How To Structure Your Literature Review
3 options to help structure your chapter.
By: Amy Rommelspacher (PhD) | Reviewed By: Dr Eunice Rautenbach | November 2020
Writing the literature review chapter can seem pretty daunting when you’re piecing together your dissertation or thesis. As we’ve discussed before , a good literature review needs to achieve a few very important objectives – it should:
- Demonstrate your knowledge of the research topic
- Identify the gaps in the literature and show how your research links to these
- Provide the foundation for your conceptual framework (if you have one)
- Inform your own methodology and research design
To achieve this, your literature review needs a well-thought-out structure . Get the structure of your literature review chapter wrong and you’ll struggle to achieve these objectives. Don’t worry though – in this post, we’ll look at how to structure your literature review for maximum impact (and marks!).
But wait – is this the right time?
Deciding on the structure of your literature review should come towards the end of the literature review process – after you have collected and digested the literature, but before you start writing the chapter.
In other words, you need to first develop a rich understanding of the literature before you even attempt to map out a structure. There’s no use trying to develop a structure before you’ve fully wrapped your head around the existing research.
Equally importantly, you need to have a structure in place before you start writing , or your literature review will most likely end up a rambling, disjointed mess.
Importantly, don’t feel that once you’ve defined a structure you can’t iterate on it. It’s perfectly natural to adjust as you engage in the writing process. As we’ve discussed before , writing is a way of developing your thinking, so it’s quite common for your thinking to change – and therefore, for your chapter structure to change – as you write.
Need a helping hand?
Like any other chapter in your thesis or dissertation, your literature review needs to have a clear, logical structure. At a minimum, it should have three essential components – an introduction , a body and a conclusion .
Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
1: The Introduction Section
Just like any good introduction, the introduction section of your literature review should introduce the purpose and layout (organisation) of the chapter. In other words, your introduction needs to give the reader a taste of what’s to come, and how you’re going to lay that out. Essentially, you should provide the reader with a high-level roadmap of your chapter to give them a taste of the journey that lies ahead.
Here’s an example of the layout visualised in a literature review introduction:
Your introduction should also outline your topic (including any tricky terminology or jargon) and provide an explanation of the scope of your literature review – in other words, what you will and won’t be covering (the delimitations ). This helps ringfence your review and achieve a clear focus . The clearer and narrower your focus, the deeper you can dive into the topic (which is typically where the magic lies).
Depending on the nature of your project, you could also present your stance or point of view at this stage. In other words, after grappling with the literature you’ll have an opinion about what the trends and concerns are in the field as well as what’s lacking. The introduction section can then present these ideas so that it is clear to examiners that you’re aware of how your research connects with existing knowledge .
2: The Body Section
The body of your literature review is the centre of your work. This is where you’ll present, analyse, evaluate and synthesise the existing research. In other words, this is where you’re going to earn (or lose) the most marks. Therefore, it’s important to carefully think about how you will organise your discussion to present it in a clear way.
The body of your literature review should do just as the description of this chapter suggests. It should “review” the literature – in other words, identify, analyse, and synthesise it. So, when thinking about structuring your literature review, you need to think about which structural approach will provide the best “review” for your specific type of research and objectives (we’ll get to this shortly).
There are (broadly speaking) three options for organising your literature review.
Option 1: Chronological (according to date)
Organising the literature chronologically is one of the simplest ways to structure your literature review. You start with what was published first and work your way through the literature until you reach the work published most recently. Pretty straightforward.
The benefit of this option is that it makes it easy to discuss the developments and debates in the field as they emerged over time. Organising your literature chronologically also allows you to highlight how specific articles or pieces of work might have changed the course of the field – in other words, which research has had the most impact . Therefore, this approach is very useful when your research is aimed at understanding how the topic has unfolded over time and is often used by scholars in the field of history. That said, this approach can be utilised by anyone that wants to explore change over time .
For example , if a student of politics is investigating how the understanding of democracy has evolved over time, they could use the chronological approach to provide a narrative that demonstrates how this understanding has changed through the ages.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you structure your literature review chronologically.
- What is the earliest literature published relating to this topic?
- How has the field changed over time? Why?
- What are the most recent discoveries/theories?
In some ways, chronology plays a part whichever way you decide to structure your literature review, because you will always, to a certain extent, be analysing how the literature has developed. However, with the chronological approach, the emphasis is very firmly on how the discussion has evolved over time , as opposed to how all the literature links together (which we’ll discuss next ).
Option 2: Thematic (grouped by theme)
The thematic approach to structuring a literature review means organising your literature by theme or category – for example, by independent variables (i.e. factors that have an impact on a specific outcome).
As you’ve been collecting and synthesising literature, you’ll likely have started seeing some themes or patterns emerging. You can then use these themes or patterns as a structure for your body discussion. The thematic approach is the most common approach and is useful for structuring literature reviews in most fields.
For example, if you were researching which factors contributed towards people trusting an organisation, you might find themes such as consumers’ perceptions of an organisation’s competence, benevolence and integrity. Structuring your literature review thematically would mean structuring your literature review’s body section to discuss each of these themes, one section at a time.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when structuring your literature review by themes:
- Are there any patterns that have come to light in the literature?
- What are the central themes and categories used by the researchers?
- Do I have enough evidence of these themes?
Option 3: Methodological
The methodological option is a way of structuring your literature review by the research methodologies used . In other words, organising your discussion based on the angle from which each piece of research was approached – for example, qualitative , quantitative or mixed methodologies.
Structuring your literature review by methodology can be useful if you are drawing research from a variety of disciplines and are critiquing different methodologies. The point of this approach is to question how existing research has been conducted, as opposed to what the conclusions and/or findings the research were.
For example, a sociologist might centre their research around critiquing specific fieldwork practices. Their literature review will then be a summary of the fieldwork methodologies used by different studies.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself when structuring your literature review according to methodology:
- Which methodologies have been utilised in this field?
- Which methodology is the most popular (and why)?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the various methodologies?
- How can the existing methodologies inform my own methodology?
3: The Conclusion Section
Once you’ve completed the body section of your literature review using one of the structural approaches we discussed above, you’ll need to “wrap up” your literature review and pull all the pieces together to set the direction for the rest of your dissertation or thesis.
The conclusion is where you’ll present the key findings of your literature review. In this section, you should emphasise the research that is especially important to your research questions and highlight the gaps that exist in the literature. Based on this, you need to make it clear what you will add to the literature – in other words, justify your own research by showing how it will help fill one or more of the gaps you just identified.
Last but not least, if it’s your intention to develop a theoretical framework for your dissertation or thesis, the conclusion section is a good place to present this.
In this article, we’ve discussed how to structure your literature review for maximum impact. Here’s a quick recap of what you need to keep in mind when deciding on your literature review structure:
- Just like other chapters, your literature review needs a clear introduction , body and conclusion .
- The introduction section should provide an overview of what you will discuss in your literature review.
- The body section of your literature review can be organised by chronology , theme or methodology . The right structural approach depends on what you’re trying to achieve with your research.
- The conclusion section should draw together the key findings of your literature review and link them to your research questions.
If you’re ready to get started, be sure to download our free literature review template to fast-track your chapter outline.
Psst… there’s more (for free)
This post is part of our research writing mini-course, which covers everything you need to get started with your dissertation, thesis or research project.
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Great work. This is exactly what I was looking for and helps a lot together with your previous post on literature review. One last thing is missing: a link to a great literature chapter of an journal article (maybe with comments of the different sections in this review chapter). Do you know any great literature review chapters?
I agree with you Marin… A great piece
I thank you immensely for this wonderful guide
It is indeed thought and supportive work for the futurist researcher and students
Very educative and good time to get guide. Thank you
Great work, very insightful. Thank you.
Thank you very much, very helpful
This is very educative and precise . Thank you very much for dropping this kind of write up .
Pheeww, so damn helpful, thank you for this informative piece.
I’m doing a research project topic ; stool analysis for parasitic worm (enteric) worm, how do I structure it, thanks.
comprehensive explanation. Help us by pasting the URL of some good “literature review” for better understanding.
great piece. thanks for the awesome explanation. it is really worth sharing. I have a little question, if anyone can help me out, which of the options in the body of literature can be best fit if you are writing an architectural thesis that deals with design?
I am doing a research on nanofluids how can l structure it?
Beautifully clear.nThank you!
Brilliant work, well understood, many thanks
I like how this was so clear with simple language 😊😊 thank you so much 😊 for these information 😊
Insightful. I was struggling to come up with a sensible literature review but this has been really helpful. Thank you!
You have given thought-provoking information about the review of the literature.
Thank you. It has made my own research better and to impart your work to students I teach
I learnt a lot from this teaching. It’s a great piece.
I am doing research on EFL teacher motivation for his/her job. How Can I structure it? Is there any detailed template, additional to this?
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The structure of a literature review
A literature review should be structured like any other essay: it should have an introduction, a middle or main body, and a conclusion.
The introduction should:
- define your topic and provide an appropriate context for reviewing the literature;
- establish your reasons – i.e. point of view – for
- reviewing the literature;
- explain the organisation – i.e. sequence – of the review;
- state the scope of the review – i.e. what is included and what isn’t included. For example, if you were reviewing the literature on obesity in children you might say something like: There are a large number of studies of obesity trends in the general population. However, since the focus of this research is on obesity in children, these will not be reviewed in detail and will only be referred to as appropriate.
The middle or main body should:
- organise the literature according to common themes;
- provide insight into the relation between your chosen topic and the wider subject area e.g. between obesity in children and obesity in general;
- move from a general, wider view of the literature being reviewed to the specific focus of your research.
The conclusion should:
- summarise the important aspects of the existing body of literature;
- evaluate the current state of the literature reviewed;
- identify significant flaws or gaps in existing knowledge;
- outline areas for future study;
- link your research to existing knowledge.
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- How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates
How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates
Published on January 2, 2023 by Shona McCombes .
What is a literature review? A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources on a specific topic. It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research that you can later apply to your paper, thesis, or dissertation topic .
There are five key steps to writing a literature review:
- Search for relevant literature
- Evaluate sources
- Identify themes, debates, and gaps
- Outline the structure
- Write your literature review
A good literature review doesn’t just summarize sources—it analyzes, synthesizes , and critically evaluates to give a clear picture of the state of knowledge on the subject.
Table of contents
What is the purpose of a literature review, examples of literature reviews, step 1 – search for relevant literature, step 2 – evaluate and select sources, step 3 – identify themes, debates, and gaps, step 4 – outline your literature review’s structure, step 5 – write your literature review, free lecture slides, frequently asked questions, introduction.
- Quick Run-through
- Step 1 & 2
When you write a thesis , dissertation , or research paper , you will likely have to conduct a literature review to situate your research within existing knowledge. The literature review gives you a chance to:
- Demonstrate your familiarity with the topic and its scholarly context
- Develop a theoretical framework and methodology for your research
- Position your work in relation to other researchers and theorists
- Show how your research addresses a gap or contributes to a debate
- Evaluate the current state of research and demonstrate your knowledge of the scholarly debates around your topic.
Writing literature reviews is a particularly important skill if you want to apply for graduate school or pursue a career in research. We’ve written a step-by-step guide that you can follow below.
Writing literature reviews can be quite challenging! A good starting point could be to look at some examples, depending on what kind of literature review you’d like to write.
- Example literature review #1: “Why Do People Migrate? A Review of the Theoretical Literature” ( Theoretical literature review about the development of economic migration theory from the 1950s to today.)
- Example literature review #2: “Literature review as a research methodology: An overview and guidelines” ( Methodological literature review about interdisciplinary knowledge acquisition and production.)
- Example literature review #3: “The Use of Technology in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Thematic literature review about the effects of technology on language acquisition.)
- Example literature review #4: “Learners’ Listening Comprehension Difficulties in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Chronological literature review about how the concept of listening skills has changed over time.)
You can also check out our templates with literature review examples and sample outlines at the links below.
Download Word doc Download Google doc
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Before you begin searching for literature, you need a clearly defined topic .
If you are writing the literature review section of a dissertation or research paper, you will search for literature related to your research problem and questions .
Make a list of keywords
Start by creating a list of keywords related to your research question. Include each of the key concepts or variables you’re interested in, and list any synonyms and related terms. You can add to this list as you discover new keywords in the process of your literature search.
- Social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok
- Body image, self-perception, self-esteem, mental health
- Generation Z, teenagers, adolescents, youth
Search for relevant sources
Use your keywords to begin searching for sources. Some useful databases to search for journals and articles include:
- Your university’s library catalogue
- Google Scholar
- Project Muse (humanities and social sciences)
- Medline (life sciences and biomedicine)
- EconLit (economics)
- Inspec (physics, engineering and computer science)
You can also use boolean operators to help narrow down your search.
Make sure to read the abstract to find out whether an article is relevant to your question. When you find a useful book or article, you can check the bibliography to find other relevant sources.
You likely won’t be able to read absolutely everything that has been written on your topic, so it will be necessary to evaluate which sources are most relevant to your research question.
For each publication, ask yourself:
- What question or problem is the author addressing?
- What are the key concepts and how are they defined?
- What are the key theories, models, and methods?
- Does the research use established frameworks or take an innovative approach?
- What are the results and conclusions of the study?
- How does the publication relate to other literature in the field? Does it confirm, add to, or challenge established knowledge?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the research?
Make sure the sources you use are credible , and make sure you read any landmark studies and major theories in your field of research.
You can use our template to summarize and evaluate sources you’re thinking about using. Click on either button below to download.
Take notes and cite your sources
As you read, you should also begin the writing process. Take notes that you can later incorporate into the text of your literature review.
It is important to keep track of your sources with citations to avoid plagiarism . It can be helpful to make an annotated bibliography , where you compile full citation information and write a paragraph of summary and analysis for each source. This helps you remember what you read and saves time later in the process.
To begin organizing your literature review’s argument and structure, be sure you understand the connections and relationships between the sources you’ve read. Based on your reading and notes, you can look for:
- Trends and patterns (in theory, method or results): do certain approaches become more or less popular over time?
- Themes: what questions or concepts recur across the literature?
- Debates, conflicts and contradictions: where do sources disagree?
- Pivotal publications: are there any influential theories or studies that changed the direction of the field?
- Gaps: what is missing from the literature? Are there weaknesses that need to be addressed?
This step will help you work out the structure of your literature review and (if applicable) show how your own research will contribute to existing knowledge.
- Most research has focused on young women.
- There is an increasing interest in the visual aspects of social media.
- But there is still a lack of robust research on highly visual platforms like Instagram and Snapchat—this is a gap that you could address in your own research.
There are various approaches to organizing the body of a literature review. Depending on the length of your literature review, you can combine several of these strategies (for example, your overall structure might be thematic, but each theme is discussed chronologically).
The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time. However, if you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order.
Try to analyze patterns, turning points and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred.
If you have found some recurring central themes, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic.
For example, if you are reviewing literature about inequalities in migrant health outcomes, key themes might include healthcare policy, language barriers, cultural attitudes, legal status, and economic access.
If you draw your sources from different disciplines or fields that use a variety of research methods , you might want to compare the results and conclusions that emerge from different approaches. For example:
- Look at what results have emerged in qualitative versus quantitative research
- Discuss how the topic has been approached by empirical versus theoretical scholarship
- Divide the literature into sociological, historical, and cultural sources
A literature review is often the foundation for a theoretical framework . You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts.
You might argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach, or combine various theoretical concepts to create a framework for your research.
Like any other academic text , your literature review should have an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion . What you include in each depends on the objective of your literature review.
The introduction should clearly establish the focus and purpose of the literature review.
Depending on the length of your literature review, you might want to divide the body into subsections. You can use a subheading for each theme, time period, or methodological approach.
As you write, you can follow these tips:
- Summarize and synthesize: give an overview of the main points of each source and combine them into a coherent whole
- Analyze and interpret: don’t just paraphrase other researchers — add your own interpretations where possible, discussing the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole
- Critically evaluate: mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources
- Write in well-structured paragraphs: use transition words and topic sentences to draw connections, comparisons and contrasts
In the conclusion, you should summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance.
When you’ve finished writing and revising your literature review, don’t forget to proofread thoroughly before submitting. Not a language expert? Check out Scribbr’s professional proofreading services !
This article has been adapted into lecture slides that you can use to teach your students about writing a literature review.
Scribbr slides are free to use, customize, and distribute for educational purposes.
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A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources (such as books, journal articles, and theses) related to a specific topic or research question .
It is often written as part of a thesis, dissertation , or research paper , in order to situate your work in relation to existing knowledge.
There are several reasons to conduct a literature review at the beginning of a research project:
- To familiarize yourself with the current state of knowledge on your topic
- To ensure that you’re not just repeating what others have already done
- To identify gaps in knowledge and unresolved problems that your research can address
- To develop your theoretical framework and methodology
- To provide an overview of the key findings and debates on the topic
Writing the literature review shows your reader how your work relates to existing research and what new insights it will contribute.
The literature review usually comes near the beginning of your thesis or dissertation . After the introduction , it grounds your research in a scholarly field and leads directly to your theoretical framework or methodology .
A literature review is a survey of credible sources on a topic, often used in dissertations , theses, and research papers . Literature reviews give an overview of knowledge on a subject, helping you identify relevant theories and methods, as well as gaps in existing research. Literature reviews are set up similarly to other academic texts , with an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion .
An annotated bibliography is a list of source references that has a short description (called an annotation ) for each of the sources. It is often assigned as part of the research process for a paper .
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Writing a Literature Review
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A literature review is a document or section of a document that collects key sources on a topic and discusses those sources in conversation with each other (also called synthesis ). The lit review is an important genre in many disciplines, not just literature (i.e., the study of works of literature such as novels and plays). When we say “literature review” or refer to “the literature,” we are talking about the research ( scholarship ) in a given field. You will often see the terms “the research,” “the scholarship,” and “the literature” used mostly interchangeably.
Where, when, and why would I write a lit review?
There are a number of different situations where you might write a literature review, each with slightly different expectations; different disciplines, too, have field-specific expectations for what a literature review is and does. For instance, in the humanities, authors might include more overt argumentation and interpretation of source material in their literature reviews, whereas in the sciences, authors are more likely to report study designs and results in their literature reviews; these differences reflect these disciplines’ purposes and conventions in scholarship. You should always look at examples from your own discipline and talk to professors or mentors in your field to be sure you understand your discipline’s conventions, for literature reviews as well as for any other genre.
A literature review can be a part of a research paper or scholarly article, usually falling after the introduction and before the research methods sections. In these cases, the lit review just needs to cover scholarship that is important to the issue you are writing about; sometimes it will also cover key sources that informed your research methodology.
Lit reviews can also be standalone pieces, either as assignments in a class or as publications. In a class, a lit review may be assigned to help students familiarize themselves with a topic and with scholarship in their field, get an idea of the other researchers working on the topic they’re interested in, find gaps in existing research in order to propose new projects, and/or develop a theoretical framework and methodology for later research. As a publication, a lit review usually is meant to help make other scholars’ lives easier by collecting and summarizing, synthesizing, and analyzing existing research on a topic. This can be especially helpful for students or scholars getting into a new research area, or for directing an entire community of scholars toward questions that have not yet been answered.
What are the parts of a lit review?
Most lit reviews use a basic introduction-body-conclusion structure; if your lit review is part of a larger paper, the introduction and conclusion pieces may be just a few sentences while you focus most of your attention on the body. If your lit review is a standalone piece, the introduction and conclusion take up more space and give you a place to discuss your goals, research methods, and conclusions separately from where you discuss the literature itself.
- An introductory paragraph that explains what your working topic and thesis is
- A forecast of key topics or texts that will appear in the review
- Potentially, a description of how you found sources and how you analyzed them for inclusion and discussion in the review (more often found in published, standalone literature reviews than in lit review sections in an article or research paper)
- Summarize and synthesize: Give an overview of the main points of each source and combine them into a coherent whole
- Analyze and interpret: Don’t just paraphrase other researchers – add your own interpretations where possible, discussing the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole
- Critically Evaluate: Mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources
- Write in well-structured paragraphs: Use transition words and topic sentence to draw connections, comparisons, and contrasts.
- Summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance
- Connect it back to your primary research question
How should I organize my lit review?
Lit reviews can take many different organizational patterns depending on what you are trying to accomplish with the review. Here are some examples:
- Chronological : The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time, which helps familiarize the audience with the topic (for instance if you are introducing something that is not commonly known in your field). If you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order. Try to analyze the patterns, turning points, and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred (as mentioned previously, this may not be appropriate in your discipline — check with a teacher or mentor if you’re unsure).
- Thematic : If you have found some recurring central themes that you will continue working with throughout your piece, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic. For example, if you are reviewing literature about women and religion, key themes can include the role of women in churches and the religious attitude towards women.
- Qualitative versus quantitative research
- Empirical versus theoretical scholarship
- Divide the research by sociological, historical, or cultural sources
- Theoretical : In many humanities articles, the literature review is the foundation for the theoretical framework. You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts. You can argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach or combine various theorical concepts to create a framework for your research.
What are some strategies or tips I can use while writing my lit review?
Any lit review is only as good as the research it discusses; make sure your sources are well-chosen and your research is thorough. Don’t be afraid to do more research if you discover a new thread as you’re writing. More info on the research process is available in our "Conducting Research" resources .
As you’re doing your research, create an annotated bibliography ( see our page on the this type of document ). Much of the information used in an annotated bibliography can be used also in a literature review, so you’ll be not only partially drafting your lit review as you research, but also developing your sense of the larger conversation going on among scholars, professionals, and any other stakeholders in your topic.
Usually you will need to synthesize research rather than just summarizing it. This means drawing connections between sources to create a picture of the scholarly conversation on a topic over time. Many student writers struggle to synthesize because they feel they don’t have anything to add to the scholars they are citing; here are some strategies to help you:
- It often helps to remember that the point of these kinds of syntheses is to show your readers how you understand your research, to help them read the rest of your paper.
- Writing teachers often say synthesis is like hosting a dinner party: imagine all your sources are together in a room, discussing your topic. What are they saying to each other?
- Look at the in-text citations in each paragraph. Are you citing just one source for each paragraph? This usually indicates summary only. When you have multiple sources cited in a paragraph, you are more likely to be synthesizing them (not always, but often
- Read more about synthesis here.
The most interesting literature reviews are often written as arguments (again, as mentioned at the beginning of the page, this is discipline-specific and doesn’t work for all situations). Often, the literature review is where you can establish your research as filling a particular gap or as relevant in a particular way. You have some chance to do this in your introduction in an article, but the literature review section gives a more extended opportunity to establish the conversation in the way you would like your readers to see it. You can choose the intellectual lineage you would like to be part of and whose definitions matter most to your thinking (mostly humanities-specific, but this goes for sciences as well). In addressing these points, you argue for your place in the conversation, which tends to make the lit review more compelling than a simple reporting of other sources.
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Structuring a literature review
In general, literature reviews are structured in a similar way to a standard essay, with an introduction, a body and a conclusion. These are key structural elements. Additionally, a stand-alone extended literature review has an abstract. Throughout, headings and subheadings are used to divide up the literature review into meaningful sections.
There is no single “correct” structure for how to structure the content of your literature review – every review is shaped by the nature of the field being reviewed and the specific argument the review is supporting. Here are some common literature review organising patterns:
- historical development (chronological)
- pros and cons
- methodological issues
- key works of a single author
- key works in a particular field of study
For example, a literature review on the definitions of key terms or concepts in a particular field of study might analyse a variety of definitions and conclude by defending a selected definition.
Some of the organising patterns listed above may be used in combination.
Structure a lit review accordion
If you are writing a stand-alone extended literature review, you are required to provide an abstract. The purpose of an abstract is to provide potential readers with an overview of the review content, so that they can determine if it is relevant to their research. The abstract should include brief background information, including any knowledge gaps or discrepancies that the review aims to address, as well as a statement regarding the purpose and scope of the review. A complete abstract also includes a brief statement of the main findings and how they relate to the broader context. The example abstract below includes these elements.
Not all introductions follow exactly the same order. However, there are some key points to include in the introduction to provide your reader with the context and purpose of your review. The general guidelines for the structure of a literature review introduction are:
- Start with a broad introduction to the topic. Include relevant background information and definitions or explanations of the main terms and concepts.
- Provide information that is relevant for your specific topic, and explain the importance of your topic (e.g. why it’s worth reading your literature review).
- Tell the reader what the scope of your review is (e.g. what key points you will include in the body of your review).
- Tell your reader what the aim or purpose of your review is. This is often included at the end of the introduction.
The body of the review contains your review of the literature relevant to your research question or aim. You should structure the body of your literature review in a logical and coherent way. Consider what your sub-topics or sections will be in order to answer your research question thoroughly and coherently. Then consider the most logical order to discuss your sections. Creating sub-headings for the sections of your review will assist you in creating a logical structure and keep you focused on sub-topics relevant to your research aim.
In the body of your literature review, it is important to analyse the literature rather than to merely describe the findings of a number of different literature sources. Some description of the key findings is important to give the reader context. However, your review should also include an analysis of the key themes, gaps in understanding, and points of disagreement between the different literature sources.
There are numerous ways to organise your body paragraphs, depending on your topic. You may want to organise some of your paragraphs:
- in chronological order, e.g. historical findings, more recent findings, current research
- group your literature sources into paragraphs based on similar arguments or findings
- categorise your sources into similar sub-topics and compare different findings within a single paragraph.
Remember to include accurate and relevant citations and references throughout this section.
The assignment excerpt below is an example of how to group similar findings together.
Body paragraph example 1
Another method of organising your body paragraphs is to group papers together that have found different or contradictory results related to the same topic. This helps you to demonstrate your understanding of the literature and highlights the inconsistencies between findings. The assignment body paragraph below is an example of how this can be done.
Body paragraph example 2
Conclude by demonstrating how you have answered your research question and/or how you have achieved your research aim. This tells the audience you have achieved what you intended. Then highlight the key points you discussed. Now you can refer to implications of this knowledge in a broader sense, as well as recommendations for future studies/research (if applicable). The conclusion starts specific and finishes broad.
There are several conventions to note when you are writing your conclusion:
- Don’t include new information in your conclusion. Instead, highlight the key points raised in the earlier sections of your literature review.
- Don’t include in-text citations in your conclusion. This relates to the point above in regards to not including new information.
The example below demonstrates the structural elements of a conclusion.
Check your understanding view.
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How to write a dissertation literature review
(Last updated: 11 November 2021)
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Are you tired of hearing the phrase 'literature review' every five minutes at university and having no idea what it means, let alone where to start? Not to worry - we've got you covered with this step-by-step guide to creating a great dissertation literature review.
What is a literature review?
In short, a dissertation literature review provides a critical assessment of the sources (literature) you have gathered and read surrounding your subject area, and then identifies a “gap” in that literature that your research will attempt to address.
There are a lot of misunderstandings about what exactly a dissertation literature review entails, as it can vary. Whilst in some cases a dissertation literature review can be a simple summary of important sources, most often it requires you to critically engage with the text to convey your positive or negative opinions of it. What is your interpretation of a particular source? Does this interpretation differ considerably from other viewpoints in the literature? This is the sort of critical engagement expected from you in a literature review.
Whereas a summary will most likely provide a simple recap of the general arguments of the source(s), the expectations concerning a literature review extend beyond this. A literature review may provide a new perspective on a classic research paper or it may combine both new and old interpretations (this is the “gap” – more on this later). A literature review may also provide a thorough and critical outline of the intellectual developments in a field with a focus on major, and often polemical, debates. In other scenarios, a literature review may also provide an assessment of a source and inform a reader about its validity, pertinence and relevance to the research subject.
"In a literature review, you're aiming to summarise and provide a critical analysis of the research arguments you have found in your readings, without making new contributions to the literature. Hence the term: “literature review ”."
There tends to be confusion between literature reviews and academic papers in general, but they are not one and the same. Generally, academic papers aim to provide new research material about a particular subject, and a literature review features as part of this objective. In a research paper, the literature review forms the basis of the research – it helps to highlight any research gaps as support for a new argument or insights you intend to provide. In a literature review, you're aiming to summarise and provide a critical analysis of the research arguments you have found in your readings, without making new contributions to the literature. Hence the term: “literature review ”.
Is a literature review really necessary?
Now that we know what a literature review is, the next step is to understand the point of writing one in the first place. Like it or not, a literature review is an essential part of any academic piece of writing, as it demonstrates to your tutor or reader that you have a nuanced understanding of the sources concerning your research area or question.
Although it may seem arbitrary, the literature review helps to persuade the person reading and marking your assignment that what you have written about is relevant and your arguments are justified and worthwhile. So, in short, a literature review is essential, and you need to put the necessary time into getting it right.
How do you write a dissertation literature review?
As the next section of this blog is quite lengthy, we've broken it down into several key steps which should make it easier to follow when writing your own dissertation literature review. You start by identifying your sources, then you read and re-read them. Next, you think about any gaps in the research or literature you have used, and finally, you write your review using all the preparation and information gathered in the steps prior.
To write a good dissertation literature review, you need to have a fair idea of what sources you would like to review. If you haven’t been given a formal reference list by your tutor, refer back to the techniques we recommended earlier.
Make sure that your sources are balanced; include enough books and academic journals and any useful published work from reputable scholars. To help you choose your sources appropriately, you might want to think about the parameters and objectives of your research. What are you hoping to find out? In your literature review , what theoretical issues or perspectives do you aim to tackle? How about your methodology? Will you focus on mainly qualitative or quantitative studies, or a mixture of both? These general questions should help guide you in selecting your sources and again, remember that the abstract of a source is a very useful tool. Having a quick scan of the abstract and its ‘keywords’ will often give you an indication of the whether the source will be useful for your research or not.
As you’re identifying your sources, ensure you a keep a list as it’s very easy to lose focus given the wide scope of the Internet. Reference tools such as Mendeley allow you to store your sources online and via a desktop app, and are a great way to keep your bibliography organised. The citation tools attached to these programmes will also allow you to simply export citations in a format of your choice when required later. They will save you countless hours trying to figure out how to use Harvard or APA referencing correctly.
Read your sources
Now that you have organised your sources efficiently, it’s time to read through them. As unnatural as it may feel, it’s most effective to read in a few stages, as detailed below:
First, go through all the texts to get a sense of their general content and arguments. This will also help you judge which sources you mainly want to focus on in your review. During the second stage of your reading, you can then take a more critical, in-depth look at your sources. Make a lot of notes, be critical, ask questions. What is your academic opinion on the text? Do you have any comments on the methodological approach, the theoretical argument or the general hypothesis? Note these down. It will ensure that your literature review is not merely a summary of your readings, and will encourage a clear line of argument so that your work is logical and coherent.
Consider gaps in the research
When writing a dissertation literature review , an essential thing to consider is identifying the research gap. Identifying the gap is particularly important if your review forms part of a research proposal, as it will highlight the pertinence of your research – assuming that your research has been designed to fill this gap. In other instances, identifying the gap is an indication of good critical analysis and can score you extra points.
To identify the “gap” it is important that we know what this “gap” is. A research gap is essentially the existence of a research question, perspective or problem that has not been answered in the existing literature on any field of study. Identifying the research gap is important for highlighting the originality of your research; it proves you’re not simply recounting or regurgitating existing research. It also shows that you are very much aware of the status of the literature in your chosen field of study, which in turn, demonstrates the amount of research and effort you have put into your review.
Many students, especially at post-graduate level, find it extremely difficult to identify research gaps in their subject area. For post-graduate research papers, identifying research gaps and formulating research questions that can address these gaps form the very essence of a research paper. Identifying research gaps does not have to be a difficult endeavour and there are several ways to overcome this difficulty:
Start by reading A simple approach will be to read important parts of key articles in your research area. First, note that you’ll have to sift through many articles to identify the ones that are most suitable for your research. A quick search using keywords on Google Scholar will often give you a quick overview of the available literature. Other useful sources include databases such as JSTOR or Wiley Online Library . You can then snowball additional articles by clicking on ‘related articles’ or checking out which other papers have cited your source.
Abstracts and recommendations Whichever avenue you choose, reading the abstract is often a good starting point to get a sense of what the articles entails. You should also do a quick examination of the introductory and concluding paragraphs of the paper as these sections always provide some information on the aims and outcomes of the research, as well as ‘recommendations for future studies.’ These recommendations typically provide some insight on the research gaps in the literature. Another route would be to simply read as much as you can on your research subject while considering which research areas still need addressing in the literature – this is usually an indication of research gaps.
Write your review
Now you’re well prepared to start putting fingers to keyboard. Consider the following pointers:
1. Use sample literature reviews Have a look at sample dissertation literature reviews in your subject area and read them thoroughly to familiarise yourself with existing key debates and themes. This can be a good starting point for framing and structuring your own review. If you are not familiar with academic writing, going through samples will help you to get a sense of what is expected in this regard. Pay attention to the academic language and formal style used. Also, remember that the bibliography or reference section of your selected texts will help you to snowball further references if you need any.
2. Keep it simple Keep your topic as narrowed down as possible. Remember that there are hundreds – or in some instances, thousands – of sources or perspectives concerning any subject area or topic. Researchers investigate research problems in many divergent ways and the literature available on any given subject is extremely broad. In your literature review, you won’t be expected to address every argument or perspective concerning your topic – this might actually undermine your ability to write a coherent and focused piece. You’ll make your work easier if you limit the scope of your work. In your review, ensure that you clearly state what the focus of your work will be.
3. Make sure your sources are as current as possible If you are reviewing scientific work, it’s essential your sources are as current as possible given the advancements in the field over the years. In the medical field particularly, research is constantly evolving and a source that’s only three years old may be even out-dated. In the social sciences this rule may not apply, as many theoretical works are classics and you will be expected to be familiar with these perspectives. You might have to the review the work of Marx, or Hobbes, or any other classic scholar. You still need to balance theory with current approaches, as you will need to demonstrate the ways in which perspectives in the literature have changed over the years, or you may even want to demonstrate how scholars have used classic theories to inform their work.
4. Consider the organisation of your work In a dissertation literature review, organising your work goes beyond having an introduction, body and conclusion. You’ll be reviewing a number of texts, so you’ll also have to think clearly about how to organise themes, topics and your argument in general. Below is a detailed guide on how to do this:
Like any other academic paper, a dissertation literature review will comprise a basic introduction, body, and conclusion.
The introduction of a literature review should be clear, short and focused. It should outline the focus of the review – in other words, it should clearly state the main topics to be covered. A good literature review will also state the arguments to be made, as well as underlying rationale that underpins these arguments.
The body of your literature review will include an in-depth discussion of the academic sources you have chosen to review. You may choose to organise your sources according to themes, methodology or even based on a chronological order. In the body of your review, ensure that your arguments are presented clearly and that you link these arguments with the literature. Is there a scholar that agrees with your view? Say so, in a way that the reader will understand easily. This demonstrates that you are very familiar with the academic research in your field. Remember to also make note of any views that do not agree with your position; excluding these arguments will reduce the methodological robustness of your piece. You can use direct quotations in your literature review, however do so sparingly so you don’t appear lazy. Most tutors will not approach it kindly; the purpose of a literature review is to demonstrate your ability to critically engage with a piece of text, and littering your review with direct quotes isn’t a good indication of this. Instead, try to paraphrase quotations and only use direct quotes if it really helps to illustrate your argument.
In the summary of your dissertation literature review, it’s important to give a summary of the conclusions you’ve drawn from your readings. If your literature review forms part of a broader research proposal, reiterate the gaps in the literature here, and clearly state how your proposed research will fill these gaps. Make recommendations for future research in this section too, which demonstrates your analytical skills and will score you some extra points.
You now have the basic structure of your research in place, however it’s worth dedicating some time to what the body of your work should entail. The body is the main core of your work, so it’s important to consider how you will frame and organise it. You have options here – you can choose to organise the content of your work based on a chronological method, based on themes, trends or methodology, or based on arguments.
To structure the body of work chronologically, you will have to organise your sources based on when they were published. A limitation of this approach is that it inhibits continuity in your arguments and in some instances, can undermine the coherence of your work. Use with caution.
A more coherent way of organising your work is to group your sources based on the arguments they make in a ‘for versus against’ manner. This enables you to present your work in a more dynamic way and what’s more, makes the key debates in the literature more obvious. Say you were trying to convey the debates on European migration policy, you might want to start by writing something along these lines:
"While scholars such as X argue that migration policies must be made more stringent to counteract the increased flow of Syrian refugees to Europe, other scholars such as Y offer a divergent perspective. They specifically espouse a perspective based on a human rights approach…"
This approach also leaves room for you to insert your voice into the literature. Consider this statement:
"While X argues for the enactment of more stringent migration policies, this paper argues along the lines of Y that migration policies should be based on human rights considerations."
Using this technique also allows you to introduce additional literature that supports your position.
Another way of organising your content is according to theme; or sub-themes, if your review focuses on one overarching topic. This method of organisation still allows you to present an overview of any polemical debates within these sub-themes. A thematic review can easily shift between chronological periods within each sub-section too.
Structuring work using a methodological approach is quite a common approach, however it’s often used in tandem with other ways of organising sources. This method is particularly evident in introductory sections whereby researchers may simply want to state that a particular subject has been mostly studied from a qualitative or quantitative perspective (they will often then cite a number of scholars or studies to support this claim). In scientific reviews however, a methodological approach may form the basis of the discussions in the body. If this is the case for you, focus on the methods used by various researchers. How did they go about answering a particular research question? Were there any limitations to this method? If so, what method(s) would have been better?
You’ll soon realise that organising the body of your literature review is an iterative process and you’ll more often than not use all of these approaches in your write-up. The body of your research may also include additional sections that do not necessarily form a part of its organisational structure. For instance, you might want to include a ‘context section’ that provides some insight on any background detail required for understanding the focus of the literature review. It may also focus on historical considerations. You could include a short methodology section that details the approach you used in selecting and analysing your sources.
5. Write the paragraphs of the body Once you have settled on the approach to writing your body, you must now write each of its paragraphs in a way that is in keeping with academic conventions. Consider this paragraph from a literature review about stakeholder participation for environmental management, to clarify the discussion that follows:
As the example above suggests, a dissertation literature review must be written using a formal and academic style . Also, note how sources have been grouped according to both arguments and themes. Remember we noted that the process of grouping sources in the body of your literature review is never a linear one? You will often use a combination of the approaches that we have discussed. Ensure that your writing is concise, coherent and devoid of any personal or strong language. Avoid any phrases like, “I hate X’s work”; a more academic way of stating your disagreement would be to simply state: “I would argue against X’s position that…”, or “X’s argument is inconsistent with the evidence because...”, or “X’s arguments are based on false assumptions because...”.
In the sample paragraph above, notice the use of words like “argue” – this is a good academic alternative to more commonplace words such as “says”. Other good alternatives include “states”, “asserts”, “proposes” or “claims”. More academic options include “opine”, “posit”, “postulate”, or “promulgate”, however some tutors and readers find these words to be too ‘heavy’ and archaic, so ensure that you are familiar with the writing standards in your institution.
If your writing is tailored to a peer-reviewed journal, it’s worth having a look at articles within that journal to get a sense of the writing style. Most tutors will provide a guideline on writing styles, and it’s important you adhere to this brief. You will often be required to also use the third person when writing a literature review, thus phrases such as “this paper argues” or “this paper is of the view that…” are appropriate.
There are exceptions at post-graduate level or generally – like when you have conducted your own primary research or published your work widely – which give you the academic authority to boldly make claims. In cases like these, the use of first person is suitable and you may use phrases such as “I argue” or “I propose”.
Remember also to generally use present tense when referring to opinions and theories (although in the context of specific research experiments, the use of the past tense is better).
Beyond the use of the academic terms suggested above, ‘linking’ words are also particularly important when writing a literature review, since you’ll be grouping a lot of writers together with either similar or divergent opinions. Useful linking words and phrases include: similarly, there are parallels, in convergence with…
When there is disagreement, you may want to use any of the following: However, conversely, on the other hand, diverges from, antithetical to, differential from…
6. Write the conclusion The conclusion of a dissertation literature review should always include a summary of the implications of the literature, which you should then link to your argument or general research question.
Some final notes
The overall structure of your literature review will be largely based on your research area and the academic conventions that are in line with it. Nevertheless, there are some essential steps that apply across all disciplines and that you should ensure you follow:
Do not simply describe the opinions of writers Analyse, analyse, analyse, and ensure that your analysis is critical (what have the writers missed; where does your opinion sit with theirs, etc.).
Structure the body of your argument using various techniques Your structure should be organised based on thematic areas, key debates or controversial issues, and according to methodological approaches. Keep your review dynamic, but coherent. Remember to identify literature gaps and link this to your own research.
Use ample evidence This is extremely important and forms the very essence of a dissertation literature review. You must refer to various sources when making a point; see the sample paragraph above for an example of this. Your arguments and interpretation of a research topic must be backed by evidence. Do not make baseless claims, as a literature review is an academic piece of writing and not an opinion piece.
Be very selective Not every piece of research has to be reviewed. If you are determined to show that you aware of the available literature out there, try writing techniques such as: There is robust literature available concerning the migration patterns of Syrian refugees. Notable works include: X(2015), y (2013), Z (2014). Once you have acknowledged these works, you do not have to review them in detail. Be selective about the sources that you will discuss in detail in your review.
Do not rely too much on direct quotes Only use them to emphasise a point. Similarly, don’t rely too heavily on the work of a single author. Instead, highlight the importance of that author in your research and move on. If you need to keep going back to the work of that author, then you need to link those discussions with your work. Do not simply provide a summary of the author’s work. In what ways does your work agree or disagree with his/hers? Be critical.
Make your voice heard Yes, the whole point of the literature review is to provide a critical analysis and summary of the viewpoints out there, but a critical analysis does include the fact that you need to make your opinion known in the context of the literature. Note how skilfully, in the earlier sample paragraph by Reed (2008), he weaves his opinions with references. Read back over the sample and try to perfect this skill.
Ensure that you reference your work correctly And make sure you use the appropriate referencing style. For more help on this, click here .
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How to structure the literature review in a research paper?
A literature review is a collection of summaries of different key studies on a topic. It is an essential component of research, especially academic research like thesis and dissertations. It provides a theoretical understanding of the topic and is presented as a separate chapter. However, a literature review should also follow a specific format. Often the problem is that the researcher fails to structure the literature review and just states all the information without a proper direction. This makes the study unfocused and irrelevant. A well-structured literature review has many components and is the key to successful research. The presentation of a good literature review needs a logical and clear structure for a rich understanding.
Introducing the literature review
This is the first paragraph of the literature review. It should present the main components of the chapter and the purpose of discussing them. It includes defining the topic, establishing a point of view, and stating the scope of the review. A look at this paragraph should give the reader a good idea about what to expect in the rest of the chapter.
The main body of the literature review
This is the main section of the literature review where the secondary studies are analysed and discussed according to themes or elements. Secondary studies refer to any study which is already published in a journal, book, magazine or website. Writing this section involves four main tasks:
- Mentioning the right studies.
- Interpreting the studies.
- Writing or synthesizing the findings of the studies.
- Critically evaluating the studies for their strengths and weaknesses.
This can be presented in:
- Chronological order: According to the year of publication of the studies.
- Thematic order: According to themes or elements identified in the topic.
- Methodological order: By dividing the studies as per the type of methodology that was used, like quantitative, qualitative or mixed.
Moreover, present the literature in many ways like systematic review , a generic literature review , empirical review , theoretical overview , or critical review . A combination of two or more types of literature review in this chapter can also be presented.
Presenting the research gaps
Many researchers choose to write the research gaps in the Introduction chapter, but they can also be included in the literature review section. This is because after a reader reviews the existing studies, they are able to see the problem better. It is also easier to identify the research gaps when it is backed by authentic sources of information. This section must identify at least one research gap and explain each in detail, followed by the research hypothesis if applicable.
Presenting a summary
This is the last component of the literature review structure. It summarizes the essential findings you draw from the studies reviewed in the chapter. It should also provide a purpose to the research and explain the next step, i.e. method of analysis performed to enhance the topic. The figure below represents the components of a literature review structure.
Exceptions for technical and non-technical literature reviews
Although the purpose of a literature review is the appraisal of existing research on a topic, the components of the chapter differ. The components of a literature review of a technical thesis are different from a non-technical thesis. Technical theses are related majorly to STEM subjects like science, technology, engineering and mathematics. On the other hand, non-technical subjects include management, social sciences, economics, English literature, education, etc. The literature review differs on the basis of the purpose, components, inclusion and exclusions. The table below gives a detailed look at these differences.
Thus, depending on the aim and objectives of the study, subject, and type of review, the structure and components of the literature review can be decided. The researcher must remember that the literature review chapter is a significant section of a study and thus, must be properly written and structured.
- Forcael, E., Ferrari, I., Opazo-Vega, A. and Pulido-Arcas, J.A., 2020. Construction 4.0: A literature review. Sustainability , 12 (22), p.9755.
- Graulich, N., Lewis, S.E., Kahveci, A., Nyachwaya, J.M. and Lawrie, G.A., 2021. Writing a review article: what to do with my literature review. Chemistry Education Research and Practice .
- Paul, J. and Criado, A.R., 2020. The art of writing literature review: What do we know and what do we need to know?. International Business Review , 29 (4), p.101717.
- Salminen, J., Guan, K., Jung, S.G., Chowdhury, S.A. and Jansen, B.J., 2020, April. A literature review of quantitative persona creation. In Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1-14).
- Verma, M. and Verma, K., 2017. Social media a promotional tool: hotel industry. Journal of Advances in Humanities , 5 (1), pp.221-223.
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Research paper, proofreading.
Literature Review Guide: How to organise the review
- What is a Literature Review?
- How to start?
- Search strategies and Databases
- Examples of Literature Reviews
- How to organise the review
- Library summary
- Emerald Infographic
How to structure your literature review (ignore the monotone voice as advice is good)
How to structure and write your literature review
- Chronological, ie. by date of publication or trend
- Use Cooper's taxonomy to explore and determine what elements and categories to incorporate into your review
- Revise and proofread your review to ensure your arguments, supporting evidence and writing is clear and precise
Cronin, P., Ryan, F. & Coughlan, M. (2008). Undertaking a literature review: A step-by-step approach . British Journal of Nursing, 17 (1), pp.38-43.
Different ways to organise a Literature Review
CHRONOLOGICAL (by date): This is one of the most common ways, especially for topics that have been talked about for a long time and have changed over their history. Organise it in stages of how the topic has changed: the first definitions of it, then major time periods of change as researchers talked about it, then how it is thought about today.
BROAD-TO-SPECIFIC : Another approach is to start with a section on the general type of issue you're reviewing, then narrow down to increasingly specific issues in the literature until you reach the articles that are most specifically similar to your research question, thesis statement, hypothesis, or proposal. This can be a good way to introduce a lot of background and related facets of your topic when there is not much directly on your topic but you are tying together many related, broader articles.
MAJOR MODELS or MAJOR THEORIES : When there are multiple models or prominent theories, it is a good idea to outline the theories or models that are applied the most in your articles. That way you can group the articles you read by the theoretical framework that each prefers, to get a good overview of the prominent approaches to your concept.
PROMINENT AUTHORS : If a certain researcher started a field, and there are several famous people who developed it more, a good approach can be grouping the famous author/researchers and what each is known to have said about the topic. You can then organise other authors into groups by which famous authors' ideas they are following. With this organisation it can help to look at the citations your articles list in them, to see if there is one author that appears over and over.
CONTRASTING SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT : If you find a dominant argument comes up in your research, with researchers taking two sides and talking about how the other is wrong, you may want to group your literature review by those schools of thought and contrast the differences in their approaches and ideas.
Ways to structure your Literature Review
Different ways to organise your literature review include:
- Topical order (by main topics or issues, showing relationship to the main problem or topic)
- Chronological order (simplest of all, organise by dates of published literature)
- Problem-cause-solution order
- General to specific order
- Known to unknown order
- Comparison and contrast order
- Specific to general order
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Literature reviews are set up similarly to other academic texts, with an introduction, a main body, and a conclusion. An annotated bibliography
What are the parts of a lit review? · Introduction: An introductory paragraph that explains what your working topic and thesis is · Body: Summarize and synthesize
In general, literature reviews are structured in a similar way to a standard essay, with an introduction, a body and a conclusion. These are key structural
In short, a dissertation literature review provides a critical assessment of the sources (literature) you have gathered and read surrounding
Chronological order: According to the year of publication of the studies. · Thematic order: According to themes or elements identified in the
Ways to structure your Literature Review · Topical order (by main topics or issues, showing relationship to the main problem or topic)
Learn how to structure your literature review the right way. Emma explains the three most popular structures/layouts for the literature
Once you have completed the bulk of your research, compile the topic and the research results into one coherent thesis statement. *Refer to the
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