Introduction to Literature Review: Expert Tips on Effective Writing

A literature review is an essential component of a research paper, thesis project, dissertation, coursework or any other research project. An effectively written literature review should entail an in-depth discussion of the sources as well as their detailed critical analysis and evaluation. Since a literature review is a separate chapter of a research paper, it is important to provide an introduction to literature review in order to shed light on the sources you are going to review and also mention the focus of studies. When working on your literature review, you need to find only up-to-date academic sources that are peer-reviewed. Ideally, they should be taken from scholarly databases and libraries. Depending on the number of sources you need to use in your paper, you need to develop the chapter in a consistent and logical way. If you have a few focuses of research, the sources you use for reviewing should be classified according to their types. 


Since the research you conduct should be original and authentic, you need to rely on credible sources. Besides, before you start analyzing the literature you have found, it is recommended to provide a solid background for the research. Specifically, in your introduction to literature review, please remember to mention some theories as well as mention some empirical research that was derived by other researchers. It is essential to appeal to theory and practice since you should also reveal some existing gaps in literature relating to your topic. Since a literature review is also an essential part of dissertations and thesis paper projects, you will then be able to cover the gaps in your own research. All in all, writing a properly developed literature review is impossible without an in-depth understanding of the area of research or the very topic, so you need to have access to credible and up-to-date sources. 

Despite the fact that a literature review is not based on your original research and thoughts but is rather a demonstration of your critical analysis skills, it may still be a tough paper section to handle. If you find it hard to develop a specific paper structure or make sure the analysis is convincing, you are welcome to rely on our professional literature review writing service. You can also count on us if you have no experience in research paper writing, or specifically working on literature reviews, or if the topic assigned to you is new or confusing to you. 

A good and properly structured literature review is a significant part of any research paper or project since it represents the basic features and focal points of the research. Do not get disappointed or upset if you lack some knowledge or understanding concerning how to write your literature review. 

See Also: Article Reviews

What Is a Literature Review?

As it can be inferred from the name, it is a chapter of a research project, where you overview and analyze scholarly sources that have been published in scientific databases on the given topic. When you are conducting a literature review, you need to thoroughly choose the sources and make sure that they adhere to the topic of your paper. Once you have picked the relevant sources, you need to overview the sources and evaluate their role for the research in general. When working on research papers, students are encouraged to pick a variety of literature sources for the review, for example, books, periodicals, scientific journals, and online sources. 


One of the most challenging aspects of writing a literature review is to relate the collected sources to the given topic. To provide a good analysis of how the chosen literature relates to your research topic, you need to investigate a variety of literature, skim read and evaluate the sources, find out the existing gaps in the field, and come up with conclusions. Keep in mind that it takes some time to find the sources, read them, and then write the review. When you need to write a thematic literature review, you have to pick specific sources on a narrow theme. 

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How to Make Your Literature Review Strong and Well-Structured? 

The rich writing experience of our company`s writers has enabled them to compose a list of useful and practical recommendations on how to organize a literature review:

  1. Select sources for your review carefully. Be particularly attentive when selecting sources for your review – make sure they are up-to-date, scholarly, peer-reviewed, and relevant to your given topic of the research paper. Preferably, you need to pick those sources that have been published over the last five years or so. 
  2. Use critical perspective when analyzing the sources. The sources you select may even be contradictory in their message or ideas. On the whole, it may be really hard to pick one specific standpoint and claim that it is the right one. As such, you need to balance different views and arguments and use a critical perspective when analyzing them. You need to pinpoint to strengths and weaknesses of the chosen theories as well as highlight any limitations or gaps within the research. 
  3. Maintain clear focus and structure. When you have quite many sources to review in your literature review chapter, make sure that you classify them or review them one by one depending on the central idea they focus on or the topic that is common for them. Such an approach to organizing your literature review chapter will certainly help you arrange your ideas in a logical form. 

See Also: Movie Reviews

What to Do Before Starting Literature Review Writing? 

  • Get a clear interpretation of the task and purpose of literature review writing. If the review prompt is a bit confusing to you, get all the necessary clarifications from your professor. Get clear details concerning how many sources you should choose, what types of sources you should prefer, what date of sources publication is acceptable, etc. 
  • Investigate some samples of other literature reviews in order to find out more information about the structure, ways of literature analysis, organization of ideas, and so on. 
  • Narrow down your topic. Make sure you have not chosen a too broad topic for the review, as you will face the challenge of coming across too many sources. As such, you will not be able to cover them in an appropriate way. 
  • Investigate current up-to-date sources. Your literature review will be more solid and reliable if you choose the most recent sources. Whatever sources you choose, pinpoint the difference in research that was achieved over these few years till the current times. 


Steps in Literature Review Writing 

The following steps will come in handy for you if you want to attain the proper structure of your literature review:

  1. Narrow down your topic. If you have been assigned a topic that sounds like a broad one, please try to narrow it down and specify one focus. Accordingly, try to find sources within that realm. 
  2. Find appropriate literature. After you have narrowed down your topic, try to find appropriate scholarly sources. Decide on the keywords that may help you find the needed books, articles or journals. 
  3. Look through the articles you have found. While skim reading the articles, try to evaluate them and decide whether they fit your research area. When reading the chosen sources, be attentive to the lists of literature after each of the sources. 
  4. Organize the chosen literature. Once you have picked the literature you will use for reviewing, try to organize and classify it according to different criteria, such as the scope of research, the topic, and even scholars who have conducted the study. Try to identify common topics and theoretical approaches that are inherent in the sources you have chosen. You may also want to use headings and subheadings within the literature review chapter in order to better navigate the information depending on the themes. 
  5. Formulate the statement of purpose clearly. In the introduction to the literature review, try to clearly formulate the purpose statement, where you will specify the main trends in research as well as pinpoint the recent developments in the subject area. 
  6. Start writing your paper. You are recommended to start with an outline and then elaborate on the chapter in detail. Make sure you use transitions so that there is a clear and logical connection between the subsections. Instead of merely describing or summarizing the sources, prioritize critical analysis and evaluation. 
  7. Review the task upon completion. After you have written the chapter, review it from the beginning. Start with content and logical development of ideas: pay attention to topic sentences, illustrations, examples, and critical analysis. Check on whether the points mentioned in the topic sentence are further elaborated within the paper. Try to read the section out loud afterwards in order to check on whether it sounds natural and whether the flow of ideas is logical. Besides, this approach may help you spot some grammar, spelling or punctuation mistakes if any. As an option, you may also want to ask your friends or group mates to take a look at your paper.

On the whole, if the process of working on a literature review seems overly challenging to you, do not struggle with the paper and rely on an expert custom writing service for help. 

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