A literature review is a common assignment in college. It’s a piece of academic writing used to critically analyze and evaluate available literature on a specific topic. You may need it for a standalone assignment or as a part of a project, thesis, etc.

Reviewing the literature can be a titanic amount of work. You have to juggle multiple tasks, from finding relevant sources and evaluating the material to organizing information and using proper citations to avoid plagiarism. It can be scary!

Hence, this article shares five effective tips you can use to write excellent literature reviews and impress your professor. But let’s first see what the purpose of a review is.

What Is the Significance of a Literature Review?

A literature review summarizes prior research to present what is already known. It shows your readers that you have conducted in-depth research and understand the current papers on the subject. If it seems confusing, you can take help from the write my essay cheap services to write extraordinary assignments.

Here are some primary purposes of a literature review:

  • Indicates your familiarity with a topic and establishes your credibility;
  • Highlights areas of controversy and debate;
  • Shows limitations of theories and areas of further research;
  • Positions your project in relation to other research and contributes new ideas.
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5 Tips for Writing a Powerful Literature Review

Find the Right Literature

You can’t read every research paper available on your subject. Hence, you must look for credible and relevant literature on your topic.

For this, you need to clearly define your topic or research question and list related keywords. Use these keywords to search databases like your university’s library, Google Scholar, Medline, EconLit, Inspec, JSTOR, Web of Science, etc.

Peer-reviewed articles are always the best sources. You can read the abstract of the articles to quickly determine whether they are relevant to your project. For effective evaluation, go through each publication’s question, key concepts, and conclusions.

Take Notes When Reading

As you read a research paper, take notes of the primary ideas and interesting information. Jot down the page numbers of each note to easily cite them later in your review. You can use a digital note-taking tool like Simplenote or Google Keep to make the process more efficient.

If you are copying a sentence verbatim, use quotation marks so that you can later identify and rephrase them into your own words.

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Don’t forget to cite the sources to avoid plagiarism. You can make an annotated bibliography to include all the citation details and sum up each source in a paragraph. The best essay writers online use paper management systems like Mendeley, Papers, Qiqqa, Sente, etc.

Critically Analyze the Literature

A good review doesn’t just summarize a paper. It critically analyzes it to identify major themes, methodological problems, and relationships between literature. Here are some analysis tips:

  • Identify trends to understand which theories are gaining popularity over time;
  • Check which concepts occur in almost all the papers;
  • Identify the areas of conflict and contradiction;
  • See if any powerful theories changed the direction of the study;
  • Locate the missing topics and unresolved questions in the publications.

Select an Organizational Approach

You shouldn’t summarize all the topics and copy every small detail from the literature. Instead, use the following strategies to synthesize only the key concepts and organize them in the body of your review.

Chronological: This is the easiest approach that demonstrates the topic’s development over time. Analyze trends, defining moments, and significant discussions that have influenced the direction of the subject.


Thematic: When you find certain themes that frequently occur in the papers, you can use them to organize your review into different subsections.

Methodological: Here, you organize your points in different methods used by the researchers. For example, qualitative vs. quantitative, empirical vs. theoretical, social vs. economical, etc.

Structure Your Review

Your review can’t be a big jumble of words with no sense. It should be structured into an introduction, body, and conclusion, just like any academic essay. Here is what you should include in these sections:

Introduction: It should provide the context for reviewing literature by defining the topic and stating its significance. You can identify trends and present gaps in the literature, and state the criteria you would use for analyzing.

Body: Here, you present your summary and evaluation of the literature. The best research paper writing services recommend organizing the analysis in subsections of time, theme, or method.

Conclusion: It sums up the key points you have drawn from the sources and establishes their importance. You can present your final perspective about the topic and state where your research fits in relation to the literature.

To Conclude

Literature reviews summarize the published work on a subject and help readers understand what is known. To make writing easier and less stressful, follow the above tips when working on your next review. They would help you boost the quality of your reviews and save tons of time.


Ruby has been a writer and author for a while, and her content appears all across the tech world, from within ReadWrite, BusinessMagazine, ThriveGlobal, etc.

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