Writing a Stellar Literature Review: Tips and Tricks

A literature review is a standard part of the study process for anyone writing a research proposal, thesis or dissertation. However, many beginners find it difficult to know where to start, what to include and how to structure their work in an engaging way.

Posted: September 26th, 2022

A sequential strategy on how to write a stellar literature review essay from scratch

A literature review is a standard part of the study process for anyone writing a research proposal, thesis or dissertation. However, many beginners find it difficult to know where to start, what to include and how to structure their work in an engaging way. This sequential strategy will take you through all the steps required in order to write a stellar literature review paper.

What to include in a literature review

There are a number of key elements you must include in your literature review:

1. Definition and explanation of the problem

A detailed explanation of the research problem you are addressing. Provide some background to the issue and state clearly what your aims are for undertaking this study.

2. Review of related literature

This is one of the most important parts of your paper, so spend sufficient time getting it absolutely right! Your science teacher wants to see that you have done more than cut and paste from websites. You should critically review the literature, making sure you do not introduce any new data or ideas that have not been raised elsewhere. You need to let your readers know how your work fits into the current research landscape and what gaps exist in the literature that your work will attempt to fill.

3. State your objectives, goals and hypotheses.

Objectives and Hypothesis are the goals you wish to achieve when undertaking your study. Objectives are more general and present what you aim to accomplish in broad terms (for example, “To investigate whether pigeons demonstrate short-term memory”). These may be revised several times before you actually start your project. The hypothesis is an educated prediction about what you expect to happen in your study (for example, “I hypothesize that pigeons will demonstrate short-term memory when tested”). The hypothesis is the keystone of the experiment and it is important to be as objective as possible when formulating one. If your study fails, you need to go back to the drawing board and repeat this process!

4. Discussion

This is your opportunity to present the findings of your research in an engaging manner. You will need to address how well you have achieved your objectives and whether or not your hypothesis was confirmed. Remember that the literature review is a key part of what makes a good paper, so make sure you spend some time here crafting a strong argument and developing your written style.

5. Methodology (how you will carry out the research)

This in essence is the process of how one will carry out the research (e.g., how you will design your study, what steps or stages are involved, what equipment is needed). You should include details of the actual procedures used, including any ethical issues (i.e., informed consent and debriefing), materials required (such as questionnaires), and details of how to handle random assignment of participants.

6. Data collection, sources and type of data used to develop your argument

If you collect any data, whether through observations or experiments (or an interview), you will need to include details here. It is good practice to separate qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection, if applicable. You also need to say how many people participated in the study (if applicable) and how they were selected for this particular study. Be sure to include measures of central tendency (i.e., mean, median and mode for interval data) when appropriate.

7. Data analysis methods

The most meticulous researchers will spend time compiling their notes into a table or spreadsheet which then is used as the base for conducting numerical analysis. If your study does not involve any quantitative data or it is not appropriate to do numerical analysis, you need to say what form of qualitative research you used (e.g., focus groups). You should include details about recording techniques so the reader can understand the richness of your data.

8. Results

The results section should consist of a clear presentation of the findings in narrative form. This is where you introduce the data obtained, taking appropriate account of issues such as sampling method and research procedures. You should present your findings in a logical manner following the sequence of steps you went through in collecting your data. It may be best to include tables that are clear and easy to follow.

7. Summary, conclusion, and recommendation

This is the last section of the literature review and it should contain a brief summary of what you have discovered. You will then need to state whether your hypothesis was confirmed or not by the findings, and give an interpretation of why this may be so. Finally, there should be some kind words about any limitations associated with the study. It is important to appreciate the scope and context of

How to structure your paper

The introduction of a literature review should introduce the subject/problem and provide sufficient background information for readers who may not be familiar with the topic. The next section should contain a statement of your research question, hypothesis or purpose for conducting this study. This will then be followed by a brief literature review on the subject/problem at hand.

The methodology used in this study needs to be clearly described and how it relates to previous research studies carried out in this area should be discussed. It is also imperative to mention how this study relates to existing theories in the subject/problem area. This section may be organized into subsections that provide more specific details about your research design (e.g., sampling, measurement and data reduction).

The findings should be presented in a way that is easy for readers to follow and understand. Graphics such as tables and charts can enhance clarity when presenting numerical data. These should always be described so your reader will have a better understanding of what they mean without having to refer back to the methods used in the study. Take great care when interpreting data or making inferences from it because it is easy for findings from one study to appear conclusive while they actually are not due to problems with sampling methods or small sample.

how to prepare for a literature review effectively

The success of a literature review essay is very much dependent on the work you have done beforehand. This means that your plan plays an important role before you even start to write anything.

Before you start to write a literature review, keep these questions in mind:

1. What is the purpose of your study?

2. How is your study related to previous research?

3. What are the main theories associated with the subject/problem area?

4. Which aspects have been well researched and which have been neglected?

5. In what way does your literature review contribute new information to the existing knowledge base?

2. Who is going to read your paper and what background information have they already acquired?

3. What is relevant for this particular subject?

The next step will be extensive research followed by more thought on how to structure all the information you found into an easy-to-read article. You may want to use headings that are self-explanatory or responsive (i.e., if somebody clicks on what they think will be relevant, it actually relates to their query). It also helps if some pictures are included since people tend to remember many images better than a large amount of text.


The literature review is a valuable part of your research process. It will give you an opportunity to show off your extensive knowledge as well as provide an understanding as to why your study was conducted and how it fits into the wider picture of existing knowledge. Just remember, writing a good literature review takes time and effort but if done properly can be instrumental in helping you succeed in both your academic career and professional life. Looking for a perfectly done literature review? Pay someone to do your research paper. Feel free to order with us! A team of professional, reliable, and dedicated essay writers awaits to deliver a top-notch essay 100% free of plagiarism.



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