The term ‘literature review’ implies a review of literature on a given subject and its thorough analysis. Going much beyond just providing relevant sources of information, the paper has to demonstrate the author’s abilities to source data, analyze available information, make critical assessments and judgments and support their own position.
In general, a good literature review has to achieve the following goals:
- Identify the problem under discussion.
- Summarize information on the subject currently available in literature.
- Present systematically the sources used.
- Provide the author’s critical attitude on the problem.
- Locate gaps or insufficiencies in previous studies.
- Provide suggestions in regard to the research and investigation of the topic in the future.
Major Steps to Get a Good Literature Review
To complete the task successfully, don’t miss any of the following steps:
- 1. Make sure you fully understand all the requirements your paper’s content and formatting are to meet. Specifically, you should use quotes correctly to avoid plagiarism.
- 2. Select the topic you are really interested in. If not, your writing process will go much slower. This stage is key to the final success.
- 3. Define the scope of sources that you will base your review on. They are to be relevant and topical. Draw up a list of key words or major concepts to be covered. This will help make your work more specific.
- 4. Now, it’s time to analyze the selected sources deeper. Be it books or websites, apply critical thinking to decide on whether the source provides trustworthy information that can make your paper stronger. Double-check credibility when it comes to information available online.
- 5. Now, you are ready to write your literature review. How successfully the abovementioned preparation was completed determines how seamlessly this step will go. When you have a clear understanding of what you have to put on paper, and several sources of relevant information are at your fingertips, writing will be an enjoyable process.
So turn off your phone and plunge into putting down all relevant thoughts coming to your mind in connection with the subject. In the beginning, don’t forget to mention why you believe the topic important. Make sure all parts and concepts of your paper are connected with a single logical sequence, with the Conclusion section being a natural finding from all you have said above.
To give the work more weight, don’t narrow your writing down to just enumerating sources and facts. Compare previous studies and their findings, reveal their advantages and drawbacks, as well as try to find out some gaps not covered by the works reviewed.
When presenting your own opinion and criticizing the ones given in books, articles or on websites, do not forget to give due credit to respective authors whose works you use, especially, if you include their quotes into your paper. Avoid overdoing with citation.
Once done, revise the text to correct mistakes and find the best words. Hopefully, you enjoyed the process.