How to Write a Literature Review

A literature review is a piece of academic writing demonstrating knowledge and understanding of the academic literature on a specific topic placed in context. A literature review also includes a critical evaluation of the material; this is why it is called a literature review than a literature report (The University of Edinburgh). Subsequently, writing a literature review may seem daunting at first, but knowing the basics would really make the tasks lighter.

Below are a few guides on how to write and organize your Literature Review,


Choose a topic – Define your research

It is pertinent to note that your literature review ought to be guided by a central question. Keep in mind that it is not a compilation of studies in a given subject that are only loosely related; rather, it includes background information and research advancements relevant to a particular research issue, understood and analyzed by you in a synthesised manner.


  • Inspect your study question to make sure it is neither too wide nor too specific. Can you control it?
  • Start by making a list of words that have anything to do with your query. For future searches, these will be helpful.
  • Consult your professor about your subject if you have the chance.


Establish the parameters of your Literature review

How many studies must you review? How thorough should it be? What period of time should it span? Answering the above questions would go a long way in easing your work

Tip: Depending on your task, this might be. How many sources are needed for the assignment?


Decide which databases you’ll utilize for your searches

List the databases you’ll search in advance. If you need to, be sure to include comprehensive databases like WorldCat and Dissertations & Theses. You might consider a few trusted websites below;

  1. Scorpus
  2. PubMed
  3. Web of Science
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Note: Research databases are websites in which you can find professional resources. These databases often include scholarly journals, articles, research papers, excerpts from books and other essays.


Keep good records of your searches

  • Examine the research study abstracts thoroughly. You’ll save time by doing this.
  • In order to prevent repeating unsuccessful searches that you’ve previously tried, make a note of the searches you perform in each database. This will allow you to reproduce them later if necessary.
  • Find other research studies by using the bibliographies and references of the ones you already have.
  • Inquire with your lecturer or a specialist in the topic whether there are any important works that you are missing.
  • Utilize RefWorks to manage the citations for your research. For assistance, consult the RefWorks Tutorial.


Review the literature

Some questions to help you analyze the research:

What was the research question of the study you are reviewing? What were the authors trying to discover?
Was the research funded by a source that could influence the findings?
What were the research methodologies? Analyze its literature review, the samples and variables, the results, and the conclusions. Does the research seem to be complete? Could it have been conducted more soundly? What further questions does it raise?
If there are conflicting studies, why do you think that is?
Are the authors authorities in the field? Has this study been cited? If so, what was the ratings?

Academic Hive provides you with current details on how to perfect every part of your research work. We also provide consultancy services just in case you have pressing questions.

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