Students are put to multiple challenges and they are of various forms. One of such is a literature review. It’s a particular piece of writing, which is busy with the evaluation of a concrete academic paper or area. At times, it’s only a simple overview of literature sources that were used to complete research. However, most professors assign it to make students think critically. They demand to characterize and analyze literature that was used in a certain field or paper. One should take into account time limits and historical period.

The task is pretty complex and it may be even more complex if one writes on a specific discipline. Thus, many students experience difficulties when it’s required to write a good literature review in college or university. This advanced guide will help you to learn how to complete this task properly.

Choosing a Topic

A literature review helps other researchers to navigate throughout the discipline. When you choose a topic to cover, it is supposed to be interesting, relevant, and helpful for the others. Don’t try to cover some broad issues. For example, “Alternative Sources of Energy” is too broad. You will have to deal with all possible options and this will go forever on. It’s necessary to narrow the topic and come up with something like “Benefits from Solar Energy”. In the meanwhile, you still have to explore a lot in the area of alternative energy sources.

You should also take into account your own preferences. You ought to be enthusiastic about your project. Accordingly, choose a topic that is likewise interesting to you. You should possess some good knowledge about it to write the paper faster and easier. Thus, you’ll be able to write in an authoritative voice and have full control over the process of writing.

Brainstorm the Main Question

The next point is to understand what to write about. If your task is to evaluate the helpfulness and exactness of the use of informative sources, you should review them all and put questions to your topic.

Consider the following questions:

  • What is the thesis statement of the analyzed piece?

  • What are the strongest sides of the study?

  • What are the limits of the study?

  • Can the main question be answered in a better way?

  • How did the author approach his/her study? (There are such standpoints as theory, experiment, interpretation, etc.)

  • How the author’s methodology does affect the study?

  • How does the author relate his/her research to other works on the field?

  • Do other literature works contradict or support the findings of the analyzed piece?

  • Did a researcher choose appropriate methods for experiments and data analysis?

  • Are the conclusions of the author correct and valid? Are there any gaps to fill in?

  • Does the author really contribute to the field he/she writes about? What are the main benefits or drawbacks?

Memorize these questions and use for your custom literature review writing. They are universal, which means they can suit any topic in the technical field. They will help to understand what you should disclose and analyze.

The Proper Structure

After you define what to write about, craft a plan. It should be based on the evidence and notes you’ve got. It should include the main writing parts of the review. These are as follows:

  • Abstract. Most experts recommend writing it at the end of the entire research and they are right. An research paper outline is a short summary of the thesis and the main concepts of your review. Its length varies in dependence on the educational institution. On average, its length ranges from 150 to 300 words. It’s better to write it last because you will know for sure how you managed to conduct a study and will know its results. Accordingly, you’ll be able to clarify the main purpose of your research.

  • Introduction. The first writing paragraph casts some light on the project. It provides general information, some statistics or anecdotes. You should make it catchy and interesting to kindle the interest in your readers. Tell them why your technical review is important and what you wish to achieve. Of course, it’s required to frame the intro with the thesis statement. Your thesis must be specific and straight to the point. Deliver the main message of your research in a single strong sentence. It must be relevant to all the literature sources you include to your project. Its signs should be present in all other parts.

  • Main Body. It may take various forms. Everything depends on the topic. It’s better to break it up into three sections. Every section is a separate paragraph that uses different methodologies to investigate the analyzed technical text. Provide clear explanations and effective examples. Make logical transitions and never go astray. Each section must be tightly related to your thesis statement.

  • Discussion/Conclusion. It’s the defining chapter of your project. You should restate the thesis and tell once again why it is so important. Provide the outcomes of your research and explain them.

  • References. This particular paper is about other references. It’s funny enough but you should take it seriously. You’ll be assigned a certain writing format, such as APA, MLA, Chicago, Vancouver, Harvard, etc. Therefore, follow the established rules and make correct citations.

Follow the guidelines of this article. They are suitable for whatever topic you prefer. Using them properly, you will easily complete a worthy literature review.


Published by Peter Garlow