Learn How to Write a Review of Literature

A literature review is an analysis of academic sources on a particular subject. It gives you a broad perspective of present knowledge, helping you spot important ideas, methodologies, and areas for further research.

The format of a review of literature might differ from field to field and project to project. The literature review format might differ from field to field and project to project. Your literature review should be not only informative but also analytical, demonstrating that you understand how the latest work comes together as one and how your findings fit in with existing research.

There are five crucial stages to follow:

  • Look up related material.
  • Study the sources
  • Determine the topics, arguments, and gaps.
  • Create a plan for the structure.
  • Write a literature review.

A competent literature review does more than list sources; it also studies, summarizes, and analyzes them to provide a comprehensive picture of the current state of research on the topic.

What is a literature review’s purpose?

In the literature review, you summarize the key points of view and relevant information from your reading as they apply to your selected subject. The literature review can also be used to demonstrate the importance of conducting research on your topic of choice by demonstrating what knowledge already exists and how it is relevant.

You can do the following with the literature review:

  • Show your knowledge of the issue and the academic context.
  • choose a theoretical basis and methodology for your study.
  • Compare yourself with other academics.
  • Demonstrate how your study closes a gap or adds to a discussion.

    learn how to write a review of literature

Step 1: Conduct a literature search.

You’ll need to choose a topic for your research paper before you start looking for books. You will look for publications linked to your research topic and issues if you write the literature review paragraph of a thesis or research paper.

Do not ignore the benefits of actual libraries and librarians in assisting you. In addition, libraries may have textbooks and scientific publications that aren’t available anywhere else. As a result, visiting your local library could be beneficial.

Make a keyword list.

Make a list of terms that are relevant to your study topic. List any synonyms and similar terms for each of the words or aspects you’re concerned about. In case you read through some new terms while doing your literature search, you can write them down too.

Keywords example:
Art era, Impressionism, Expressionism, Art Noveau, Dadaism.
Theories of Psychology, Child Development, Attachment Theory, Moral Development.

Look for relevant resources.

You’ll almost certainly need to read twice as many to find relevant ones. It’s also a good idea to look for a variety of sources. The following databases are useful for finding publications:

  • The catalog of your university’s library
  • EBSCO Project Muse Google Scholar JSTOR (humanities and social sciences)
  • MedlinePlus (life sciences and biomedicine)

When your study keeps bringing up the same ideas and you’re not learning anything significant, you’ve probably read enough. If you notice that you’re reading the same publications over and over, make a point of looking them up.

Step 2: Choose and cite your sources

Make sure the sources you’re using are reliable, and that you’ve studied any important findings or theories in your subject. Your topic and field will determine your review’s scope: in the sciences, you usually just review contemporary literature, whereas, in the humanities, you may take a more significant historical perspective.

Some publications are sufficiently influential in a subject that they must be cited, regardless of when they were first published. Apart from that, you should look for published sources within the last 5 or 10 years.

Step 3: Structure your literature review.

The structure of a literature review is identical to that of a typical essay, with an introduction, body, and conclusion. The review’s focus is on a writer’s evaluation of a literary work from multiple angles supported by related sources.

Before you begin writing, you should have a general strategy concept. There are chronological, thematic, methodological, and theoretical strategies. You can use a combination of these tactics depending on the word count of your literature review.

Step 4: Write a literature review.

In general, your literature review should begin with one or two paragraphs that demonstrate your knowledge of your field of research. After that, you should review the literature in your field of study and analyze the most relevant works.


The emphasis and objective of the literature review should be clearly stated in the opening:

  • Define the main topic, issue, or area of research so that the literature can be reviewed in the proper context.
  • Identify similarities in what has been written about the issue
  • Establish the writer’s motivation for examining the literature.


You may choose to break the body of your literature review into categories depending on how long it is. You should include the following in the body:

  • Organize studies conducted and other types of publications based on common factors such as quantitative methodologies, author findings, particular objectives, chronology, and so on.
  • Individual research or publications should be summarized with as much or as little detail as they deserve based on their relevance.
  • To help the reader grasp comparisons, use strong “umbrella” statements at the beginning of paragraphs, “signposts” throughout, and shorter “so what” overview sentences in the review.


In conclusion, you should summarize and highlight the significant results from the literature that you have gathered. A proper conclusion paragraph should also include:

  • A summary of key methodological weaknesses or gaps in research, conflicts in theory, and areas or topics that should be researched further.
  • A comment on the connection between the major point of the literature review and a broader area of research, such as a discipline or a career.

Don’t forget to proofread your literature review properly when you’ve completed writing and editing it. And if proofreading isn’t your strongest talent, you can turn to professional editing services or even your supervisor!