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How to Write a Literature Review Paper in English

Do you have to write a literature review but you have no clue how to write one. Well, writing a literature review paper can sometimes be puzzling for some people. But you do not need to worry, we have easy actionable guides from how to secure your admission to your favorite university to how to write a lab report for your laboratory experiments. So, read the article below to learn how to write a literature review paper in English step by step.

What is Literature Review?

A literature review is a review of different scholarly sources on a specific topic. The scholarly sources may include journals, books, articles, and government reports. So, we write a literature review to review, describe, summarize, and evaluate each resource. Your search for relevant publications, for instance, books, journals, study, analyze and evaluate what you have found.

So, a good literature review does not summarize any publications but also critically analyzes them. Besides, a literature review is a part of the graduate thesis. So, you will have to write a literature review before you graduate. Also, you will have to write a literature review if you want to have a career in research.

The Purpose of Literature Review

The main purpose of writing a literature review is to give critical analysis on a present research topic. Moreover, it also gives you the opportunity to:

  • Illustrate your familiarity about the topic.
  • Develop a framework for your reseach.
  • Pinpoint any gaps in the existing reseach papers.
  • Show your contribution on the given topic or issue.

However, you might also get an assignment to write a literature review in your college. In such a case, you just have to review notable sources and demonstrate your personal knowledge on the given topic.

How to Write a Literature Review Paper in English

Now that you know what is a literature review and why is it important, you are good to start preparing the base of your writing literature review process. So, follow the steps below to learn how to write a strong literature review.

Step 1: Narrow Your Topic

In your specific file of study, think about what excites and interests you the most and what other scholars find interesting. For that purpose, you can talk to your professor for help. Or you can also read lecture notes, brainstorm, and study recent trending topics to find a smaller and targetable topic for your review.

Because targeting a smaller topic can be easier than reviewing a larger and more general topic. For instance, it is better to write a literature review paper on the role of France in World War II than World War II itself in general.

Step 2: Look for Literature

Once you figure out the topic of your literature review, you can start searching for useful and relevant literature. You can do so by selecting a specific range of an era, a geographic region, or using keywords that may help you find the most useful pieces of literature. This may take some time, however, investing enough time may help you remove the hurdles that you may face once you actually start writing your paper.

Hence, we recommend you to take your time and invest a good amount of time to find the pieces that are indeed going to help you with writing a strong literature review paper in English.

Step 3: Analyse the Selected Literature

Once you have chosen your topic of literature review and selected relevant papers, you can start studying and analyzing them. The first thing we recommend you to do is go through the paper quickly and then read it again and highlight important points or points that you think you can study more about:

Besides, you should also note down the following points in each paper.

  • assumptions that most of your selected papers seem to make
  • subjects, methodologies, procedures, or materials that have preiously been used
  • name and work of the analysts in the field
  • any conflicting theories and hypothesis

Step 4: Develop Subtopics

When you have thoroughly analyzed each paper and highlighted the above elements, you should start developing subtopics. If you do not know how do we develop subtopics, note the following:

  • Common findings in your selected papers
  • Most influential theories
  • Trends in the research

Blank paper and pen are the best tools you utilize to ease this process. Find out a large table, note down the above important things, and move things around until you come up with an organized set of categories of pieces of information that you can use to develop your subtopics.

Step 5: Develop Thesis

For this step, first, you have to go through every piece of information that you have collected so far. Then, summarise everything in a few sentences. It is the summary of the major finding in your chosen field, the trends in the research, and notable developments. You can develop a thesis multiple times until you come up with something that satisfies your work.

Step 6: Write Your Literature Review Paper

The next step of how to write a literature review paper in English is writing the paper itself. Like a traditional essay, the literature review also has three main parts; the introduction, body, and conclusion. But what you include in your literature review paper depends on the objective of your paper. First, make a draft of your paper which you can easily edit later.

The Introduction

The introduction of the literature review paper should mainly establish the purpose of writing the paper. Moreover, it should:

  • Define the theme of your paper
  • Tell why you are witing the paper
  • Review previous work
  • Explain scope of the review to calrify what is included and what is not included.

For instance, if you are reviewing the role of France in the world Ward II. In the introduction of your literature review paper, you can state how World War II occurred and which countries were part of it. Then, you can state that the main theme of your paper is to illuminate the role of France in World War II.

The Main Body

The body of your literature review paper is divided into subsections which are actually your defined subtopics. Or you can also add subheadings for different themes, time periods, and approaches. Moreover, the body of your paper should:

  • Organize everything accoring to a theme
  • Illustrate the relationship between the topic you have chosen and the general or the main topic. For instance, the Wrold War II, in general, and the role of France in the World War II.
  • Initially, start wider and talk about the World Ward II itself. Then, narrow down and sepcifically desribe the role and influence of France in World War II.

The Conclusion

The last part of your literature review paper is the conclusion. The conclusion should:

  • Summerize the key findings
  • Major contributions of important studies
  • And evaluate the current state of the literature

Step 7: Review and Edit

The last step is to review and edit your paper. In this step you should:

  • howReview topic sentenc of each paragraph to see if they are strong enough. Because if you had to only read these sentences, would you get a clear idea of what your paper is about.
  • See if the paragraphs and sentences flow smoothly.
  • Look for aread and gaps you want to edit and fill.
  • See if there are any grammatical, punctuation and spelling mistakes.
  • Make sure that the references and citations are correct.
  • Check your paper for plagerism.

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