Literature Review

Updated: Dec 8, 2016

A literature review reveals current knowledge on a specific topic that’s been established in published writings by researchers, scholars, and other esteemed authors. As a secondary source, a literature review simply seeks to convey the facts that have been established on a subject, and it should also point out the strengths of this knowledge as well as any perceived weaknesses and flaws.


Many students are given a task of conducting a literature review, and they approach it without fully understanding at times what it even means. Most of them will agree that it is about gathering information from various sources and then writing a report about it. Only a small number of them will fully understand how to properly evaluate the information they gathered and what is the best way to present it. These aspects precisely are absolutely crucial for a valid, high-quality literature review writing.

If you are struggling with your literature review and don't know where to start, we are here to help you.

What Is a Literature Review?

A literature review has a number of objectives:

  • Survey of the literature in the specific area
  • Synthesis and summary of the information extracted from that literature
  • Critical analysis of the gathered information by identification of gaps in the knowledge
  • Presentation of the literature in an organized way

Literature review basically speaking is done to demonstrate one’s familiarity with previous work in one’s field of study and the place of own work within the context of this field.

What Makes a Good Literature Review?

Many times, when given the task of writing a literature review, you will be supplied also with a book-list or a direction for useful published materials. Use this help. With dissertations and thesis, it will be more you who decide what materials to use. It is, therefore, very important that you outline properly the criterion for your research: your exact objectives and things that you need to find out.

You need to ask yourself “What kind of issues am I looking at in my review?” Are they:

  • Theory
  • Methodology
  • Policy
  • Quantitative research?

Even before approaching the reading, you might want to create a list stating all the questions and areas involved. These will be yours to answer or find out about when you do the reading. A good literature review will be critical of what is written, it won’t just provide a descriptive overview, but analyze and discuss, raise questions and identify areas which are in need of further research.

A good literature review has to have a clear line of reasoning, aka the argument. Always acknowledge opinions which disagree with your own thesis. If you fail to do that, it will actually weaken your argument.

Where Is a Literature Review Used?

• The first stage of any given research project is reviewing the field. A literature review might form an important part of a thesis or a dissertation, or might also just be a self-standing review of the literature on a subject.

• It is often the first stage of a wider research project, done to allow the supervisor to evaluate whether the student is on the right path.

• It is a compendium and synopsis of a specific field of study and research, permitting anyone reading the paper to determine why you are after this specific research program.

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Literature Review Structure

The structure of a literature review is similar to that of any essay. It should, therefore, have an introduction, main/body/supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion. Here are some steps you have to follow in each of these parts.


  • Give a clear definition of your topic and supply a suitable context for exploring and analyzing the literature.
  • Establish your point of view and list the reasons for reviewing the literature
  • State the spread of your research
  • Explain the sequencing, aka organization of the review
  • State what is and what isn’t included in your review. The literature on the subject in hand might be overwhelmingly large, while you may want to use only a couple of papers in your writing, explain which ones you choose to relate to and why

Body paragraphs

  • Structure the literature in a manner corresponding to common themes
  • Provide correlative insights between the topic of your choice and the wider area of the subject in hand
  • Zoom-in from the wider theme of the reviewed literature to your specific area of interest and research


  • Provide a summary of the important points and aspects of the existing bulk of literature
  • Give evaluation to the present state of that literature
  • Make an identification of major flaws and gaps in the knowledge in hand
  • Give an outline for further study
  • Provide a link between your research and existing knowledge

Literature Review Writing Tips

Tip 1. There are a number of things to work on to better your literature review.

Tip 2. Organize your writing so it is focused around and relating primarily to the thesis of the conducted research. It can help to draw a diagram showing you the related fields and how you can arrange them in correlation to one another, as a preparation for the writing.

Tip 3. Invest in a well-conducted literature review research. Broaden your horizons, take advice from the librarian and consult your mentor if possible. All these might expand your sources to unexpected and more engaging level.

Tip 4. Combine results into a summary of known and unknown elements. Always remember, it is about showing the ability for critical thinking and identification of issues through literature, rather than a simplistic overview of what’s out there.

Tip 5. Look out for controversial areas in the literature you read. These are the most interesting and need to be pointed out. It is about awakening a relevant discussion and finding the truth through arguing.

Tip 6. Be polite when arguing a point. If you are reading something you disagree with finding the proper words to conduct your point of view without offending the other writer.

Tip 7. Link the elements in a way that makes sense. If you are using various sources to discuss a problem, use linking words to create relations between the sources.

Tip 8. Quote sources properly. If you choose to use a direct quote from someone, make sure you give them the proper credit, otherwise, it might appear as if you are trying to present it as your own.

Where Can One Find Help with Literature Review Writing?

It is not a shame to seek a little help with literature review writing. Writing demands not only a good deal of your time but also a certain set of skills, which are not always easy to master. Surely, it is most beneficial if a person can conduct his/her own research and produce a complete and well-written review or essay in the amount of time given for the task. But sometimes this is just not the case.

You might have written all of your papers thus far, but this one now is simply above your time limits. There can be many reasons for a modern student to not be able to cope with the vastness of tasks he or she is required to accomplish. For this reason, there are companies that can help you achieving a good grade, so all your previous efforts aren’t compromised but fortified. One can find such companies on-line when typing-in “write for me literature review” or “custom literature review writing service”.

Why Is it Better to Use Literature Review Writing Services?

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Writing services employ highly professional writers who have a long and proved experience in the field. Many of them hold high degrees. These writers are excellent researchers and will do an outstanding job for you since writing papers are exactly where their passion lies.

Our professional writers will help you to write a literature review that uses only current references and utilizes materials from the most esteemed authors in the field. We have the experience and knowledge that will help you through your assignment. PrivateWriting is the service you can trust!

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