How to write a literature review


Your literature review should include the following components:

INTRODUCTION A brief outline of your research topic, stating the specific research questions or aims.
A concise overview of the body of literature you have located. This is where you mention the ten sources you have found. Often it is useful to categorise them in some fashion whether it be in terms of similar methods, theoretical approaches, countries of origin etc.
BODY Develop your evaluation of the literature in more detail, focusing on the two most relevant or useful studies. Unlike in an annotated bibliography, you SHOULD NOT simply address each source separately. Instead you will need to organise your paragraphs around various themes which emerge from the sources as part of a whole body of literature. You can do this by trying to establish if there are any trends in what you have read? How diverse are approaches to this subject? You should highlight the selected studies’ main findings or arguments, while offering commentary on the way the research was designed, the methods used etc.Similarities, differences, strengths and weaknesses should be explored.
CONCLUSION While you should be making some connections in the body of your review, in your concluding paragraph(s) you need to illustrate how the existing literature informs the development of your own research. You might like to say how your reading has changed your thinking about the topic, perhaps further refining the topic or area of inquiry, or how you’ll draw on a methodology used by any of the authors.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Should be set out correctly with all sources cited in text listed with full bibliographic details.

Literature Reviews : Three simple steps

Find articles/literature to be reviewed. Use the skills you have developed by doing the Library modules

Prepare brief summaries. The summaries of each article can be collated at this point to form an annotated bibliography. Could include:

Bibliographic details Research aims and questions Methodology and methods Key findings Conclusions and implications Your assessment

Develop literature review – an essay style covering all relevant articles (2). Compare articles on key points. List details of articles in bibliography (not in the review).

Keep it concise! Words are precious. Don’t waste them!


find the cost of your paper