The Literature Review

Academic Writing








What is it?

The literature review is the summary and critical analysis of scholarly articles and academic texts relevant to the particular area of research, theory, or issue of your dissertation. It also functions to give convenient access to relevant and important articles and studies. Keep in mind that the literature review is not a series of annotations, so you should focus on the analysis and not the description.

How do you write it?

  1. Decide on the focus. Ask yourself what the thesis or research question that the literature review helps to develop is.
  2. Identify and analyze the literature. After searching for literature using relevant databases, define key terms and select quotes that you want to include in the review. At the same time, note strengths and weaknesses, trends and patterns, and the relationships among the studies.
  3. Create an outline to help organize your findings. Look for patterns and develop categories and sub-categories.
  4. Write. Use your outline, making sure that each section logically connects to each other. Also, don’t forget to: Explain what will be covered and what will not be covered.

    - Include the importance of the topic being reviewed.

    - Give explanations of how each work is similar to or different from the others.

    - Write a conclusion that provides closure.

  5. Revise. Read your work out loud. Make sure that your point of view is specified early in the review. Use transitions to ensure a smooth and coherent flow in your argument. In longer reviews, use subheadings.
  6. Edit and proofread. Use Wordvice’s editing and proofreading services to check for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and flow.

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