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Literature Review Writing Guide

A literature review is a type of overview of writings as well as sources of a given topic. These sources include books, reports, government reports, and scholarly articles among others. The review, therefore, aims at providing an evaluation, description, and summary of every source used. Review writing aims at providing a written account which is critical and related to the topic of discussion.

Literature Review

It helps in the proposing of a way forward in progressing with the research. It also offers a connection to all the sources used in the research topic as well as identifying areas of previous scholarships and works. Any outline needs to be guided by the stated objectives of the research as well as the thesis statement of the topic. Ensure your literature review is not a description of other people’s publications in summary, but rather a critical discussion and assessment of the study. A review mostly acts as a foundation for research papers as well as offers new insights into the writing.

Below written guide was prepared by team of writers from

Types of Literature Review

Literature Review Types

  • Evaluative: an evaluative literature review aims at assessing the authors’ contents and publications in a more comprehensive approach. This can be concerning variables and expressions.
  • Exploratory: an exploratory literature review aims at giving a more detailed understanding of the selected issue.
  • Instrumental: this kind of literature review analyzes the contents which serve the purpose of giving meanings as well as expressing a means to an intended meaning.
  • Systematic: systematic literature review is a kind of study in which the methods used to synthesize and evaluate the findings are detailed in full. The research timeframe is also highlighted in a more comprehensive manner. The review is approached in a well-defined and in a rigorous way.

Review structure

The structure is wholly dependent on the research being conducted. The structure of a literature review should, therefore, be guided by the questions of the various theories and approaches. Always ensure your review has a line of argument which is clear and relevant at the same time. Before going through the writing process, prepare an outline that will assist you in putting your points in place. Review tips help in making the work concise as well as being objective to all the ideas in the research.  Way of writing is substantially dependent on the review structure.

Literature review outline example:

  1. Introduction: CSR as a tool for marketing.
  2. Thesis statement: CSR as an essential tool for commercialization.
  • The definition of CSR.
  • The development of CSR.
  • The seminal research studies concerning CSR.
  • Research studies related to CSR
  • The research studies on CSR techniques.
  • The research studies on CSR perspectives as a whole.
  1. Conclusion: the ideas are promising concerning CSR as a tool for marketing.

The introduction

The introduction identifies and defines the topic in a general platform. The definition moves further by providing a context which is appropriate for the review. The introduction for literature review should aim at providing the overall trends from past publications concerning the topic. Hooks (strong opening statement) are included in the introductions as they draw the readers to work. The introduction is a compelling way of how to start a literature review as it gives the writer a chance for giving reasons as to why he/she decided to review the selected book. You should also illustrate the criteria you will use in comparing and analyzing the review.

Thesis Writing

The thesis is the main sentence which determines the whole article. The argument illustrates the idea/point that you want to prove or support. Ensure that the thesis statement is structured correctly so as to make the planning as well as the writing of the piece manageable. The topic sentences of the body paragraphs should try and prove the thesis statement of the review.

Body Writing

The body of the literature review should aim at grouping the literature into common denominators such as specific objectives, the authors’ conclusions, and chronologies among others. The body paragraphs act as the umbrella of the review as it holds the literature review ideas. The paragraphs should, therefore, summarize the articles with small details such as merits keeping in mind that the length typically detonates the importance. The literature review ideas should be related to the topic/subject being discussed. Use transition words to link the ideas in the body paragraphs. A good flow of the review ideas makes the article look professional and detailed. Presenting the work in the present tense makes it more reader friendly. The contents should contribute to the understanding of the problems which the literature review is trying to elaborate.


The conclusion is an essential way of how to end a literature review as it gives you the chance of giving a closing argument for the piece. The conclusion for a literature review also offers a platform for summarizing the major contributions which are relevant to the article. The conclusion should also support the introduction by maintaining the central idea highlighted in the introduction. The conclusion should not present new ideas which have not been discussed in the body paragraphs. The introduction of new ideas, in conclusion, makes the reader have an impression that the work is not standard and up to the task.

Final checklist

A checklist gives you a chance of determining whether the article has followed the review writing steps you had prepared. Outlining, therefore, gives you the framework which you will work in. A checklist ensures you have indicated the purpose of the literature review as well as the parameters the article has taken. If you issue any problems with review writing visit online essay writing help companies sites.

  • A parameter check ensures the article is in line with the outline for the literature review.
  • You will also have the chance of elaborating why you selected and left out other reviews.
  • The checklist will offer a guideline in determining whether you used both the primary and secondary sources effectively; the relevance of the literature review, as well as the completion of the bibliographical data will be analyzed.
  • The final checklist also ensures you carry out a critical evaluation of the literature review. Critical evaluation determines whether the article has followed the literature review structure and whether the content used is enough to support the claims.
  • The references used in the literature review should show a connection with the title. Evaluation of sources gives you the chance of identifying the authors whose expertise will be relevant to the title.
  • The evaluation also determines whether the author’s publications will contribute towards the understanding of the subject being discussed.
  • The arguments should have concrete empirical evidence which will be relevant to the readers.
Updated: July 20, 2017 — 9:56 pm

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