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How to Write a Literature Review for a Research Proposal?


All chapters in a research paper or proposal contribute significantly to your success. But among them, the literature review is a slightly better role because it gives the readers an idea on other significant works done previously on the subject. This knowledge aids in a better understanding of the research topic.

Writing a literature review can be troubling for beginners. There is an option of instant help in case you want. Today, several online academic help services guide students in writing quality literature reviews. For instant, MyAssignmentHelp experts are very popular for providing research proposal help online. Similarly, there are several other brands known for this kind of assistance. You can hire them as per your need, but it is also important that you know the steps involved in writing a literature review.

To help you, here is a brief guide on writing a literature review. Let’s start with understanding the basics of literature review.

What is a Literature Review?

A literature review is a type of academic writing that, when placed in context, demonstrates the author’s knowledge and comprehension of the academic literature on a particular subject.  Because a literature review also involves a critical assessment of the sources, it is referred to as such rather than a literature report. It is both a writing process and a method of evaluating the literature.

Consider articles that provide reviews of films or television shows to demonstrate the distinction between reporting and reviewing.  These articles contain information such as a concise synopsis or the main ideas of the movie or show, along with the reviewer’s assessment.

Usually, in longer writing, like a dissertation or project, a literature review is one of the first things to do after selecting a topic. A topic can be improved, and research questions can be framed with reading and critical analysis.  Before beginning a new investigation, conducting a literature review demonstrates your familiarity with and comprehension of recent research in a given field. After a literature review, you should determine what is unknown about your topic and what research has already been done.

With the literature review, you can:

  • Show that you are knowledgeable about the subject and its academic context.
  • Create a research methodology and theoretical framework.
  • Place your work in the context of other scholars and theorists.
  • Describe how your study fills a need or advances a discussion.
  • Assess the state of the field’s research and show that you are aware of the scholarly arguments surrounding it.

Here’s an example of a proper literature review. Read it thoroughly for a better understanding.

Steps to Write a Literature Review

Step 1 – Look for Relevant Literature

If you are writing a dissertation or research paper’s literature review section, you will look for literature relevant to your research problem and questions.

Make a list of keywords associated with your research question first. List all the important ideas or variables that pique your interest, along with any synonyms or related terms. As you come across new keywords during your literature search, you can add them to this list.

Start your source search by using your keywords. The following are some helpful databases to look up journals and articles in:

  • The catalog of your university’s library
  • Google Scholar, JSTOR EBSCO Initiative Muse (social sciences and humanities)
  • Medline (biomedicine and life sciences)
  • Economics Lit (EconLit)
  • Inspec (computer science, engineering, and physics)

Always read the abstract to determine whether an article is pertinent to your query. If you find a book or article helpful, look through its bibliography to locate more pertinent sources.

Step 2 – Evaluate Sources Before Selection

Since you’ll probably not have time to read everything written on your subject, you must assess which sources are most pertinent to your research question.

For every article, consider the following:

  • Which issue or query does the author seek to answer?
  • What are the main ideas, and what definitions do they have?
  • Which theories, models, and techniques are most important?
  • Does the research employ novel techniques or well-established frameworks?
  • What are the study’s findings and conclusions?
  • What is the publication’s relationship to previous works in the field of study?
  • Does it support, expand upon, or contradict existing knowledge?
  • What are the study’s advantages and disadvantages?

Verify the sources’ reliability, and ensure you read any seminal research papers and important theories related to your area of study.

Our template can be used to condense and assess potential sources you are considering.

You should start writing as you’re reading. Take notes to include in your literature review later.

To prevent plagiarism, it’s critical to maintain track of your sources and include citations. Making an annotated bibliography, in which you gather all of the citation information and write a summary and analysis paragraph for every source, can be useful. This saves time later on and aids in remembering what you read.

Step 3 – Identify The Theme, Conflicts, and The Gap

Ensure you comprehend the connections and relationships between the sources you’ve read before organizing your literature review’s argument and structure. In light of what you’ve read and noted, you can search for:

  • Trends and patterns: do some strategies gain or lose popularity over time, whether in theory, technique, or outcomes?
  • Themes: What ideas or queries appear frequently in the literature?
  • Conflicts, disputes, and inconsistencies: where do sources diverge?
  • Important publications: Are there any noteworthy theories or research that altered the course of the field?
  • Gaps: What is the literature lacking? Exist any flaws that require attention?

This step will assist you in organising the structure of your literature review and, if necessary, demonstrate the ways in which your own study will advance current understanding.

Step 4 – Outline the Structure

A literature review’s body can be arranged in a variety of ways. You can incorporate multiple of these tactics into your literature review, contingent on its length.

  • The easiest method is to follow the topic’s evolution over time. If you decide to use this tactic, avoid summarising and listing your sources in chronological order.
  • Once you’ve identified some reoccurring themes, you can divide your literature review into smaller sections that focus on different facets of the subject.
  • You can compare the findings and conclusions that come from various approaches if your sources come from various fields or disciplines that employ a range of research techniques.
  • A theoretical framework frequently starts with a literature review. It can then be used to discuss different models, theories, and definitions of important ideas.

Step 5 – Start Writing the Literature Review

Your literature review should consist of an introduction, a main body, and a conclusion, just like any other academic work. Your literature review’s goal will determine what you include in each.

The introduction should make clear the literature review’s focus and goal. Depending on its length, you may want to divide the body of your literature review into subsections, using a subheading for each theme, era, or methodological approach. In the conclusion, you should highlight the importance of the main conclusions you have drawn from the literature.

Remember to carefully proofread your literature review before submitting it once you’ve finished writing and editing it.

Parting Thoughts

Do you still think writing a literature review is something very complicated? I am sure not. Follow this article thoroughly if you decide to write a literature review independently.