Are you a student who has to write a literature review? Don’t worry, you are not alone. This is a common assignment in many different types of courses. A literature review is a document that summarizes the existing research on a particular topic. It can be used to assess the current state of knowledge on a subject, or to identify gaps in the research that need to be explored. In this student’s guide, we will discuss how to write a literature review that will impress your professor!
What is a literature review and why do we write them
A literature review is a survey of the existing body of knowledge on a particular topic. It can be used to identify trends, gaps, and inconsistencies in the research. A literature review can be either a stand-alone document or part of a larger research project such as a dissertation or thesis.
There are several reasons why you might be asked to write a literature review:
- To gain an overview of the existing research on a topic
- To identify gaps in the current research
- To inform future research directions
- To provide context for your own research project.
Types of literature reviews
There are different types of literature reviews, each with its own purpose and audience. Here are four common types of literature reviews:
- Theoretical: These types of literature reviews focus on analyzing the theory behind a particular topic or area of research. They might examine the history and origins of a theory, or how it has been applied in different contexts.
- Conceptual: These kinds of literature reviews focus on exploring a particular concept or idea. This could involve looking at how a concept has been defined by different scholars, or how it has been interpreted in different ways.
- Methodological: These kinds of literature reviews focus on evaluating the methods used in a particular area of research. This could involve critiquing the use of certain methods, or comparing and contrasting different methodologies.
How to find sources for your review
If you’re starting your literature review from scratch, you’ll need to find sources relevant to your research topic. To do this, you can:
- Use library databases like EBSCOHost, JSTOR, or ProQuest
- Search Google Scholar
- Look for bibliographies in similar works to yours
- Ask your professor for advice on where to look for sources
How to read and analyze sources
When you write a literature review, you will want to read and analyze a variety of sources. How you choose to do this will depend on the assignment requirements and your own reading and writing goals. But no matter what, you should always:
- Read with an eye for main ideas and supporting details.
- Take notes as you read. This will help you keep track of what you’ve read and make it easier to write about later.
- Organize your sources by theme or topic. This will help you see how different writers approach similar subjects.
- Analyze each source critically. What are the author’s qualifications? How does this source compare to others in the same genre or field? How is this source useful to your research?