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Literature review in research paper

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How to Write a Literature Review in a Research Paper

Writing a literature review is not very complicated, but you need to understand the steps to follow. It involves finding relevant publications, analyzing them, and explaining what you saw. 

A literature review will give an overview of current knowledge. It allows you to identify relevant theories and methods in the ongoing research.

What is a literature review in a research paper?

A literature review presents a survey on scientific books and scholarly articles related to the area of study. Thus, it provides a description, summary, and evaluation of these works concerning the problem under study.

When writing a research paper, you must conduct a literature review to place your research within existing knowledge. The study helps you:

  • Develop a methodology for your research
  • Show how research contributes to a debate
  • Show your familiarity with the scholarly context
  • Position yourself with other researchers
  • Identify new ways of interpreting prior research

A useful review will analyze, synthesize, and evaluate the research to give the reader a clear picture.

How to write a literature review in research papers

It does not matter the kind of academic paper you are writing; the process of conducting a review follows the same steps.

Step 1: Look for relevant literature

Always choose literature related to your research problem. Make a list of keywords and search for relevant sources.

Step 2: Assess your sources

There will be many different sources with related information, but you may not be able to read everything written on the topic of study. Evaluate the authorities that are most relevant and read through them. For more straightforward evaluation, ask yourself these questions:

  • How are the critical aspects defined?
  • What are the results and conclusions of the study?
  • What problem is the author addressing?
  • How will the publication contribute to your understanding of the topic?
  • What are the weaknesses and strengths of the research?

Always ensures that the sources you settle for are credible and do not forget to read and understand the major theories in your field of study.

While reading, take notes and cite your sources. These will help you remember all the essential details when drafting your literature review, giving you a good flow. Keep track of your references with citations and avoid plagiarizing your work. To make your citation work more manageable, you can use the available citation generators.

Step 3: Identify all available theme, gaps, and debate

Understanding the connection between the sources you have read plays a considerable role in the organization of your review. Look out for;

  • Themes: the concepts recurring across the literature
  • Trends and patterns: check the direction of the approaches in theory, results, or method.
  • Gaps: point out what is missing in the literature
  • Pivotal publication: lookout for any influential studies that changed the field direction
  • Debates: where the sources disagree

Step 4: Draft a literature review outline

An outline makes your writing more straightforward, it helps you decide what to write when and where, giving your paper a clear flow and appearance. The structure of your literature review should be chronological, thematic, methodological, and theoretical. Creating a research paper outline aims at giving your final draft an appealing and readable form.

Step 5: Write the literature review

Since you have the source, the notes, and an outline, you can now pen down the final draft. All academic papers must have an introduction, the body, and a conclusion. Literature reviews are no different.

First, the introduction should be brief, catchy, and appealing. Remember, your introduction will help the reader to decide whether or not to read through the remaining part of your paper. You cannot afford to make a mistake. In your introduction, try to establish the purpose of your literature review.

Secondly, the body section presents all your main points. If your literature review is lengthy, consider subdividing your point into clear subheadings and paragraphs. While writing to analyze and interpret the information, mention the strengths and weaknesses observed in your study, summarize and synthesize all the main points without forgetting to write in well-structured paragraphs.

Lastly, your conclusion should summarize your findings. While writing a conclusion, do not introduce any new information, but a sentence supporting your thesis or research question would be ideal. After writing the research paper conclusion, your literature review is now ready. Do not forget to do thorough proofreading before submitting the research paper. 

Types of Literature Reviews In College Research Paper Writing

We have five different types of research literature reviews techniques that can be used in your writings, and each will require a different approach.

  1. Historical Reviews – They focus on examining researches throughout a period by giving a phenomenon, concept, or issue that emerged in the literature then tracing its evolution within the scholarship of a discipline.
  2. Systematic Reviews – They focus on the specific empirical question and often posed in a cause-and-effect form.
  3. MethodologicalReviews – They aim at explaining how someone comes to an inevitable conclusion.
  4. Integrative Reviews – They include the studies that address related research problems.
  5. Theoretical Review – It helps establish the theories that already exist, the relationship between them, and to develop a new hypothesis to test.

With the right sources, enough information, and a well-structured outline, writing a literature review in a research paper is a piece of cake. If you get stuck, our research paper writing service can assist you do a research paper or even write an essay for cheap.

Was the article helpful? I believe you can now write a literature review like a pro.

Happy writing college literature reviews!

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