Literature Review Help and Guide

What is a literature review , how to do a literature review and what should you be included in your lit review.


Meaning – What is a literature review ?


The critical literature review is basically a compilation of data on the topic in question which would be taken from publications of other authors or researchers in the field. It is majority of the time a part of a research report, thesis or dissertation. The aim behind the literature review is to bring out the information that has been already assimilated and its strengths as well as weaknesses looking at it from the perspective of your own report. The literature review should be guided by  some objectives, problems or issues which have been discussed. In the guide of literature review we are trying to acquainted you with actual meaning of literature review and what should you be included in your lit review. This review of literature should help to achieve things like –

  • Adapt an organized approach towards answering the research question.
  • Harmony in the results of aspects known as well as unknown
  • Identify controversial issues
  • Formulation of further research topics

The format that is followed for the literature review would be different for different disciplines as well assignments. Basically what the author should aim at irrespective of the format is to make the review as self contained as possible or it should be the beginning of a different rationale which has not been explored as yet.

Literature Review – How to write a literature review?


The Critical Literature review is mainly looked at bettering the knowledge base on the topic in question as well helps to gain while demonstrating skills in two main areas –

  •         Information Gathering
  •         Appraisal with a critical perspective

The key points which you as the author of this research need to look into during the literature review help are –

The thesis agenda, problem as well as research question the literature review is aiming to answer       

Kind of literature review which is needed like quantitative, qualitative or issues linked to theories
The scope of the literature review in terms of data sources and field of study

        Effective methods for seeking data and quoting sources so that the perspective   achieved on the topic is broad rather than being very narrow.

        Critical analysis is applied to the data collected rather than just bringing together information.

        The perspective contrary to my topic is also discussed

        From the readers point of view the study is relevant and useful or not.

Literature Review – Structure

The structure to write lit review should be broken up into three parts. They are –


– the introduction should help clearly define the topic, problem or the area which is a matter of concern for the author. This would provide content which is appropriate for the process of review of literature. The overall trend should be pointed out firstly and then the conflicts, methods, evidences, gaps in research or a problem with a brand new perspective should be brought out to arouse interest in the study. The reason for the author to review the literature on the topic in question should be clearly stated  while explaining  the criteria’s which would be used by him to make comparisons or stating facts that have still not been explored.


– Researches which are group studies or other reviews of literature with any common denominator with the current study should be summarized along with studies which are individual perspectives. The aim behind the body of the literature review help should be to provide a strong umbrella of referenced material so that the comparisons and analysis should sound foolproof and authentic.


– The conclusion of this section should act as a summary of the contributors of various studies that have formed the body of knowledge for the review. Bring out any flaws in methodologies or research in gaps of studies already conducted so that the avenues for future research can also be provided. This would help to provide a clear insight into the main topic in question and its bearing on the larger scope of the discipline it belongs to.

Click here to see literature review in research with Literature Survey Format


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