Steps To Writing A Conclusive Literature Review

A literature review is a general overview of the scholarly materials about a specific topic. The study entails information on current theories, knowledge to grasp the concept of existing studies.

The literature review covers information collection, evaluation, and inferencing materials like articles, books, and journals that answer the research questions. The steps of writing a literature review go down as follows:

  1. Identity of appropriate literature
  2. Assessment of literature sources
  3. Analysis of information and gaps in the research
  4. Articulate the structure
  5. Start writing the literature review


A concise literature review evaluates, analyzes, and expounds the information about the subject of study.

The importance of a literature review

The literature review illustrates your understanding of the study topic and the available researches on it. The analysis establishes a theoretical platform and the research procedure of the study. Additionally, the literature review places the researcher at his level compared to the other researchers. The analysis reveals how the dissertation acts as the basis of debate and gap identification. The generation of the content in a literature review follows the following steps:

Step 1: Identity of the appropriate literature

A researcher must clearly define a topic of study. In the dissertation proposal, the literature review is brief, while in the other documents, it details the research objectives and questions explicitly.

In the case where the literature review is a freestanding assignment, a researcher must develop research questions to help answer the questions without gathering new data but working with the available publications.

The reviewer must enlist vital keywords.

The researcher must write down the essential words in the research topic, their key variants, synonyms, and equal terms.

Search for relevant sources

Identify crucial sources using keywords. This move involves searching the entire database for journals, books, and articles which explain the keywords. Read the abstracts of these resources to narrow down from those that lack an explanation of the research questions. The selection of publications is dependent on the recurrence of the citation in various similar research articles.

Step 2: Assessment of literature sources

Since it is unnecessary to read the whole book, journal, or publication, the researcher must assess the suitability of the source by comparing its details to the research questions stipulated. Every paper must solve a particular, if not all, research questions raised. The researcher should explore the various breakthrough researches in the field of study.

The researcher can Google search the times a particular publication has been quoted before deciding to include it in the literature review. The researcher must jot down the sources and cite them once included in the literature review. Referencing and citation help solve the challenge of plagiarism.

Step 3: Analysis of information and gaps in the research

Before the researcher can start making an educated argument, he must relate the various publications identified for research. This move will help the researcher evade repetitions.

The researcher must note the conflicts and contradictions between the publications, trends and patterns, themes that recur, the unexplored gaps, and essential theories advocated for in the writings. This move will help the researcher make a calculated contribution to the knowledge base of the topic.

Step 4: Articulate the structure of the literature review.

There are numerous plans of argument in the body of a literature review. Some of the orientations may be combined in the literature review. This concept depends on the size of the literature review. Some of the adjustments include:

  • Chronological

This orientation is where the researcher enumerates the concepts in order without exclusively following the order of studying the sources. The researcher develops the ideas from the origin to the end before moving to the other.

  • Thematic

In this orientation, the researcher orders the concepts in terms of themes, each tackling a different aspect.

  • Methodological

This orientation articulates the concepts by comparing the results and conclusions after exploring diverse approaches.

  • Theoretical

This orientation follows the period in which the theories developed to create a platform for flowing through the concepts.

Step 5: Start writing the literature review.

The literature review is written like other publications in the order of introduction, main body, and finally a conclusion. Each part must fulfill the objectives articulated and, in the end, make a concise conclusion depending on the review.