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    How to Write a Literature Review for a Research Paper

    How to Write a Literature Review for a Research Paper

    Writing research is like putting many facades together to build one perfect structure.

    One of those facades is a literature review. It is the process of reviewing a prior paper on the relevant topic.

    The main reason for doing a literature review is to identify the literature gap, which leads to objectives and research questions. Therefore, it is important to conduct prior research from articles and journals present in Google Scholar and JSTOR. This is the section where you gain knowledge on different sides of the topic and begin your research writing to the fullest.

    Hence, you can look at the next section, where you can find out more about the steps to write a perfect literature review. But first,

    What is the Importance of a Literature Review?

    A literature review is instrumental in conducting research. It gives the base through which you can take turns to follow and make your research find a voice and identity to explore.

    Here are a few important of a literature review –

    • Measure the inconsistencies present in the previous research. This will help you find the gap and set your research objectives and questions.
    • Increases your knowledge on the subject. The in-depth analysis is key to developing a further understanding of the paper.
    • Paying due to credit to the previous research work who have worked hard to bring up the subject to relevance.
    • Identifying the need for additional research required for the topic to provide a better understanding of the subject.
    • Providing a core relationship between the work and the contribution of previous literature leading up to the topic.

    All of these reasons tell us how a literature review enhances your idea or conceptualization of the topic. This can lead to better research execution and create clear objectives and research questions.

    Steps to Write a Literature Review

    Here are a few steps to conduct a literature review that will broaden your understanding of the subject and its relevance in the present day –

    Step 1: Narrow Down Topics to Find Relevant Papers

    One of the very first things that you need to do is narrow down your topic. It means creating a microscopic theme of the subject you seek to follow. For example, if we take culture, there are different cultures, including the subculture, and all of them are relevant in the world.

    However, you need to narrow it down to find relevant research papers from which you can take relevant information. For this, you can visit Google Scholars and JSTOR, the store houses of books, research papers, and journals. Hence, you will get your relevant papers to broaden your concept and later pen it down in the paper.

    Step 2: Search for Literature

    The tricky part of the literature review is finding relevant papers to write from. As mentioned earlier, Google Scholar and JSTOR have vast amounts of articles. Hence, finding the right one for your paper is the trickiest part.

    If you have some SEO knowledge, you need to put it into action. This means you need to choose keywords that will give you the best articles to begin your research. Moreover, it is laborious work, as you have to go through every paper to see what’s in it. Therefore, be very careful about the keywords you choose to write from.

    Step 3: Reading the Articles

    After finding out the relevant articles, you need to start reading them. For a small research, at least 12 to 15 literature reviews are a must. So, your hard work starts once you get all the articles and begin evaluations.

    Even in that, there is a process that you should follow –

    • Methods and methodology they followed to conduct the research. It also includes testing procedures
    • Popular theories and how they have changed over time
    • Assumptions made by the researcher in the paper
    • Conflicting theories mentioned in the paper
    • Experts and labs mentioned frequently mentioned in the paper

    All of these things enable us to understand the core of the research. It will also help you put the testing procedures and methods into your research. So, read them well.

    Step 4: Organize the Papers to Create Subtopics

    After you read and write, it is time to organize the whole paper into subtopics. It is important to make subtopics to increase the relevancy of the literature review. Also, it put forth how to see and arrange the paper under small topics.

    Here is what you can do –

    • For theories, you can make one subtopic and put it under it for readers to find out.
    • Important trends happening under the topic in one
    • Lastly, have one section for common findings

    Once you develop the major themes in the literature review section, you can find the information to review and put forth a research gap statement at the end.

    Step 5: Writing the Paper

    After you have done all the hard work, it is time to summarize those articles in words. It includes research methods and results you found from the research. You can mention their assumptions mentioned in the paper. That way, you can have a compelling literature review paper.

    Here are a few things to note while writing the review –

    • Always write in the past tense. Try to use simple past to avoid increasing passive sentences in the writing
    • Always mention the authors at the start or the end of the sentence. For example, According to Sanchez, E & Ramires, E, 2014, said this and that. And at the end of a sentence, you put a bracket and include the citation (Sanchez, E & Ramires, E, 2014).
    • Don’t write by reading the abstract. Read the whole paper to better understand the topic.

    Lastly, end the writing with a research gap or inconsistency you found in the paper. It will surely make your literature review fruitful.

    At Last, Review Your Paper

    In the end, when everything is done and dusted, it is time to review the paper to see if there are any mistakes. It includes grammatical mistakes and typo-errors, and citation issues. So, read the whole section properly to deliver the best literature review writing.


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