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Published on May 30th, 2018 | by gareth


How to Write Your First Literature Review

Have you ever read a real literature review? Do you know how it looks like and what components it includes? How long is it and which questions does it cover?

In fact, most students don’t even know what literature reviews are when they get their writing assignment on this topic for the first time in their life. And that is okay. Despite the fact that a literature review is one of the most common assignments in both Britain and American universities, many people don’t know exactly the real purpose of it and the way to compose it, including it into the real papers. If you are also one of those students, keep reading. Today you are definitely going to know what a literature review is and how to write it in the best as well as easiest way possible.


Writing a Literature Review: Interesting Facts and New Approaches

First of all, a literature review is about reading and evaluating. By whom? Of course, by you. In order to start working on a review itself, you have to read a printed material and evaluate it from your own point of view. To make the most out of your review, you have a couple of approaches to choose from.

  • Author research. It is researching the background information about the author of the source. Who is he/she? Is he/she an expert in the field? What academic level does he/she have?
  • Source research. It is looking for the trusted sources like academic books, journals, articles, etc.

As we have already mentioned above, you start with a reading process. But this reading process includes more steps than just reading itself. While reading you have to ask yourself some critical questions. For example, who are the researchers? Do your findings support the research? How important is the research? After reading and answering the questions, along with making the notes, organize those materials in a logical way. You can do it by using different approaches too – by the period of the studies, by the authors, by the positions taken, by the method, and so on. Choose whatever fits you the most.

So, what is the main goal of any literature review? What are you going to accomplish with your writing? To make a long story short, let’s point out 2 major goals:

  • It establishes the information, which is already known about a concrete topic and the methods used for the research;
  • It helps you to position your research.



The main problem students face when writing a review is the number of the literature they need and the limitations they should go back with in reviewing that literature. It is difficult to provide a clear answer how much literature you’re going to need for this or that topic. You have just to figure it out, unless the professor does not require a specific number of sources, as so many topics have subtopics in addition, which also have to be explored for a research. What we recommend is to avoid too general topics when working on your assignment. If not, you’re risking getting stuck with the unlimited number of books and journals, which have to be read or looked through.

How to not get overwhelmed with the literature offered online or in the libraries? How to figure out that this or that particular source is reliable enough for your review? How to make sure that this one book from 289 offered will be specifically helpful for you on your topic particularly? First of all, let’s make it clear that you won’t be able to look through all the literature, especially if you have a broad topic. What we recommend is to look for the scholars firstly. Pick famous scholars and articles primarily. How to know the famous scholars in your topic? Just Google them. Here is where Google can really help with your project. Research the names of the scholars to know whether they are big players in this field or not. Search for the names of their articles, books, and projects.

One of the things that you have to understand clearly is that a literature review is not a separate essay or paper, which requires as much time as those assignments. Instead, a literature review is a part of your project. So, it should be perceived and composed as an essential part of your assignment without proving the main points of your topic. It is just the review of the sources on the topic you have.

About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”. He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show. He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.

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