How to Write a Literature Review for a Research Paper

How to Write a Literature Review for a Research Paper

Most students or researchers are always faced with challenges in writing a literature review for a research paper. The challenge is predominantly brought in by the fact that most of them do not understand the basics of how to write a literature review for a research paper. However, most students and researchers do not realize that writing literature reviews can become an easy task to accomplish with the right guidelines from experts. As such, Myhomeworkwriters.com provides a guide on how to write a literature review for a research paper. Myhomeworkwriters.com is a community of experts trained to offer the best academic services to students from all disciplines.

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How to Write a Literature Review for a Research Paper

A literature review for a research paper provides information on how the research correlates with other studies in the field of research. An analysis of pre-existing publications helps a researcher understand the development of existing concepts, theories, or ideas, and henceforth find a starting point of their own ideas in the same field. Therefore, to correctly accomplish a literature review’s purposes, it is essential to learn how to write a literature review for a research paper. Myhomeworkwriters.com provides all the information you need to know on how to write a literature review for a research paper and much more. Thus, you can fully understand all the important aspects of writing a literature review for a research paper.

What is Literature Review in Research Methodology?

A literature review in research analyzes scholarly materials such as books or articles to get enough information on a particular area of research (your research topic). The analysis of these scholarly materials would mean that you provide a description, summary, and/or evaluation of the materials with primary interests in the research problem. Technically, a literature review in research aims at providing a close examination of the sources used in exploring a research problem. The review also reflects the correlation of your research and other larger fields within your area of study. Thus said, it is advisable for researchers who intend to use these scholarly materials to learn how to write a literature review for a research paper.

Importance of a Literature Review

It is important to understand the importance of a literature review before learning how to write a literature review for a research paper. A literature review is an analytical feature that examines existing publications in relation to a research problem. A literature review could summarize the information found in the scholarly material and organizational patterns that combine both synthesis and summary of these materials. A summary of the research material provides the key points that are useful in tackling the research problem. However, synthesis involves reorganization and reshuffling of information to prepare the reader to understand your approach in solving a research problem using the pre-existing information.

How to Write a Literature Review for a Research Paper

A literature review serves the following purposes in the field of research:

  • Provides novel interpretation of old scholarly material or combine the novel and older interpretations in relation to a research problem
  • Literature reviews track the development of information in a field of research, including all debates relating to the research problem.
  • Provides an examination or evaluation of the sources of information that is relevant to research activity
  • The conclusion of a literature review reveals the gap in the information provided in existing materials in relation to a research problem.
  • Contributes to the understanding of the contribution of previous works to a research problem being investigated
  • Describes the correlation of different materials in a particular research field
  • Resolves any underlying conflicts in previous research
  • Help researchers to identify study area that is within the context of previous research on the field of interest

Where Does the Literature Review Go into a Dissertation?

A literature review should appear near the beginning of your thesis or dissertation. Normally, it should appear right after the introduction to provide information on how your study is related to previous works of research. Furthermore, the review indicates the approaches made in tackling the research problem.

Types of Literature Review in Research

Typically, there are different approaches to producing a literature review in research. A researcher should identify the type of review they intend to write as they learn how to write a literature review for a research paper. In research, a researcher is supposed to conduct intensive research on a particular topic and publish the research outcome. Apart from field studies, the research involves summarizing and interpreting previous works to develop new interpretations and get progressive results in a particular research field. Eventually, the research leads to conclusions, perceptions, interpretations, and opinions that become part of the existing information on an area of research.

How to Write a Literature Review for a Research Paper

The approaches of writing a literature review include the following;

  • Integrative review
  • Systematic review
  • Argumentative review
  • Historical review
  • Methodological review
  • Theoretical review

Integrative Review

An integrative literature review provides an assessment that synthesizes a research topic in an integrative manner to generate new perspectives and frameworks. Given this, the review includes all study areas that address correlated research problems or hypotheses. If well conducted, an integrative review produces the same results as primary research in relation to the rigor, clarity, and replication. The integrative review approach is commonly used in the social sciences.

Systematic Review

A systematic review usually provides an overview of existing literature that is significant to a particular research question. This approach uses a standardized system to identify relevant materials for the researching, collecting, and analyzing information provided in the review. A systematic review’s primary goal is to document, assess, and scientifically summarize existing information on the formulated research problem. Normally, a systematic review aims to answer an empirical question proposed in a “cause and effect” form. For example, the empirical question could ask, “How does phenomenon A contribute to phenomenon B?” A systematic review is usually employed in the examinations of research studies in health fields such as clinical medicine. However, the approach is currently expanding in the social sciences.

Argumentative Review

An argumentative review is a selective approach that examines the literature to either support or oppose an argument, an acknowledged assumption, or a research problem in the literature. The primary goal of an argumentative review is to establish a contrary opinion. When this approach is used in analyzing literature, it can be used as a legitimate and significant introduction to a discussion. However, this review can also establish bias problems in case they are used in producing summary claims similar to systematic reviews (discussed above).

Historical Review

Historical reviews as used in examining the progress made in a particular research field from the start of the research process to the current state of affairs. The approach analyzes the roots of the development of a concept, phenomena, or theory that exists in the literature. Furthermore, the review traces the evolution of the concepts, the phenomena, and theories within a particular field. The primary goal of a historical review is to provide a chronological assessment of the development of literature and to help identify the possible directions of future research.

Methodological Review

Normally, a review does not entirely focus on the findings of a study but also reveals the methods used in coming up with the results. Thus said, reviewing the methods used in finding the outcomes of research gives a better understanding of the whole study. The review explains how a researcher used the theories, research approaches, data collection, and analysis practices to achieve relevant research findings. Furthermore, the review provides an explanation of how researchers draw conclusions using the finding of a study. This approach helps researchers identify any underlying issues that might be faced when conducting their study.

Theoretical Review

A theoretical review provides an analysis of the existing theory that has been formed using accumulated concepts, phenomena, and issues. This approach helps in establishing existing theories, the relationship between the theories, and how much these theories have been studied. Furthermore, a theoretical review is used in the development of a new hypothesis that can be up for testing. In most cases, this approach is used in establishing the inadequacy of existing theories, which leads to the development of a framework for research that could build on existing theories.

How to Write a Literature Review for a Research Paper

Now that you can identify the different types of approaches to literature reviews, you can now learn how to write a literature review for a research paper. The first step towards understanding how to write a literature review for a research paper is to learn the basic literature review structure, outline, and format.

Literature Review Outline

This section will provide important tips on how to write a literature review for a research paper. So how can you turn different scholarly material into a logical review of literature? The process of writing a literature review involves constant checking of existing material to formulate and generate logical ideas. The following steps will guide you on how to write a literature review for a research paper.

Define Your Topic

Before you start the writing journey, you should first consider choosing and defining your topic. Ensure that you select a topic that you are completely familiar with, to ease your work while writing the literature review. Typically, defining a topic would require that you get an interesting topic that is relevant to your reader. Furthermore, ensure that you get a topic that is current and well-established with sufficient pre-existing research. This approach will help your research work easier.

Gather Adequate Information on the Topic from Scholarly Materials

Once you define your topic, the next step would be to find adequate information that relates to your area of interest. The sources of this information should include publications of conferences, books, articles, dissertations, and theses that are related to your study. Ensure that all information is significant to your study, i.e., the research problem. In a nutshell, the analysis of these materials is what you call the “literature review.”

Analyze the Relationship between the Information and Your Study Interest

As soon as you get hold of the existing information that is related to your research area, ensure that you analyze the interrelationship between information from different sources. The following questions could guide the analysis of the information provided in the scholarly materials:

  • How does this information respond to your study?
  • Are there present trends or patterns in the pre-existing literature?
  • What are the contradictions or conflicts present in the sources?
  • Are there gaps in the information provided in these materials?
  • What are the influential concepts and information that changed any trends in research?
  • What is the significance of the information to current studies?
  • What material is most useful for your study?

Henceforth, you could create thought charts and maps to help you identify the subsections in the research and outline the most significant information that forms your study’s basis.

Describe and Summarize Each Material Used In the Analysis

With the information sifted in the preceding steps, you could choose 2 or 3 important theories or concepts that would form your literature review. Generally, the number of concepts you decide to pick would depend on the literature review length. Gather all important information on the concepts that you have decided to work with. Ensure that all information is relevant to the field of study.

For example, if you have decided to work on theories A, B and C, write them down and provide a summary of how these concepts are relevant to your study. In case you are writing a review that introduces a journal or an article, the information should be brief. However, if the information is for a stand-alone review, the information could be lengthy to give in-depth information.

Demonstrate How the Concepts Connect With Your Study

This step is more focused on the interrelation between the literature and your study. Here, you have to provide a connection between pre-existing information in relation to your current research. Finally, also provide a connection between these sources and the arguments or concepts of your study.

Now that you have learned the basic steps on how to write a literature review for a research paper, you can proceed to understand how to develop your paper. Read on to understand how the basic structure of a literature review.

Literature Review Format

A good literature review for a research paper should have the following significant components:


Every literature review should provide an introduction that provides background information on the field of study. The introduction provides an overview of the theory, issue, or subject under study. In addition to the overview, the introduction should provide the review’s objective in relation to the chosen topic of study.


This section on a literature review describes the techniques used in selecting the sources or the information included in the literature review. This section helps readers to understand the approach used in creating the literature review.


The development of the body of a literature review depends on the approach of the literature review. For example, a chronological literature review would express different paragraphs for separate periods. However, the theoretical model would provide different sections for different theories or phenomena.

Discussion and Conclusion

This section on a literature review summarizes the significant contributions of previous studies to the existing research problem. The section also provides questions raised by the review that are stepping stones to the current study on a particular field. Furthermore, the section also mentions any gap presented by the review, including all suggestions for further research on the topic.

Reference List

This section is significant in the literature review, as it mentions all primary sources of your literature review. Ensure that you provide a detailed reference list, including the page numbers where necessary.

In conclusion, a literature review in research is very significant in joining research findings and conclusions by different researchers. Literature reviews usually provide adequate information on previous studies relating to a researcher’s field of interest. This guide on how to write a literature review for a research paper will expertise your skills in writing a logical and consistent review in your research paper(s). However, if you still need help writing your literature review, do not hesitate to contact Myhomeworkwriters.com. My Homework Writers is an academic writing service company with highly qualified professionals who can help you write your research paper literature review.

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