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Literature Review Writing

As a part of dissertation writing, literature review is an extremely important element. It helps the writer prove that the research done is important and it deserves particular attention. Moreover, it performs instructional functions in cases when the audience is less aware of the topic under discussion than you are. On the contrary, if the readers know much about the specific topic, the aim of literature review is to show familiarity, intelligence and familiarity with the discussed question.

The following things have to be done in the process of literature review writing:

  • Make connection of your research with the existing literature on the given topic;
  • Explain the main elements that may relate to your topic;
  • Explain the relationship between the existing works and the one discussed by you;
  • Determine the shortcomings and gaps existing in the previous researches and offer a new insight into the problem;
  • Try to solve the contradictory issues discussed in the previous studies;
  • List sources that contribute to your own research and overall understanding of the topic;
  • Indicate possible ways for further research.

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Literature Review Content

In order to provide a high quality literature review, the writer must ensure that it is properly structured and the ideas are presented logically. Moreover, the sources used for your review must be up-to-date and relevant. Cite them according to the writing style that is required by the professor. Present your information in a comprehensive and unbiased manner.

The following content should be included in the review:

  • Overview of relevant theories, issues and subjects;
  • Make sure you divide the outside source into specific concepts and categories depending on what you intend to do: support or deny some position;
  • Make a reference to the works, which were written prior to your own research;
  • Pay attention of the readers to those works that made the greatest contribution to development and understanding of your research.

The following issues have to be taken into consideration when you are deciding on what works should be included in your literature review:

  • Credibility. Check if the book is credible enough and if the ideas of the author are convincing and supported by the evidences.
  • Qualification. Evaluate the credentials of the author to see if their judgments are true.
  • Neutrality. Is there any biases in the work of this particular author?
  • Value. Does the source add value to your research or not?

Remember that transitions between ideas should not only summarize them. Their main aim is to analyze, assess and synthesize the perspectives. Use the reporting verbs to express your opinion regarding works you deal with regardless of whether you support or deny the topic. They will help you convey whether the outside works should be taken considered as accepted or not. Reporting verbs indicate the following assessments:


The other important thing is presenting materials. This process should indicate that you:

  • Use and cite only relevant and reliable materials to support your argument;
  • Provide and integrate only those quotations that can be considered relevant for your review;
  • Use quotations that make sense in regard to the context of your paper;
  • Focuses on the proper language used in your literature review section.

Using quotations is an important element of literature review writing. Quotations show your intention to stress the important of your research, as well as to put emphasis on the message delivered by a specific author.

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Citations in your literature review can be of two types:

  1. Integral. The name of the author is used in the sentence you cite.
  2. Non-integral. The reference to the author is made in parenthesis or by the use of footnotes or endnotes.

Do not forget that your paper is not only about presentation of your own thoughts. It is a mixture of personal ideas, which are in the center of your writing, and demonstrations of examples from the existing sources, which prove the relevance of your research. Literature review is a section that connects previous and modern ideas on a specific subject.

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