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The Literature Reviw

The Literature Review | A Complete Step-by-Step Guide

The Literature Review | A Complete Step-by-Step Guide

Why write a literature review?

You’ll need to undergo a literature evaluation to contextualize your study within current knowledge while writing a dissertation or thesis. The literature review provides you with the opportunity to:

Exhibit your understanding of the subject and academic background.

Create a theoretical framework and research approach for your study.

Place yourself in relation to other theories and investigators.

Demonstrate how your dissertation fills a void or adds to a discussion


Step 1: Conduct a literature search.

Before you begin searching for articles, you will need a clear idea of what you’re searching for.

If you’re preparing a dissertation or research paper, you’ll look for literature that relates to your purpose of the study and concerns.

Example of a research question

“What effects does social networking sites have on teenagers’ moral development?”

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  • Make a keyword list.

Begin by making a list of keywords that are relevant to your study subject. List any synonyms and similar phrases for each of the primary topics or factors you’re interested in.

(Make a list of all social media sites, this includes professional sites such as LinkedIn)

  • Look for related resources.

Begin your search for sources by using your keywords.

To determine if a certain research is valid/applicable to your topic, go through the abstract. You may utilize the reference list to find more related content.

Step 2: Assess and choose sources

As a researcher, it may not be possible to study all published articles on the subject – you’ll have to choose the most relevant ones as per your topic.

Consider the following questions for each publication:

“How is the issue being addressed by the writer?”

“What are the most important ideas and how are these described?”

“Mention the most relevant theories, models, and methods? Is the research based on an already built concept or is it a new approach”

“How was the research conducted? What were the results and conclusions?”

“Relationship between this publication and other related literature? Is it a validation, addition, or challenging existing knowledge?”

“What contribution has this publication made to the topic of your study? What are the key facts and reason of conflict?”

“And what were the study’s advantages and disadvantages?”

Check to see whether the sources you’re using are reliable.

Google Scholar offers a citation counter for articles. In the research world, an article’s influence can be measured by the number of citations it has.

Make a list of your sources and take notes.

While reading, start writing. Make note of anything that you think you may want to include in your literature study later on.

Step 3: Look for common themes, arguments, and gaps.

The very first step in creating a sensible argument and structural framework for the literature review is understanding the links and relations that exist between the materials you’ve read. Relying on your readings and observations, you may focus on the following items:

“Has the popularity of specific techniques increased or decreased over time?”

“What themes or topics reoccur throughout the literature?”

“Which sources are in disagreement with one another?”

“Have any important ideas or research shifted the field’s direction?”

“What has been left out of the literature? “

This stage will assist you in determining the framework of your literature review as well as demonstrating how your own study will add to current knowledge (if appropriate).

Trends and Gaps as an Example

You’ll notice that the majority of studies on said topic has concentrated a certain gender instead of viewing teenager as a whole, as you explore the literature.

However, there is still a scarcity of reliable data on heavily visual sites such as Instagram and Snapchat, which you might cover in your own study.

Step 4: Outline the format of your literature review.

There are many techniques to structuring the body of a literature review. Before you begin to write, you must have a general concept of your approach.





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Step 5: Writing literature review

A literature review is to be structured in the same way as any other academic paper; an introduction section, the main body, and a conclusion. What makes part in each section is dependent of the goal of your literature review



In the introduction, the focus and goal of literature review must be explicitly explained.

Dissertation literature review

If you’re preparing a literature review for a dissertation or thesis, restate your main topic or study objectives and provide a quick overview of the scholarly context. You might emphasize the topic’s relevance (“many latest researches have concentrated on the issue of x”) or point out a void in existing literature (“although considerable study has been done on x, few scholars have addressed y into account”).

As Separate Assignment

If you’re writing as a separate assignment, provide some context for the issue and its significance, define the extent of the literature you’ll be reviewing (for example, the time span of your sources), and express your goal. What fresh knowledge will you get from the research?


Dependent on how comprehensive your review paper is, you may want to arrange it into subtopics. A subchapter might be dedicated to a particular topic, historical time, or analytical technique.

Keep these suggestions in mind when you write:

Synthesize and summarize: present a summary of each source’s important elements and merge them into a logical totality

Analyze and define: don’t simply repeat what other researchers have said; add your own views and explain the importance of the results in the context of the entire literature.

Examine your sources cautiously, highlighting their advantages and disadvantages.

Use transitional and subject sentences to generate links, parallels, and differences in well-structured paragraphs.


In the conclusion, sum up the most important results from the research and highlight its importance.

Dissertation literature review

Illustrate how your study fills gaps and offers new information, or explain how you built a foundation for your research by drawing on recent concepts and methodologies. This is a good way to start your research methodology.

As Separate Assignment

If it’s a separate assignment, you may analyze the literature’s broader significance or provide recommendations for future study based on the voids you’ve discovered.

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