Creating A Research Paper: How To Write The Review Of Related Literature

When you write a literature review you must keep in mind that it’s both a summary as well as an explanation of the current state and completeness of knowledge in a particular topic. In other words, the topic on which you are writing your research paper.

Purpose of the literature review

  • It gives the readers a quick summary to other information on the same subject that’s been published by previous authors
  • It makes a great starting point for the researcher to know where to begin so they can have a good idea of where others have left off and where there are gaps in the information
  • It helps to ensure that work isn’t duplicated
  • Provides a recommendation on what areas to focus new research
  • It helps to highlight the key findings on that topic
  • It brings to light any contradictions, gaps or inconsistencies in the current or past research
  • It gives an overview of the approaches other researchers have taken and the methodologies they have used

What should the review contain?

Key elements of your review should include:

  • The introduction – this establishes the content of the subject, explains what approach will be taken and shows what the focus of the paper will be
  • The body – using headings and subheadings to make logical divisions, this part of the paper gives a summary and evaluation of the current state of information available in the field. It will show current trends, findings that are controversial, and disagreements within the field.
  • The conclusion – this summarizes everything you’ve presented. You also show the significance of what you have written, including highlighting gaps in knowledge, where future research should be headed.

How to write your review

After you have found your topic, you can begin research. Use keywords and a computer database to do your search. You can also use an academic library. Along the way you will find papers that both agree and disagree with your point of view. Include both.

Select your sources with a tight focus on what your topic is. As soon as you start gathering research that’s only remotely related you will soon find yourself drowning in a sea of information.

Read through and evaluate all the sources you’ve chosen. Look for patterns by organizing the main topics and subtopics. Use these to develop a working thesis and an outline.

Write the body of your review, following your outline. When this is finished, write the introduction and conclusion. Proofread your literature review, and now it’s complete.

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