How to Write a Research Paper Literature Review

In the Academic and Literature spectrum, a literature review is extremely important. But what is it exactly? In simple terms, a literature review is an extensive report regarding specific information located based on the literature found in your particular subject of interest. Such a review usually evaluates, summarizes, and describes the given literature in question. Additionally, an APA literature review provides a basis for theoretical research and further assists you as the author to guide the direction of your research.

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What Is the Purpose and Importance of a Research Paper Literature Review?

A research paper literature review holds a lot of merit for the following reasons:

  • Provides a context for doing research. Literature reviews are helpful in that they provide a researcher an outline, as well as the context for carrying out a given research. Without this, the researcher is unable to carry out the research successfully.
  • Provides a justification for the research. For any research to take place, there must be a justification to carry out the research. That being said, writing a comprehensive literature review for research paper is a great way of proving that a particular subject needs to have credibility before it is executed.
  • Ensures that there is no duplication of the given research. Researchers write literature reviews and post them online to give other researchers a heads up that the particular study has already been carried out. This prevents other researchers from wasting their time conducting research that has already been done. Instead, they can pick up from where the previous researcher left off and improve the research in question.
  • Enables the researcher gain knowledge of previous theories of the given research. What is the best way to learn about a particular subject matter? By going through already researched information, of course! That being said, coming across a literature review example for research paper online is a great way for an individual to get started on collecting information for their research.
  • Gives a basis to show how the research has been carried out effectively. You can look at a literature review as an outline for the research that has been conducted. That’s because most literature reviews act as a summary of a particular subject matter.
  • Shows the mistakes and errors of a previous research for the more credible information. The great thing about a literature review is that because it acts as an outline for a research study, it can be a great way for another researcher to identify any mistakes that were done during the research.

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How Is a Literature Review Different from Your Regular Research Paper?

A research paper lit review is different from an academic research paper in that a research paper is normally written to come up with a new argument, and hence, it can contain a literature review within it. In fact, a review of literature can be used as an area where you as the researcher provide a brief insight into the study and what you plan to contribute to it. That being said, you can call the literature review a summary of your arguments, theses, and ideas without moving on to add new contributions to the content.

How Should One Go About Writing a Literature Review for Research Paper?

Writing a literature review for a research paper can be a daunting task especially if you don’t have a great walkthrough process. Keeping this in mind, here’s one workable process on how to write a lit review for a research paper.

In the event that you’ve been given a vague assignment by your professor, you should first clarify what you’re supposed to do by answering the following questions:

  • How many sources are you required to include in your literature review?
  • Will you be targeting primary or secondary sources such as websites, journal articles, or books?
  • Is your goal to critique, synthesize, or summarize the sources that you have gathered based on a common theme?
  • Are you required to undergo a source evaluation?
  • Are you required to provide additional information such as the history, background information, and subheadings of your sources?

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After having answered the aforementioned questions, you’ll be able to determine exactly what your literature review is all about.

  • Look for similar literature reviews online. The second phase is to look for identical or similar literature reviews online that touch on your area of interest and used them to develop concrete themes, get vital points, and help organize how to go about completing your literature review.
  • Narrow down on your subject of interest. After you have managed to determine some relevant sources to select, you can narrow down on sources that have a semblance to the subject matter or topic you are required to focus on.
  • Write the literature review. After you have narrowed down and compiled your sources, proceed on how to make a literature review for a research paper. You can start by first covering the basic topic, and then going deeper into the particular subject of interest.
  • Format, edit and proofread the content. After you have finished the review, don’t forget to edit, proofread, and format the content to ensure that the info received is perfect in the grammar department. Additionally, depending on the referencing style, you can format according to APA or MLA.

What Type of Literature Reviews Are out There to Be Written?

There are different types of literature reviews as follows:

  • Argumentative review – This is a type of review that studies literature in a selective manner in order to refute or support an argument, and more often than not, it is usually based on assumptions or a philosophical issue that is already determined in the field of literature. The purpose of such a literature review is to come up with a conclusive form of literature that can further develop a contrarian view of point. Because of the nature of some social sciences when it comes to research, such a review can be used to approach some categories of social science such as immigration control, immigration, and educational reform.
  • Integrative review – This kind of review synthesizes and critiques a research topic in an integrated way such that new perspectives and frameworks regarding a particular topic can be generated. Such a body of literature normally includes studies that relate to a given research problem. It is the most widely used type of research problem in the field of social sciences.
  • Methodological review – This type of review doesn’t necessarily focus on the findings, but rather the method of analysis that resulted in their particular findings.
  • Systematic review – This type of an example of a literature review for a research paper is used to summarize, evaluate and document on existing evidence that is tied to a formulated research question.
  • Theoretical review – A theoretical review is used to analyze the information that has accumulated due to a phenomenon, theory, or concept that has been formulated.

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Structure of a Literature Review

A literature review is divided into four particular stages which are as follows:

  • Problem formulation – what is the particular field that is being analyzed and what are its given structures?
  • Literature search – this is the process of discovering and collecting information that is tied to the subject matter in question.
  • Data evaluation – this is the analysis of the data collected and the process of figuring out what is tied to the topic for the better understanding of the topic in question.
  • Analysis and interpretation – this is the process of discussing the conclusions and findings that are tied to the topic for a deeper understanding.

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