How to Write the Best Literature Review

Dissertation Structure: The Conclusive Guide
November 2, 2018
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How to Write the Best Literature Review

How to write a literature reviewThe best literature review is the meat that your dissertation or research feeds on. To have a healthy dissertation, therefore, your literature review must be cooked using the right condiments.

Before you learn how to write the best literature review, it is imperative to have a solid understanding of what a literature review is.

A literature review is both a comparative exploration and a synthetic summary of the entire and current state of knowledge on a given limited topic as obtained from journal articles and academic books. It is basically your criticism and opinion on the information that had previously been published on a given topic. This is what is contained in this article.

When it comes to the dissertation structure, a literature review comes after the introduction chapter of the dissertation, often building on the identified objectives of the research.

The purpose of the literature is four eight-fold:

  • To present the available knowledge about the specific topic
  • To identify the value of the research to academia and to the general public
  • To identify a gap in the literature that makes the study worthwhile
  • To develop a justification for the chosen hypotheses
  • To establish a conceptual framework
  • To establish a theoretical framework for the study
  • To build a case for the analysis and discussion of the data
  • To justify the use of a particular research methodology in finding answers to the posited question

A literature requires you to demonstrate the credibility of the sources used before citing any of them.

A literature review is not only an abstract of the relevant sources but more of a synthetic review, comparative juxtaposition of the findings of the sources that relevant to a particular position. It can take one or several of these forms:

  • Methodological
  • Chronological
  • Thematic
  • Organized by materials, publications, etc.

The format of a Literature Review

To write the best literature review, it is important to know how it looks like. The manner in which you format your literature review will fully depend on the choice of your review type. The best way to arrange a literature review is to pick one of the available several ideas and clarify which of the sources describe the ideas in the best manner possible. You will be required to group the various opinions of the writer on different opinions before comparing and contrasting those opinions.


The Structure of a Literature Review in Brief

Reading for the literature review

  1. The Introduction – Provides a quick synopsis of the content in the literature review e.g. the organizational pattern or the central theme.
  2. Body – Contains the main discussion of the sources.
  • Conclusions – This is where you will discuss all that you have drawn from reviewing the given literature. Here, you should also give a hint on where the discussion might proceed.

Here are the main parts that make up the best literature review:

Literature Review: Introduction 

The introduction is where you present your review topic to the audience. You will need to keep these tips at the back of your mind as you continue writing:

  • Give a short definition of your topic that will be based on the kind of review you are writing, and point out any problems or questions you will be tackling.
  • Ensure you present the range of the literature you are reviewing, highlighting vital points like conflicts in the research in the research area, particular trends, gaps that should be filled in the research as well as any other new approach.
  • Name any literature that was excluded from your review intentionally and give the reasons.
  • Give a summary of your findings, not forgetting the reason you included the literature you choose in your review.
  • You should also give details on how readily available sources were in your area of study.

Literature Review: Body

This is the second part that makes up the best literature review. This is where you will go into detail as to what your review has covered, and you will have to do the following:

  • Write based on the kind of research that you have picked i.e. methodological, chronological, thematic and others.
  • Give a critical analysis of each of the used sources including details on the methodology, argument, as well as concluding statement on each of them.
  • Make sure that all omissions, mistakes, and consistencies of each of the sources are included in the main analysis.
  • To ensure the reader understand how each of the sources is related to each other, give a connection between them as well as how they connect into your general area of study.
  • Be objective and critical. Carry out a thorough research on the methodologies issues that have been suggested by the author.
  • Give credit to the most persuasive authors.
  • Do not forget an evaluation. Are the conclusions and arguments that the author has given convincing enough? Evaluate whether the work of the author significantly contributes to the general understanding of the main topic.

Literature Review: The Conclusion

To sum up your best literature a review, you will need a conclusion that will tie up your review into a tiny little package, and these are what should be included in the review:

  • A summary of the basic findings of your dissertation review.
  • A brief explanation of the vital common points that exist between the various sources and your area of research, but only if it is relevant.
  • If you are making a research proposal, then you will need to include a justification.


To add on all these, it would also be very imperative to give a reference list and in-text citations in the best style at the end of your review. You can give citations in styles such as Harvard, MLA, APA, and Chicago, which are popular.

Other Tips on Writing the Best Literature Review

  • You shouldn’t struggle to overdo the introduction. Just a write informative and short sentences that will inform your readers with much ease.
  • The sources should also be divided into categories in terms of those that support your point of view and those that do not.
  • It is also important to edit your literature review and offer appropriate answers to the questions raised and other sufficient supporting evidence.
  • The manner in which you write your review is the same way you will be able to present your primary work.
  • The best literature review will be worth all the effort that it took to write it since it will seek to offer a thorough and quick overview of the literature you had used. However, the literature used has to be presented in a manner that will make your university professor so much pleased with your work. After reading this article, you will be best placed in a position where you can write the best literature review with much ease.

To help with your time management, it may also be important for you to consider the time management tips.

You can also hire a professional dissertation writer to do your literature review

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