precise topic. It provides readers and an individual with an overview of available knowledge, allowing them to identify significant methods, theories, and gaps in the existing work that they can later apply to their dissertation or thesis.
Guide on How to Write a Literature Review
Writing a literature review should be fun since it entails exploring a specific topic. A good and interesting literature review does not focus on summarizing the various sources one comes across. Instead, it synthesizes, analyzes, and critically and comprehensively evaluates the subject to provide a clear image of the comprehension of the matter or subject. The following are five key steps on how to write a literature review:
- Conduct comprehensive research for relevant literature
- Carefully evaluate and select sources
- Identify debates, gaps, and themes
- Write a structure or outline
- Write your literature review
ü Conduct Comprehensive Research for Relevant Literature
The first step before you begin searching for literature is to ensure that you clearly define the subject. If you are writing the literature review part of a research paper or dissertation, you will begin by searching for literature relevant and related to the research questions and problems. Below are some tips you can use to ensure you have relevant and comprehensive research:
- Create a list of keywords
Start the process by creating a list of keywords applicable to your research questions. Ensure that you include every key variable or concept that interests you, and list any related terms and synonyms. Keep an open mind and keep adding to the list as you progress with the research.
- Search for appropriate sources
After carefully and comprehensively exhausting your keywords, use the words to search for relevant sources. The following are some databases you can use to search for appropriate articles and journals to your research:
- Google Scholar
- Inspec- for computer science, engineering, and physics
- The library catalog of your university
- EconLit – for economics research
- Medline – for biomedicine and life sciences
- Project Muse – for social science and humanities
However, it is critical that you carefully read the abstract of these articles to ensure that it is relevant to your research and can contribute to answering the research question. Additionally, for all the relevant sources like books and articles, you can check the bibliography to find additional sources.
ü Carefully Evaluate and Select Sources
It’s normal to realize that you are unlikely to read the entire book written on your topics. Therefore, it is critical to keenly evaluate the various sources and select the most significant to your research topic. It is important to ask yourself the following questions for every publication:
- What problem or question is the author talking about?
- What are some of the vital concepts and how has the writer addressed each of them?
- What are the vital models, theories, and methods used?
- What is the conclusion of the study?
- What is the relationship between the publication and existing research of the same nature?
- What are the weaknesses and strengths of the research?
Always make sure that the sources are credible.
ü Identify Debates, Gaps, and Themes
To start organizing the arguments and structure of your literature review, make sure that you comprehend the relationships and connections between the various sources you have identified and read. The following are some of the concepts you can look for based on your notes and reading:
- Existing gaps – identity what is missing from the existing literature. Also, identify if there are some weaknesses that should be addressed.
- Themes – what are some of the concepts or questions that come across your mind as you read the literature?
- Patterns and trends – identify some of the approaches that become obsolete or less popular with time.
- Pivotal publications – identify if there exists some studies or theories that greatly impact the direction of the subject.
- Contradictions, conflicts, and debates – identify some areas where the topic disagrees.
This is a vital step as it paves way for you to create a suitable outline of your literature review and indicate how your research impacts and contributes to existing knowledge.
ü Write A Structure or Outline
You can adopt various approaches to organize the body of your literature. You can combine strategies depending on the length of your literature review. For instance, your general structure might be thematic with each theme chronologically and coherently discussed. You can always defend the significance of a precise theoretical approach, or combine the concepts to establish a scope for your research.
ü Write Your Literature Review
Like any other academic essay or writing, your literate review must have an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The objective of your literature review will greatly influence the content of the introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction should establish the purpose and focus of the literature review. The body is where you expound on every argument. Thus, depending on the length of your literature review, you can divide the body using headings and subheadings. Additionally, consider the time period, theme, and methodology used and adopt the most suitable structure.
In conclusion, always remember to revise, edit, and proofread your literature review when you have finished writing. However, if you need editing and proofreading services, you can contact HelpHub academic writing service experts for professional help and affordable help. Also, for more guidance on how to write a literature review and other related articles, visit HelpHub.