Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Writing a Literature Review

OWL logo

Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

A literature review is a document or section of a document that collects key sources on a topic and discusses those sources in conversation with each other (also called synthesis ). The lit review is an important genre in many disciplines, not just literature (i.e., the study of works of literature such as novels and plays). When we say “literature review” or refer to “the literature,” we are talking about the research ( scholarship ) in a given field. You will often see the terms “the research,” “the scholarship,” and “the literature” used mostly interchangeably.

Where, when, and why would I write a lit review?

There are a number of different situations where you might write a literature review, each with slightly different expectations; different disciplines, too, have field-specific expectations for what a literature review is and does. For instance, in the humanities, authors might include more overt argumentation and interpretation of source material in their literature reviews, whereas in the sciences, authors are more likely to report study designs and results in their literature reviews; these differences reflect these disciplines’ purposes and conventions in scholarship. You should always look at examples from your own discipline and talk to professors or mentors in your field to be sure you understand your discipline’s conventions, for literature reviews as well as for any other genre.

A literature review can be a part of a research paper or scholarly article, usually falling after the introduction and before the research methods sections. In these cases, the lit review just needs to cover scholarship that is important to the issue you are writing about; sometimes it will also cover key sources that informed your research methodology.

Lit reviews can also be standalone pieces, either as assignments in a class or as publications. In a class, a lit review may be assigned to help students familiarize themselves with a topic and with scholarship in their field, get an idea of the other researchers working on the topic they’re interested in, find gaps in existing research in order to propose new projects, and/or develop a theoretical framework and methodology for later research. As a publication, a lit review usually is meant to help make other scholars’ lives easier by collecting and summarizing, synthesizing, and analyzing existing research on a topic. This can be especially helpful for students or scholars getting into a new research area, or for directing an entire community of scholars toward questions that have not yet been answered.

What are the parts of a lit review?

Most lit reviews use a basic introduction-body-conclusion structure; if your lit review is part of a larger paper, the introduction and conclusion pieces may be just a few sentences while you focus most of your attention on the body. If your lit review is a standalone piece, the introduction and conclusion take up more space and give you a place to discuss your goals, research methods, and conclusions separately from where you discuss the literature itself.

Introduction:

  • An introductory paragraph that explains what your working topic and thesis is
  • A forecast of key topics or texts that will appear in the review
  • Potentially, a description of how you found sources and how you analyzed them for inclusion and discussion in the review (more often found in published, standalone literature reviews than in lit review sections in an article or research paper)
  • Summarize and synthesize: Give an overview of the main points of each source and combine them into a coherent whole
  • Analyze and interpret: Don’t just paraphrase other researchers – add your own interpretations where possible, discussing the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole
  • Critically Evaluate: Mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources
  • Write in well-structured paragraphs: Use transition words and topic sentence to draw connections, comparisons, and contrasts.

Conclusion:

  • Summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance
  • Connect it back to your primary research question

How should I organize my lit review?

Lit reviews can take many different organizational patterns depending on what you are trying to accomplish with the review. Here are some examples:

  • Chronological : The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time, which helps familiarize the audience with the topic (for instance if you are introducing something that is not commonly known in your field). If you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order. Try to analyze the patterns, turning points, and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred (as mentioned previously, this may not be appropriate in your discipline — check with a teacher or mentor if you’re unsure).
  • Thematic : If you have found some recurring central themes that you will continue working with throughout your piece, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic. For example, if you are reviewing literature about women and religion, key themes can include the role of women in churches and the religious attitude towards women.
  • Qualitative versus quantitative research
  • Empirical versus theoretical scholarship
  • Divide the research by sociological, historical, or cultural sources
  • Theoretical : In many humanities articles, the literature review is the foundation for the theoretical framework. You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts. You can argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach or combine various theorical concepts to create a framework for your research.

What are some strategies or tips I can use while writing my lit review?

Any lit review is only as good as the research it discusses; make sure your sources are well-chosen and your research is thorough. Don’t be afraid to do more research if you discover a new thread as you’re writing. More info on the research process is available in our "Conducting Research" resources .

As you’re doing your research, create an annotated bibliography ( see our page on the this type of document ). Much of the information used in an annotated bibliography can be used also in a literature review, so you’ll be not only partially drafting your lit review as you research, but also developing your sense of the larger conversation going on among scholars, professionals, and any other stakeholders in your topic.

Usually you will need to synthesize research rather than just summarizing it. This means drawing connections between sources to create a picture of the scholarly conversation on a topic over time. Many student writers struggle to synthesize because they feel they don’t have anything to add to the scholars they are citing; here are some strategies to help you:

  • It often helps to remember that the point of these kinds of syntheses is to show your readers how you understand your research, to help them read the rest of your paper.
  • Writing teachers often say synthesis is like hosting a dinner party: imagine all your sources are together in a room, discussing your topic. What are they saying to each other?
  • Look at the in-text citations in each paragraph. Are you citing just one source for each paragraph? This usually indicates summary only. When you have multiple sources cited in a paragraph, you are more likely to be synthesizing them (not always, but often
  • Read more about synthesis here.

The most interesting literature reviews are often written as arguments (again, as mentioned at the beginning of the page, this is discipline-specific and doesn’t work for all situations). Often, the literature review is where you can establish your research as filling a particular gap or as relevant in a particular way. You have some chance to do this in your introduction in an article, but the literature review section gives a more extended opportunity to establish the conversation in the way you would like your readers to see it. You can choose the intellectual lineage you would like to be part of and whose definitions matter most to your thinking (mostly humanities-specific, but this goes for sciences as well). In addressing these points, you argue for your place in the conversation, which tends to make the lit review more compelling than a simple reporting of other sources.

Book cover

Mastering Your Dissertation pp 55–67 Cite as

How Do I Write an Introduction and Literature Review?

Introductions and Literature Reviews

  • Sue Reeves   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-3017-0559 3 &
  • Bartek Buczkowski   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-4146-3664 4  
  • First Online: 19 October 2023

175 Accesses

A well-crafted Introduction chapter can do a lot of the heavy lifting in a dissertation. This chapter is usually relatively short and snappy and starts with the broadest issue relevant to the study and ends with the research question and the aim. The Literature Review contains a structured, critical review of current information relevant to your research topic. This chapter will help you present the theoretical background to your study and help you consider and then develop the Methods that will be used for your dissertation.

  • Critical Writing
  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Literature search

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution .

Buying options

  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

CASP (2022) Critical appraisal skills programme checklists. https://casp-uk.net/casp-tools-checklists/ . Accessed 04 Oct 2022

Gall MD, Borg WR, Gall JP (1996) Educational research: an introduction, 6th edn. Longman Publishers USA, White Plains, N.Y. https://archive.org/details/educationalresea0000gall/page/n9/mode/2up . Accessed 04 Oct 2022

Google Scholar  

Manchester Metropolitan University Library (2022) Literature reviews. Manchester Metropolitan University. https://www.mmu.ac.uk/library/referencing-and-study-support/literature-reviews#ai-35659-0 . Accessed 04 Oct 2022

Further Reading

Cottrell S (2011) Critical thinking skills: developing effective analysis and argument, 2nd edn. Palgrave Macmillan (Palgrave study skills), Basingstoke, Hampshire

Book   Google Scholar  

Download references

Author information

Authors and affiliations.

University of Roehampton, London, UK

Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK

Bartek Buczkowski

You can also search for this author in PubMed   Google Scholar

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2023 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Cite this chapter.

Reeves, S., Buczkowski, B. (2023). How Do I Write an Introduction and Literature Review?. In: Mastering Your Dissertation. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-41911-9_6

Download citation

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-41911-9_6

Published : 19 October 2023

Publisher Name : Springer, Cham

Print ISBN : 978-3-031-41910-2

Online ISBN : 978-3-031-41911-9

eBook Packages : Biomedical and Life Sciences Biomedical and Life Sciences (R0)

Share this chapter

Anyone you share the following link with will be able to read this content:

Sorry, a shareable link is not currently available for this article.

Provided by the Springer Nature SharedIt content-sharing initiative

  • Publish with us

Policies and ethics

  • Find a journal
  • Track your research
  • UConn Library
  • Literature Review: The What, Why and How-to Guide
  • Introduction

Literature Review: The What, Why and How-to Guide — Introduction

  • Getting Started
  • How to Pick a Topic
  • Strategies to Find Sources
  • Evaluating Sources & Lit. Reviews
  • Tips for Writing Literature Reviews
  • Writing Literature Review: Useful Sites
  • Citation Resources
  • Other Academic Writings

What are Literature Reviews?

So, what is a literature review? "A literature review is an account of what has been published on a topic by accredited scholars and researchers. In writing the literature review, your purpose is to convey to your reader what knowledge and ideas have been established on a topic, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. As a piece of writing, the literature review must be defined by a guiding concept (e.g., your research objective, the problem or issue you are discussing, or your argumentative thesis). It is not just a descriptive list of the material available, or a set of summaries." Taylor, D.  The literature review: A few tips on conducting it . University of Toronto Health Sciences Writing Centre.

Goals of Literature Reviews

What are the goals of creating a Literature Review?  A literature could be written to accomplish different aims:

  • To develop a theory or evaluate an existing theory
  • To summarize the historical or existing state of a research topic
  • Identify a problem in a field of research 

Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1997). Writing narrative literature reviews .  Review of General Psychology , 1 (3), 311-320.

What kinds of sources require a Literature Review?

  • A research paper assigned in a course
  • A thesis or dissertation
  • A grant proposal
  • An article intended for publication in a journal

All these instances require you to collect what has been written about your research topic so that you can demonstrate how your own research sheds new light on the topic.

Types of Literature Reviews

What kinds of literature reviews are written?

Narrative review: The purpose of this type of review is to describe the current state of the research on a specific topic/research and to offer a critical analysis of the literature reviewed. Studies are grouped by research/theoretical categories, and themes and trends, strengths and weakness, and gaps are identified. The review ends with a conclusion section which summarizes the findings regarding the state of the research of the specific study, the gaps identify and if applicable, explains how the author's research will address gaps identify in the review and expand the knowledge on the topic reviewed.

  • Example : Predictors and Outcomes of U.S. Quality Maternity Leave: A Review and Conceptual Framework:  10.1177/08948453211037398  

Systematic review : "The authors of a systematic review use a specific procedure to search the research literature, select the studies to include in their review, and critically evaluate the studies they find." (p. 139). Nelson, L. K. (2013). Research in Communication Sciences and Disorders . Plural Publishing.

  • Example : The effect of leave policies on increasing fertility: a systematic review:  10.1057/s41599-022-01270-w

Meta-analysis : "Meta-analysis is a method of reviewing research findings in a quantitative fashion by transforming the data from individual studies into what is called an effect size and then pooling and analyzing this information. The basic goal in meta-analysis is to explain why different outcomes have occurred in different studies." (p. 197). Roberts, M. C., & Ilardi, S. S. (2003). Handbook of Research Methods in Clinical Psychology . Blackwell Publishing.

  • Example : Employment Instability and Fertility in Europe: A Meta-Analysis:  10.1215/00703370-9164737

Meta-synthesis : "Qualitative meta-synthesis is a type of qualitative study that uses as data the findings from other qualitative studies linked by the same or related topic." (p.312). Zimmer, L. (2006). Qualitative meta-synthesis: A question of dialoguing with texts .  Journal of Advanced Nursing , 53 (3), 311-318.

  • Example : Women’s perspectives on career successes and barriers: A qualitative meta-synthesis:  10.1177/05390184221113735

Literature Reviews in the Health Sciences

  • UConn Health subject guide on systematic reviews Explanation of the different review types used in health sciences literature as well as tools to help you find the right review type
  • << Previous: Getting Started
  • Next: How to Pick a Topic >>
  • Last Updated: Sep 21, 2022 2:16 PM
  • URL: https://guides.lib.uconn.edu/literaturereview

Creative Commons

Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, automatically generate references for free.

  • Knowledge Base
  • Dissertation
  • What is a Literature Review? | Guide, Template, & Examples

What is a Literature Review? | Guide, Template, & Examples

Published on 22 February 2022 by Shona McCombes . Revised on 7 June 2022.

What is a literature review? A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources on a specific topic. It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research.

There are five key steps to writing a literature review:

  • Search for relevant literature
  • Evaluate sources
  • Identify themes, debates and gaps
  • Outline the structure
  • Write your literature review

A good literature review doesn’t just summarise sources – it analyses, synthesises, and critically evaluates to give a clear picture of the state of knowledge on the subject.

Instantly correct all language mistakes in your text

Be assured that you'll submit flawless writing. Upload your document to correct all your mistakes.

upload-your-document-ai-proofreader

Table of contents

Why write a literature review, examples of literature reviews, step 1: search for relevant literature, step 2: evaluate and select sources, step 3: identify themes, debates and gaps, step 4: outline your literature review’s structure, step 5: write your literature review, frequently asked questions about literature reviews, introduction.

  • Quick Run-through
  • Step 1 & 2

When you write a dissertation or thesis, you will have to conduct a literature review to situate your research within existing knowledge. The literature review gives you a chance to:

  • Demonstrate your familiarity with the topic and scholarly context
  • Develop a theoretical framework and methodology for your research
  • Position yourself in relation to other researchers and theorists
  • Show how your dissertation addresses a gap or contributes to a debate

You might also have to write a literature review as a stand-alone assignment. In this case, the purpose is to evaluate the current state of research and demonstrate your knowledge of scholarly debates around a topic.

The content will look slightly different in each case, but the process of conducting a literature review follows the same steps. We’ve written a step-by-step guide that you can follow below.

Literature review guide

Prevent plagiarism, run a free check.

Writing literature reviews can be quite challenging! A good starting point could be to look at some examples, depending on what kind of literature review you’d like to write.

  • Example literature review #1: “Why Do People Migrate? A Review of the Theoretical Literature” ( Theoretical literature review about the development of economic migration theory from the 1950s to today.)
  • Example literature review #2: “Literature review as a research methodology: An overview and guidelines” ( Methodological literature review about interdisciplinary knowledge acquisition and production.)
  • Example literature review #3: “The Use of Technology in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Thematic literature review about the effects of technology on language acquisition.)
  • Example literature review #4: “Learners’ Listening Comprehension Difficulties in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Chronological literature review about how the concept of listening skills has changed over time.)

You can also check out our templates with literature review examples and sample outlines at the links below.

Download Word doc Download Google doc

Before you begin searching for literature, you need a clearly defined topic .

If you are writing the literature review section of a dissertation or research paper, you will search for literature related to your research objectives and questions .

If you are writing a literature review as a stand-alone assignment, you will have to choose a focus and develop a central question to direct your search. Unlike a dissertation research question, this question has to be answerable without collecting original data. You should be able to answer it based only on a review of existing publications.

Make a list of keywords

Start by creating a list of keywords related to your research topic. Include each of the key concepts or variables you’re interested in, and list any synonyms and related terms. You can add to this list if you discover new keywords in the process of your literature search.

  • Social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok
  • Body image, self-perception, self-esteem, mental health
  • Generation Z, teenagers, adolescents, youth

Search for relevant sources

Use your keywords to begin searching for sources. Some databases to search for journals and articles include:

  • Your university’s library catalogue
  • Google Scholar
  • Project Muse (humanities and social sciences)
  • Medline (life sciences and biomedicine)
  • EconLit (economics)
  • Inspec (physics, engineering and computer science)

You can use boolean operators to help narrow down your search:

Read the abstract to find out whether an article is relevant to your question. When you find a useful book or article, you can check the bibliography to find other relevant sources.

To identify the most important publications on your topic, take note of recurring citations. If the same authors, books or articles keep appearing in your reading, make sure to seek them out.

You probably won’t be able to read absolutely everything that has been written on the topic – you’ll have to evaluate which sources are most relevant to your questions.

For each publication, ask yourself:

  • What question or problem is the author addressing?
  • What are the key concepts and how are they defined?
  • What are the key theories, models and methods? Does the research use established frameworks or take an innovative approach?
  • What are the results and conclusions of the study?
  • How does the publication relate to other literature in the field? Does it confirm, add to, or challenge established knowledge?
  • How does the publication contribute to your understanding of the topic? What are its key insights and arguments?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the research?

Make sure the sources you use are credible, and make sure you read any landmark studies and major theories in your field of research.

You can find out how many times an article has been cited on Google Scholar – a high citation count means the article has been influential in the field, and should certainly be included in your literature review.

The scope of your review will depend on your topic and discipline: in the sciences you usually only review recent literature, but in the humanities you might take a long historical perspective (for example, to trace how a concept has changed in meaning over time).

Remember that you can use our template to summarise and evaluate sources you’re thinking about using!

Take notes and cite your sources

As you read, you should also begin the writing process. Take notes that you can later incorporate into the text of your literature review.

It’s important to keep track of your sources with references to avoid plagiarism . It can be helpful to make an annotated bibliography, where you compile full reference information and write a paragraph of summary and analysis for each source. This helps you remember what you read and saves time later in the process.

You can use our free APA Reference Generator for quick, correct, consistent citations.

The only proofreading tool specialized in correcting academic writing

The academic proofreading tool has been trained on 1000s of academic texts and by native English editors. Making it the most accurate and reliable proofreading tool for students.

how to write introduction and literature review in thesis

Correct my document today

To begin organising your literature review’s argument and structure, you need to understand the connections and relationships between the sources you’ve read. Based on your reading and notes, you can look for:

  • Trends and patterns (in theory, method or results): do certain approaches become more or less popular over time?
  • Themes: what questions or concepts recur across the literature?
  • Debates, conflicts and contradictions: where do sources disagree?
  • Pivotal publications: are there any influential theories or studies that changed the direction of the field?
  • Gaps: what is missing from the literature? Are there weaknesses that need to be addressed?

This step will help you work out the structure of your literature review and (if applicable) show how your own research will contribute to existing knowledge.

  • Most research has focused on young women.
  • There is an increasing interest in the visual aspects of social media.
  • But there is still a lack of robust research on highly-visual platforms like Instagram and Snapchat – this is a gap that you could address in your own research.

There are various approaches to organising the body of a literature review. You should have a rough idea of your strategy before you start writing.

Depending on the length of your literature review, you can combine several of these strategies (for example, your overall structure might be thematic, but each theme is discussed chronologically).

Chronological

The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time. However, if you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarising sources in order.

Try to analyse patterns, turning points and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred.

If you have found some recurring central themes, you can organise your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic.

For example, if you are reviewing literature about inequalities in migrant health outcomes, key themes might include healthcare policy, language barriers, cultural attitudes, legal status, and economic access.

Methodological

If you draw your sources from different disciplines or fields that use a variety of research methods , you might want to compare the results and conclusions that emerge from different approaches. For example:

  • Look at what results have emerged in qualitative versus quantitative research
  • Discuss how the topic has been approached by empirical versus theoretical scholarship
  • Divide the literature into sociological, historical, and cultural sources

Theoretical

A literature review is often the foundation for a theoretical framework . You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts.

You might argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach, or combine various theoretical concepts to create a framework for your research.

Like any other academic text, your literature review should have an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion . What you include in each depends on the objective of your literature review.

The introduction should clearly establish the focus and purpose of the literature review.

If you are writing the literature review as part of your dissertation or thesis, reiterate your central problem or research question and give a brief summary of the scholarly context. You can emphasise the timeliness of the topic (“many recent studies have focused on the problem of x”) or highlight a gap in the literature (“while there has been much research on x, few researchers have taken y into consideration”).

Depending on the length of your literature review, you might want to divide the body into subsections. You can use a subheading for each theme, time period, or methodological approach.

As you write, make sure to follow these tips:

  • Summarise and synthesise: give an overview of the main points of each source and combine them into a coherent whole.
  • Analyse and interpret: don’t just paraphrase other researchers – add your own interpretations, discussing the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole.
  • Critically evaluate: mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources.
  • Write in well-structured paragraphs: use transitions and topic sentences to draw connections, comparisons and contrasts.

In the conclusion, you should summarise the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasise their significance.

If the literature review is part of your dissertation or thesis, reiterate how your research addresses gaps and contributes new knowledge, or discuss how you have drawn on existing theories and methods to build a framework for your research. This can lead directly into your methodology section.

A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources (such as books, journal articles, and theses) related to a specific topic or research question .

It is often written as part of a dissertation , thesis, research paper , or proposal .

There are several reasons to conduct a literature review at the beginning of a research project:

  • To familiarise yourself with the current state of knowledge on your topic
  • To ensure that you’re not just repeating what others have already done
  • To identify gaps in knowledge and unresolved problems that your research can address
  • To develop your theoretical framework and methodology
  • To provide an overview of the key findings and debates on the topic

Writing the literature review shows your reader how your work relates to existing research and what new insights it will contribute.

The literature review usually comes near the beginning of your  dissertation . After the introduction , it grounds your research in a scholarly field and leads directly to your theoretical framework or methodology .

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the ‘Cite this Scribbr article’ button to automatically add the citation to our free Reference Generator.

McCombes, S. (2022, June 07). What is a Literature Review? | Guide, Template, & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved 15 February 2024, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/thesis-dissertation/literature-review/

Is this article helpful?

Shona McCombes

Shona McCombes

Other students also liked, how to write a dissertation proposal | a step-by-step guide, what is a theoretical framework | a step-by-step guide, what is a research methodology | steps & tips.

Reference management. Clean and simple.

How to write a literature review in 6 steps

Literature review for thesis

What is a literature review?

How to write a literature review, 1. determine the purpose of your literature review, 2. do an extensive search, 3. evaluate and select literature, 4. analyze the literature, 5. plan the structure of your literature review, 6. write your literature review, other resources to help you write a successful literature review, frequently asked questions about writing a literature review, related articles.

A literature review is an assessment of the sources in a chosen topic of research.

A good literature review does not just summarize sources. It analyzes the state of the field on a given topic and creates a scholarly foundation for you to make your own intervention. It demonstrates to your readers how your research fits within a larger field of study.

In a thesis, a literature review is part of the introduction, but it can also be a separate section. In research papers, a literature review may have its own section or it may be integrated into the introduction, depending on the field.

➡️ Our guide on what is a literature review covers additional basics about literature reviews.

  • Identify the main purpose of the literature review.
  • Do extensive research.
  • Evaluate and select relevant sources.
  • Analyze the sources.
  • Plan a structure.
  • Write the review.

In this section, we review each step of the process of creating a literature review.

In the first step, make sure you know specifically what the assignment is and what form your literature review should take. Read your assignment carefully and seek clarification from your professor or instructor if needed. You should be able to answer the following questions:

  • How many sources do I need to include?
  • What types of sources should I review?
  • Should I evaluate the sources?
  • Should I summarize, synthesize or critique sources?
  • Do I need to provide any definitions or background information?

In addition to that, be aware that the narrower your topic, the easier it will be to limit the number of sources you need to read in order to get a good overview of the topic.

Now you need to find out what has been written on the topic and search for literature related to your research topic. Make sure to select appropriate source material, which means using academic or scholarly sources , including books, reports, journal articles , government documents and web resources.

➡️ If you’re unsure about how to tell if a source is scholarly, take a look at our guide on how to identify a scholarly source .

Come up with a list of relevant keywords and then start your search with your institution's library catalog, and extend it to other useful databases and academic search engines like:

  • Google Scholar
  • Science.gov

➡️ Our guide on how to collect data for your thesis might be helpful at this stage of your research as well as the top list of academic search engines .

Once you find a useful article, check out the reference list. It should provide you with even more relevant sources. Also, keep a note of the:

  • authors' names
  • page numbers

Keeping track of the bibliographic information for each source will save you time when you’re ready to create citations. You could also use a reference manager like Paperpile to automatically save, manage, and cite your references.

Paperpile reference manager

Read the literature. You will most likely not be able to read absolutely everything that is out there on the topic. Therefore, read the abstract first to determine whether the rest of the source is worth your time. If the source is relevant for your topic:

  • Read it critically.
  • Look for the main arguments.
  • Take notes as you read.
  • Organize your notes using a table, mind map, or other technique.

Now you are ready to analyze the literature you have gathered. While your are working on your analysis, you should ask the following questions:

  • What are the key terms, concepts and problems addressed by the author?
  • How is this source relevant for my specific topic?
  • How is the article structured? What are the major trends and findings?
  • What are the conclusions of the study?
  • How are the results presented? Is the source credible?
  • When comparing different sources, how do they relate to each other? What are the similarities, what are the differences?
  • Does the study help me understand the topic better?
  • Are there any gaps in the research that need to be filled? How can I further my research as a result of the review?

Tip: Decide on the structure of your literature review before you start writing.

There are various ways to organize your literature review:

  • Chronological method : Writing in the chronological method means you are presenting the materials according to when they were published. Follow this approach only if a clear path of research can be identified.
  • Thematic review : A thematic review of literature is organized around a topic or issue, rather than the progression of time.
  • Publication-based : You can order your sources by publication, if the way you present the order of your sources demonstrates a more important trend. This is the case when a progression revealed from study to study and the practices of researchers have changed and adapted due to the new revelations.
  • Methodological approach : A methodological approach focuses on the methods used by the researcher. If you have used sources from different disciplines that use a variety of research methods, you might want to compare the results in light of the different methods and discuss how the topic has been approached from different sides.

Regardless of the structure you chose, a review should always include the following three sections:

  • An introduction, which should give the reader an outline of why you are writing the review and explain the relevance of the topic.
  • A body, which divides your literature review into different sections. Write in well-structured paragraphs, use transitions and topic sentences and critically analyze each source for how it contributes to the themes you are researching.
  • A conclusion , which summarizes the key findings, the main agreements and disagreements in the literature, your overall perspective, and any gaps or areas for further research.

➡️ If your literature review is part of a longer paper, visit our guide on what is a research paper for additional tips.

➡️ UNC writing center: Literature reviews

➡️ How to write a literature review in 3 steps

➡️ How to write a literature review in 30 minutes or less

The goal of a literature review is to asses the state of the field on a given topic in preparation for making an intervention.

A literature review should have its own independent section. You should indicate clearly in the table of contents where it can be found, and address this section as “Literature Review.”

There is no set amount of words for a literature review; the length depends on the research. If you are working with a large amount of sources, then it will be long. If your paper does not depend entirely on references, then it will be short.

Most research papers include a literature review. By assessing the available sources in your field of research, you will be able to make a more confident argument about the topic.

Literature reviews are most commonly found in theses and dissertations. However, you find them in research papers as well.

how to write introduction and literature review in thesis

Logo for Open Library Publishing Platform

Want to create or adapt books like this? Learn more about how Pressbooks supports open publishing practices.

14 Writing a Literature Review: Introduction

Often the place where thesis students embark on their writing journey, the literature review is also the section where students can struggle the most.

What is a literature review?

A literature review provides an overview of the relevant work that has been done in a field and can be presented in a separate chapter in a traditional thesis, or as a section near the beginning of each publishable paper in a sandwich thesis.

The introduction chapter of a sandwich thesis may also contain a literature review that is broader in scope than those of the individual papers included.

The review of literature is a significant portion of most academic writing, as it orients both the researcher and the reader to what research has been done in an area to date (so as to avoid “re-inventing the wheel”), and also highlights gaps in current knowledge that the present research will seek to address. Literature reviews also indicate that the researcher is knowledgeable in their field, being an active member and participant in it. [1]

According to Kamler and Thomson (2006), there are six key tasks that must be accomplished by a literature review, as illustrated in the following poster. [2]

Poster depicting 6 key tasks of a literature review with text description below.

Why is writing the literature review so often a challenge?

The concept of “the literature review” itself is likely intimidating for graduate students, in part, because of the connotations the different parts of this title evoke when placed together.  First, “the” erroneously signifies that your literature review is one standalone thing, as opposed to something that is integrated and referred to throughout the entire thesis or article. A literature review should not simply be a separate piece completed at the beginning of the research/writing process and then only marginally edited at the end.

Second, the statement “the literature” also carries a potentially intimidating air about it. Literature signifies something of high culture and pretentious importance – impossible to attain, broad in scope, and just frustratingly out of reach.

Finally, “review” gives off the assumption that the reviewer is in the position of a passive audience member who looks on from the outside at all that is going on in the “literature” – not much activity or agency in this positioning.

Types of literature reviews

According to Arlene Fink (2014) in “Conducting Research Literature Reviews”, a literature review surveys books, scholarly articles, and any other sources relevant to a particular issue, area of research, or theory, and by doing so, provides a description, summary, and critical evaluation of these works in relation to the research problem being investigated. Literature reviews are designed to provide an overview of sources you have explored while researching a particular topic and to demonstrate to your readers how your research fits within a larger field of study.

The following table provides a comparison of the types of literature reviews you may encounter as a graduate student. [3]

Table 1: Types of literature reviews based on research approach

  • Christine B. Feak and John M. Swales, Telling a Research Story: Writing a Literature Review (Michigan: The University of Michigan Press, 2009). ↵
  • Barbara Kamler and Pat Thomson, Helping Doctoral Students Write: Pedagogies for Supervision (London: Routledge, 2006). ↵
  • Maria Grant and Andrew Booth, “A typology of reviews: An analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies,” Health Information and Libraries Journal 26.2 (2009): 91-108. ↵

McMaster University's Graduate Thesis Toolkit Copyright © 2021 by McMaster University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book

Grad Coach

How To Write An A-Grade Literature Review

3 straightforward steps (with examples) + free template.

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) | Expert Reviewed By: Dr. Eunice Rautenbach | October 2019

Quality research is about building onto the existing work of others , “standing on the shoulders of giants”, as Newton put it. The literature review chapter of your dissertation, thesis or research project is where you synthesise this prior work and lay the theoretical foundation for your own research.

Long story short, this chapter is a pretty big deal, which is why you want to make sure you get it right . In this post, I’ll show you exactly how to write a literature review in three straightforward steps, so you can conquer this vital chapter (the smart way).

Overview: The Literature Review Process

  • Understanding the “ why “
  • Finding the relevant literature
  • Cataloguing and synthesising the information
  • Outlining & writing up your literature review
  • Example of a literature review

But first, the “why”…

Before we unpack how to write the literature review chapter, we’ve got to look at the why . To put it bluntly, if you don’t understand the function and purpose of the literature review process, there’s no way you can pull it off well. So, what exactly is the purpose of the literature review?

Well, there are (at least) four core functions:

  • For you to gain an understanding (and demonstrate this understanding) of where the research is at currently, what the key arguments and disagreements are.
  • For you to identify the gap(s) in the literature and then use this as justification for your own research topic.
  • To help you build a conceptual framework for empirical testing (if applicable to your research topic).
  • To inform your methodological choices and help you source tried and tested questionnaires (for interviews ) and measurement instruments (for surveys ).

Most students understand the first point but don’t give any thought to the rest. To get the most from the literature review process, you must keep all four points front of mind as you review the literature (more on this shortly), or you’ll land up with a wonky foundation.

Okay – with the why out the way, let’s move on to the how . As mentioned above, writing your literature review is a process, which I’ll break down into three steps:

  • Finding the most suitable literature
  • Understanding , distilling and organising the literature
  • Planning and writing up your literature review chapter

Importantly, you must complete steps one and two before you start writing up your chapter. I know it’s very tempting, but don’t try to kill two birds with one stone and write as you read. You’ll invariably end up wasting huge amounts of time re-writing and re-shaping, or you’ll just land up with a disjointed, hard-to-digest mess . Instead, you need to read first and distil the information, then plan and execute the writing.

Free Webinar: Literature Review 101

Step 1: Find the relevant literature

Naturally, the first step in the literature review journey is to hunt down the existing research that’s relevant to your topic. While you probably already have a decent base of this from your research proposal , you need to expand on this substantially in the dissertation or thesis itself.

Essentially, you need to be looking for any existing literature that potentially helps you answer your research question (or develop it, if that’s not yet pinned down). There are numerous ways to find relevant literature, but I’ll cover my top four tactics here. I’d suggest combining all four methods to ensure that nothing slips past you:

Method 1 – Google Scholar Scrubbing

Google’s academic search engine, Google Scholar , is a great starting point as it provides a good high-level view of the relevant journal articles for whatever keyword you throw at it. Most valuably, it tells you how many times each article has been cited, which gives you an idea of how credible (or at least, popular) it is. Some articles will be free to access, while others will require an account, which brings us to the next method.

Method 2 – University Database Scrounging

Generally, universities provide students with access to an online library, which provides access to many (but not all) of the major journals.

So, if you find an article using Google Scholar that requires paid access (which is quite likely), search for that article in your university’s database – if it’s listed there, you’ll have access. Note that, generally, the search engine capabilities of these databases are poor, so make sure you search for the exact article name, or you might not find it.

Method 3 – Journal Article Snowballing

At the end of every academic journal article, you’ll find a list of references. As with any academic writing, these references are the building blocks of the article, so if the article is relevant to your topic, there’s a good chance a portion of the referenced works will be too. Do a quick scan of the titles and see what seems relevant, then search for the relevant ones in your university’s database.

Method 4 – Dissertation Scavenging

Similar to Method 3 above, you can leverage other students’ dissertations. All you have to do is skim through literature review chapters of existing dissertations related to your topic and you’ll find a gold mine of potential literature. Usually, your university will provide you with access to previous students’ dissertations, but you can also find a much larger selection in the following databases:

  • Open Access Theses & Dissertations
  • Stanford SearchWorks

Keep in mind that dissertations and theses are not as academically sound as published, peer-reviewed journal articles (because they’re written by students, not professionals), so be sure to check the credibility of any sources you find using this method. You can do this by assessing the citation count of any given article in Google Scholar. If you need help with assessing the credibility of any article, or with finding relevant research in general, you can chat with one of our Research Specialists .

Alright – with a good base of literature firmly under your belt, it’s time to move onto the next step.

Need a helping hand?

how to write introduction and literature review in thesis

Step 2: Log, catalogue and synthesise

Once you’ve built a little treasure trove of articles, it’s time to get reading and start digesting the information – what does it all mean?

While I present steps one and two (hunting and digesting) as sequential, in reality, it’s more of a back-and-forth tango – you’ll read a little , then have an idea, spot a new citation, or a new potential variable, and then go back to searching for articles. This is perfectly natural – through the reading process, your thoughts will develop , new avenues might crop up, and directional adjustments might arise. This is, after all, one of the main purposes of the literature review process (i.e. to familiarise yourself with the current state of research in your field).

As you’re working through your treasure chest, it’s essential that you simultaneously start organising the information. There are three aspects to this:

  • Logging reference information
  • Building an organised catalogue
  • Distilling and synthesising the information

I’ll discuss each of these below:

2.1 – Log the reference information

As you read each article, you should add it to your reference management software. I usually recommend Mendeley for this purpose (see the Mendeley 101 video below), but you can use whichever software you’re comfortable with. Most importantly, make sure you load EVERY article you read into your reference manager, even if it doesn’t seem very relevant at the time.

2.2 – Build an organised catalogue

In the beginning, you might feel confident that you can remember who said what, where, and what their main arguments were. Trust me, you won’t. If you do a thorough review of the relevant literature (as you must!), you’re going to read many, many articles, and it’s simply impossible to remember who said what, when, and in what context . Also, without the bird’s eye view that a catalogue provides, you’ll miss connections between various articles, and have no view of how the research developed over time. Simply put, it’s essential to build your own catalogue of the literature.

I would suggest using Excel to build your catalogue, as it allows you to run filters, colour code and sort – all very useful when your list grows large (which it will). How you lay your spreadsheet out is up to you, but I’d suggest you have the following columns (at minimum):

  • Author, date, title – Start with three columns containing this core information. This will make it easy for you to search for titles with certain words, order research by date, or group by author.
  • Categories or keywords – You can either create multiple columns, one for each category/theme and then tick the relevant categories, or you can have one column with keywords.
  • Key arguments/points – Use this column to succinctly convey the essence of the article, the key arguments and implications thereof for your research.
  • Context – Note the socioeconomic context in which the research was undertaken. For example, US-based, respondents aged 25-35, lower- income, etc. This will be useful for making an argument about gaps in the research.
  • Methodology – Note which methodology was used and why. Also, note any issues you feel arise due to the methodology. Again, you can use this to make an argument about gaps in the research.
  • Quotations – Note down any quoteworthy lines you feel might be useful later.
  • Notes – Make notes about anything not already covered. For example, linkages to or disagreements with other theories, questions raised but unanswered, shortcomings or limitations, and so forth.

If you’d like, you can try out our free catalog template here (see screenshot below).

Excel literature review template

2.3 – Digest and synthesise

Most importantly, as you work through the literature and build your catalogue, you need to synthesise all the information in your own mind – how does it all fit together? Look for links between the various articles and try to develop a bigger picture view of the state of the research. Some important questions to ask yourself are:

  • What answers does the existing research provide to my own research questions ?
  • Which points do the researchers agree (and disagree) on?
  • How has the research developed over time?
  • Where do the gaps in the current research lie?

To help you develop a big-picture view and synthesise all the information, you might find mind mapping software such as Freemind useful. Alternatively, if you’re a fan of physical note-taking, investing in a large whiteboard might work for you.

Mind mapping is a useful way to plan your literature review.

Step 3: Outline and write it up!

Once you’re satisfied that you have digested and distilled all the relevant literature in your mind, it’s time to put pen to paper (or rather, fingers to keyboard). There are two steps here – outlining and writing:

3.1 – Draw up your outline

Having spent so much time reading, it might be tempting to just start writing up without a clear structure in mind. However, it’s critically important to decide on your structure and develop a detailed outline before you write anything. Your literature review chapter needs to present a clear, logical and an easy to follow narrative – and that requires some planning. Don’t try to wing it!

Naturally, you won’t always follow the plan to the letter, but without a detailed outline, you’re more than likely going to end up with a disjointed pile of waffle , and then you’re going to spend a far greater amount of time re-writing, hacking and patching. The adage, “measure twice, cut once” is very suitable here.

In terms of structure, the first decision you’ll have to make is whether you’ll lay out your review thematically (into themes) or chronologically (by date/period). The right choice depends on your topic, research objectives and research questions, which we discuss in this article .

Once that’s decided, you need to draw up an outline of your entire chapter in bullet point format. Try to get as detailed as possible, so that you know exactly what you’ll cover where, how each section will connect to the next, and how your entire argument will develop throughout the chapter. Also, at this stage, it’s a good idea to allocate rough word count limits for each section, so that you can identify word count problems before you’ve spent weeks or months writing!

PS – check out our free literature review chapter template…

3.2 – Get writing

With a detailed outline at your side, it’s time to start writing up (finally!). At this stage, it’s common to feel a bit of writer’s block and find yourself procrastinating under the pressure of finally having to put something on paper. To help with this, remember that the objective of the first draft is not perfection – it’s simply to get your thoughts out of your head and onto paper, after which you can refine them. The structure might change a little, the word count allocations might shift and shuffle, and you might add or remove a section – that’s all okay. Don’t worry about all this on your first draft – just get your thoughts down on paper.

start writing

Once you’ve got a full first draft (however rough it may be), step away from it for a day or two (longer if you can) and then come back at it with fresh eyes. Pay particular attention to the flow and narrative – does it fall fit together and flow from one section to another smoothly? Now’s the time to try to improve the linkage from each section to the next, tighten up the writing to be more concise, trim down word count and sand it down into a more digestible read.

Once you’ve done that, give your writing to a friend or colleague who is not a subject matter expert and ask them if they understand the overall discussion. The best way to assess this is to ask them to explain the chapter back to you. This technique will give you a strong indication of which points were clearly communicated and which weren’t. If you’re working with Grad Coach, this is a good time to have your Research Specialist review your chapter.

Finally, tighten it up and send it off to your supervisor for comment. Some might argue that you should be sending your work to your supervisor sooner than this (indeed your university might formally require this), but in my experience, supervisors are extremely short on time (and often patience), so, the more refined your chapter is, the less time they’ll waste on addressing basic issues (which you know about already) and the more time they’ll spend on valuable feedback that will increase your mark-earning potential.

Literature Review Example

In the video below, we unpack an actual literature review so that you can see how all the core components come together in reality.

Let’s Recap

In this post, we’ve covered how to research and write up a high-quality literature review chapter. Let’s do a quick recap of the key takeaways:

  • It is essential to understand the WHY of the literature review before you read or write anything. Make sure you understand the 4 core functions of the process.
  • The first step is to hunt down the relevant literature . You can do this using Google Scholar, your university database, the snowballing technique and by reviewing other dissertations and theses.
  • Next, you need to log all the articles in your reference manager , build your own catalogue of literature and synthesise all the research.
  • Following that, you need to develop a detailed outline of your entire chapter – the more detail the better. Don’t start writing without a clear outline (on paper, not in your head!)
  • Write up your first draft in rough form – don’t aim for perfection. Remember, done beats perfect.
  • Refine your second draft and get a layman’s perspective on it . Then tighten it up and submit it to your supervisor.

Literature Review Course

Psst… there’s more!

This post is an extract from our bestselling Udemy Course, Literature Review Bootcamp . If you want to work smart, you don't want to miss this .

You Might Also Like:

How To Find a Research Gap (Fast)

37 Comments

Phindile Mpetshwa

Thank you very much. This page is an eye opener and easy to comprehend.

Yinka

This is awesome!

I wish I come across GradCoach earlier enough.

But all the same I’ll make use of this opportunity to the fullest.

Thank you for this good job.

Keep it up!

Derek Jansen

You’re welcome, Yinka. Thank you for the kind words. All the best writing your literature review.

Renee Buerger

Thank you for a very useful literature review session. Although I am doing most of the steps…it being my first masters an Mphil is a self study and one not sure you are on the right track. I have an amazing supervisor but one also knows they are super busy. So not wanting to bother on the minutae. Thank you.

You’re most welcome, Renee. Good luck with your literature review 🙂

Sheemal Prasad

This has been really helpful. Will make full use of it. 🙂

Thank you Gradcoach.

Tahir

Really agreed. Admirable effort

Faturoti Toyin

thank you for this beautiful well explained recap.

Tara

Thank you so much for your guide of video and other instructions for the dissertation writing.

It is instrumental. It encouraged me to write a dissertation now.

Lorraine Hall

Thank you the video was great – from someone that knows nothing thankyou

araz agha

an amazing and very constructive way of presetting a topic, very useful, thanks for the effort,

Suilabayuh Ngah

It is timely

It is very good video of guidance for writing a research proposal and a dissertation. Since I have been watching and reading instructions, I have started my research proposal to write. I appreciate to Mr Jansen hugely.

Nancy Geregl

I learn a lot from your videos. Very comprehensive and detailed.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge. As a research student, you learn better with your learning tips in research

Uzma

I was really stuck in reading and gathering information but after watching these things are cleared thanks, it is so helpful.

Xaysukith thorxaitou

Really helpful, Thank you for the effort in showing such information

Sheila Jerome

This is super helpful thank you very much.

Mary

Thank you for this whole literature writing review.You have simplified the process.

Maithe

I’m so glad I found GradCoach. Excellent information, Clear explanation, and Easy to follow, Many thanks Derek!

You’re welcome, Maithe. Good luck writing your literature review 🙂

Anthony

Thank you Coach, you have greatly enriched and improved my knowledge

Eunice

Great piece, so enriching and it is going to help me a great lot in my project and thesis, thanks so much

Stephanie Louw

This is THE BEST site for ANYONE doing a masters or doctorate! Thank you for the sound advice and templates. You rock!

Thanks, Stephanie 🙂

oghenekaro Silas

This is mind blowing, the detailed explanation and simplicity is perfect.

I am doing two papers on my final year thesis, and I must stay I feel very confident to face both headlong after reading this article.

thank you so much.

if anyone is to get a paper done on time and in the best way possible, GRADCOACH is certainly the go to area!

tarandeep singh

This is very good video which is well explained with detailed explanation

uku igeny

Thank you excellent piece of work and great mentoring

Abdul Ahmad Zazay

Thanks, it was useful

Maserialong Dlamini

Thank you very much. the video and the information were very helpful.

Suleiman Abubakar

Good morning scholar. I’m delighted coming to know you even before the commencement of my dissertation which hopefully is expected in not more than six months from now. I would love to engage my study under your guidance from the beginning to the end. I love to know how to do good job

Mthuthuzeli Vongo

Thank you so much Derek for such useful information on writing up a good literature review. I am at a stage where I need to start writing my one. My proposal was accepted late last year but I honestly did not know where to start

SEID YIMAM MOHAMMED (Technic)

Like the name of your YouTube implies you are GRAD (great,resource person, about dissertation). In short you are smart enough in coaching research work.

Richie Buffalo

This is a very well thought out webpage. Very informative and a great read.

Norasyidah Mohd Yusoff

Very comprehensive and eye opener for me as beginner in postgraduate study. Well explained and easy to understand. Appreciate and good reference in guiding me in my research journey. Thank you

Maryellen Elizabeth Hart

Thank you. I requested to download the free literature review template, however, your website wouldn’t allow me to complete the request or complete a download. May I request that you email me the free template? Thank you.

Submit a Comment Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

  • Print Friendly
  • Features for Creative Writers
  • Features for Work
  • Features for Higher Education
  • Features for Teachers
  • Features for Non-Native Speakers
  • Learn Blog Grammar Guide Community Academy FAQ
  • Grammar Guide

How to Write a Literature Review

Sarah Oakley headshot

Sarah Oakley

how to write a literature review

Table of Contents

What is a literature review, 6 steps for writing a literature review, literature review template, literature review for research paper example, how prowritingaid can help you write a literature review.

Writing a literature review can be a daunting task if you’re not familiar with conducting a literature review and what the conventions are.

A literature review is a comprehensive study of scientific literature concentrating on a specific research topic. If you’re writing a dissertation or thesis, you will probably need to include a literature review in your paper. Alternatively, some literature reviews are entire stand-alone reports.

In this article, we’ll cover what a literature review is, six steps for writing one, and some examples you can compare to your own work.

A literature review is an in-depth analysis of research and studies that are within your research topic. It gives your research some context and shows how studies have developed on each other over time to provide a better understanding of the topic.

You can also use a literature review to identify gaps in research and areas for further study. When you analyze previous research, you’re considering the quality of the experiments, and you can use that to explain why you’re approaching the topic from a different perspective.

If you’re writing a literature review as part of a bigger research project, it should come after your introduction. Most academic writers use their literature review to define terms within the research topic, as well as providing their analysis of sources, and then discuss the research question in the section immediately after the literature review.

Writing is just one step in creating your literature review. Before you write anything you will include in your research paper, you need to:

Search for relevant sources.

Analyze your sources.

Make notes on any themes and gaps in the research.

We’ve provided six steps you can follow to ensure your literature review is a top-quality piece of research.

Topics for Literature Reviews

The topic for your literature review can be determined by your whole thesis or dissertation topic. Your review should provide the background information for your paper, so it needs to be on the same topic, or it won’t apply to your research.

If you are writing a literature review as a stand-alone paper, pick a topic you are familiar with. You might find some gaps in existing research on your topic, which you could use as a starting point for conducting your own research.

Once you know what your topic is, list some keywords that are directly related to the topic. You’ll use keywords when searching for sources to ensure you find relevant papers and books. This will save you time in the next steps.

How Long Should a Literature Review Be?

In a PhD thesis, your literature review needs to be a chapter long, which is about 8,000 words. Masters and undergraduate dissertations have a lower word count, so your review should be about 2,000 words.

When you’re considering how many sources to include in your review, you can aim to include one or two sources per thousand words in your overall thesis or dissertation word count. For a 10,000-word dissertation, you would try to include between 10 and 20 sources.

How to Find Sources for a Literature Review

There are several places where you can start searching for sources to include in your literature review. Try online databases, libraries, and references in academic module documents.

Online academic journal databases have thousands of articles you can use in your review. Some databases require access before you can read the article. If you are studying, you can ask your university or college if they have access to the database you want to use.

academic journal databases

Some libraries have article databases too, so always ask if that’s something you can use. University libraries are likely to have relevant sources, but you can also check your local town or city library.

If you’re still not sure where to find relevant literature, and you’re a student, use the bibliography or reference list that is provided as part of your module information. Bibliographies and citation lists are perfect for identifying how research has developed.

When you’re searching for sources, remember to use the keywords for your topic to ensure they’re relevant. You can read abstracts and blurbs to check details of the research without having to read every piece you find. Peer-reviewed journal articles and published books (not self-published) are the best sources to look for.

how to write introduction and literature review in thesis

Good writing = better grades

ProWritingAid will help you improve the style, strength, and clarity of all your assignments.

How to Evaluate Sources for a Literature Review

When you’ve got your list of literature you want to review in your report, critically evaluate them and make notes about the following elements:

The point the author is discussing

The evidence they have provided

The quality of the evidence and if it actually supports their conclusions

The methodology they used

The theme of the paper and what it adds to that topic

Where the source sits in relation to other literature on that topic

Any gaps in the research or argument

Strengths and limitations of the research

Reliability and depth of research

How relevant the source and findings are to your research

How to Write a Literature Review Introduction

Once you’ve completed your review of the sources you gathered, you can get to work on writing your literature review, starting with your introduction.

The introduction is where you clarify the focus of your literature review. Cover any background information and context you think is relevant to the review. You can also include a hypothesis to discuss your expectations of what the results of your review will show.

If your literature review is a section within a bigger paper, you’ll need to reiterate your research question to show the relevance of your literature review to the rest of the thesis.

Literature Review Outline

After the introduction, most literature reviews follow an outline to organize sources within the report. You can use a chronological, thematic, methodological, or theoretical outline for your review. Each outline presents a different way to show your analysis and findings from the literature you have studied.

Chronological : shows the development of research. Highlights key moments and debates that have changed the course of research.

Thematic : groups sources based on recurring themes and organizes them based on the different aspects of your topic.

Methodological : organizes your sources based on the different research methods and approaches they used. Compares the results each method has produced.

Theoretical : groups sources that help you identify theoretical perspectives or define theoretical concepts that you can use to support your own research.

After completing all the steps above, you can start writing your literature review. If you’re not sure how to structure your literature review, you can use the template outlined below.

Introduction : your introduction should include the context of your literature review.

Body : the body is where you detail all the sources you have reviewed and how their findings are relevant to your research topic. A review outline can help the body of your literature review progress smoothly from one point to the next.

Conclusion : in your conclusion, summarize the key findings of your analysis. Explain how the results of your review affect your own research and any gaps you have identified.

Reference list/Bibliography : cite any books or papers you mentioned in your literature review in case your reader wants to read any of the sources you used.

contents of a literature review

Most scientific journals also require an abstract to be included if your literature review is a stand-alone paper, to give readers a brief introduction to your review. Your abstract is not a replacement for the introduction section of your literature review.

Here are some examples of how published academic writers present a literature review in their articles:

The Effects of Color on the Moods of College Students. Kurt, S., & Osueke, K. K. (2014)  

Analysis of Leader Effectiveness in Organization and Knowledge Sharing Behavior on Employees and Organization. Sonmez Cakir, F., & Adiguzel, Z. (2020)  

Here is an example of a literature review as a stand-alone research paper:

Children and Reading: Literature Review. Dickenson, D. (2013)

Once you have finished writing your literature review, you will need to edit it to ensure you don’t have any grammatical errors or spelling mistakes. You can use ProWritingAid as a second pair of eyes for your editing to save you time and pick up anything you might have missed.

You can use some of the 20+ reports to edit your review in depth. For example, the Readability report is important for ensuring you’re not overcomplicating your sentences. Even the most technical academic articles need to be easy to read if the writer wants to keep readers focused on what they’re saying.

As with any academic report, you also need to check you’re using enough transition words. Use the Transition report to check that your points flow easily from one to the next. If you don’t have many transition words in your review, your reader may struggle to understand connections between your paragraphs.

We hope the steps in this article, and the examples we’ve provided, help you write a good literature review for your thesis, dissertation, or research paper .

Get started with ProWritingAid

Drop us a line or let's stay in touch via :

Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.

  • Knowledge Base
  • Research paper

Writing a Research Paper Introduction | Step-by-Step Guide

Published on September 24, 2022 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on March 27, 2023.

Writing a Research Paper Introduction

The introduction to a research paper is where you set up your topic and approach for the reader. It has several key goals:

  • Present your topic and get the reader interested
  • Provide background or summarize existing research
  • Position your own approach
  • Detail your specific research problem and problem statement
  • Give an overview of the paper’s structure

The introduction looks slightly different depending on whether your paper presents the results of original empirical research or constructs an argument by engaging with a variety of sources.

Instantly correct all language mistakes in your text

Be assured that you'll submit flawless writing. Upload your document to correct all your mistakes.

upload-your-document-ai-proofreader

Table of contents

Step 1: introduce your topic, step 2: describe the background, step 3: establish your research problem, step 4: specify your objective(s), step 5: map out your paper, research paper introduction examples, frequently asked questions about the research paper introduction.

The first job of the introduction is to tell the reader what your topic is and why it’s interesting or important. This is generally accomplished with a strong opening hook.

The hook is a striking opening sentence that clearly conveys the relevance of your topic. Think of an interesting fact or statistic, a strong statement, a question, or a brief anecdote that will get the reader wondering about your topic.

For example, the following could be an effective hook for an argumentative paper about the environmental impact of cattle farming:

A more empirical paper investigating the relationship of Instagram use with body image issues in adolescent girls might use the following hook:

Don’t feel that your hook necessarily has to be deeply impressive or creative. Clarity and relevance are still more important than catchiness. The key thing is to guide the reader into your topic and situate your ideas.

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

This part of the introduction differs depending on what approach your paper is taking.

In a more argumentative paper, you’ll explore some general background here. In a more empirical paper, this is the place to review previous research and establish how yours fits in.

Argumentative paper: Background information

After you’ve caught your reader’s attention, specify a bit more, providing context and narrowing down your topic.

Provide only the most relevant background information. The introduction isn’t the place to get too in-depth; if more background is essential to your paper, it can appear in the body .

Empirical paper: Describing previous research

For a paper describing original research, you’ll instead provide an overview of the most relevant research that has already been conducted. This is a sort of miniature literature review —a sketch of the current state of research into your topic, boiled down to a few sentences.

This should be informed by genuine engagement with the literature. Your search can be less extensive than in a full literature review, but a clear sense of the relevant research is crucial to inform your own work.

Begin by establishing the kinds of research that have been done, and end with limitations or gaps in the research that you intend to respond to.

The next step is to clarify how your own research fits in and what problem it addresses.

Argumentative paper: Emphasize importance

In an argumentative research paper, you can simply state the problem you intend to discuss, and what is original or important about your argument.

Empirical paper: Relate to the literature

In an empirical research paper, try to lead into the problem on the basis of your discussion of the literature. Think in terms of these questions:

  • What research gap is your work intended to fill?
  • What limitations in previous work does it address?
  • What contribution to knowledge does it make?

You can make the connection between your problem and the existing research using phrases like the following.

Now you’ll get into the specifics of what you intend to find out or express in your research paper.

The way you frame your research objectives varies. An argumentative paper presents a thesis statement, while an empirical paper generally poses a research question (sometimes with a hypothesis as to the answer).

Argumentative paper: Thesis statement

The thesis statement expresses the position that the rest of the paper will present evidence and arguments for. It can be presented in one or two sentences, and should state your position clearly and directly, without providing specific arguments for it at this point.

Empirical paper: Research question and hypothesis

The research question is the question you want to answer in an empirical research paper.

Present your research question clearly and directly, with a minimum of discussion at this point. The rest of the paper will be taken up with discussing and investigating this question; here you just need to express it.

A research question can be framed either directly or indirectly.

  • This study set out to answer the following question: What effects does daily use of Instagram have on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls?
  • We investigated the effects of daily Instagram use on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls.

If your research involved testing hypotheses , these should be stated along with your research question. They are usually presented in the past tense, since the hypothesis will already have been tested by the time you are writing up your paper.

For example, the following hypothesis might respond to the research question above:

The final part of the introduction is often dedicated to a brief overview of the rest of the paper.

In a paper structured using the standard scientific “introduction, methods, results, discussion” format, this isn’t always necessary. But if your paper is structured in a less predictable way, it’s important to describe the shape of it for the reader.

If included, the overview should be concise, direct, and written in the present tense.

  • This paper will first discuss several examples of survey-based research into adolescent social media use, then will go on to …
  • This paper first discusses several examples of survey-based research into adolescent social media use, then goes on to …

Full examples of research paper introductions are shown in the tabs below: one for an argumentative paper, the other for an empirical paper.

  • Argumentative paper
  • Empirical paper

Are cows responsible for climate change? A recent study (RIVM, 2019) shows that cattle farmers account for two thirds of agricultural nitrogen emissions in the Netherlands. These emissions result from nitrogen in manure, which can degrade into ammonia and enter the atmosphere. The study’s calculations show that agriculture is the main source of nitrogen pollution, accounting for 46% of the country’s total emissions. By comparison, road traffic and households are responsible for 6.1% each, the industrial sector for 1%. While efforts are being made to mitigate these emissions, policymakers are reluctant to reckon with the scale of the problem. The approach presented here is a radical one, but commensurate with the issue. This paper argues that the Dutch government must stimulate and subsidize livestock farmers, especially cattle farmers, to transition to sustainable vegetable farming. It first establishes the inadequacy of current mitigation measures, then discusses the various advantages of the results proposed, and finally addresses potential objections to the plan on economic grounds.

The rise of social media has been accompanied by a sharp increase in the prevalence of body image issues among women and girls. This correlation has received significant academic attention: Various empirical studies have been conducted into Facebook usage among adolescent girls (Tiggermann & Slater, 2013; Meier & Gray, 2014). These studies have consistently found that the visual and interactive aspects of the platform have the greatest influence on body image issues. Despite this, highly visual social media (HVSM) such as Instagram have yet to be robustly researched. This paper sets out to address this research gap. We investigated the effects of daily Instagram use on the prevalence of body image issues among adolescent girls. It was hypothesized that daily Instagram use would be associated with an increase in body image concerns and a decrease in self-esteem ratings.

The introduction of a research paper includes several key elements:

  • A hook to catch the reader’s interest
  • Relevant background on the topic
  • Details of your research problem

and your problem statement

  • A thesis statement or research question
  • Sometimes an overview of the paper

Don’t feel that you have to write the introduction first. The introduction is often one of the last parts of the research paper you’ll write, along with the conclusion.

This is because it can be easier to introduce your paper once you’ve already written the body ; you may not have the clearest idea of your arguments until you’ve written them, and things can change during the writing process .

The way you present your research problem in your introduction varies depending on the nature of your research paper . A research paper that presents a sustained argument will usually encapsulate this argument in a thesis statement .

A research paper designed to present the results of empirical research tends to present a research question that it seeks to answer. It may also include a hypothesis —a prediction that will be confirmed or disproved by your research.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Caulfield, J. (2023, March 27). Writing a Research Paper Introduction | Step-by-Step Guide. Scribbr. Retrieved February 16, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/research-paper/research-paper-introduction/

Is this article helpful?

Jack Caulfield

Jack Caulfield

Other students also liked, writing strong research questions | criteria & examples, writing a research paper conclusion | step-by-step guide, research paper format | apa, mla, & chicago templates, what is your plagiarism score.

How to write a fantastic thesis introduction (+15 examples)

Photo of Master Academia

The thesis introduction, usually chapter 1, is one of the most important chapters of a thesis. It sets the scene. It previews key arguments and findings. And it helps the reader to understand the structure of the thesis. In short, a lot is riding on this first chapter. With the following tips, you can write a powerful thesis introduction.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase using the links below at no additional cost to you . I only recommend products or services that I truly believe can benefit my audience. As always, my opinions are my own.

Elements of a fantastic thesis introduction

Open with a (personal) story, begin with a problem, define a clear research gap, describe the scientific relevance of the thesis, describe the societal relevance of the thesis, write down the thesis’ core claim in 1-2 sentences, support your argument with sufficient evidence, consider possible objections, address the empirical research context, give a taste of the thesis’ empirical analysis, hint at the practical implications of the research, provide a reading guide, briefly summarise all chapters to come, design a figure illustrating the thesis structure.

An introductory chapter plays an integral part in every thesis. The first chapter has to include quite a lot of information to contextualise the research. At the same time, a good thesis introduction is not too long, but clear and to the point.

A powerful thesis introduction does the following:

  • It captures the reader’s attention.
  • It presents a clear research gap and emphasises the thesis’ relevance.
  • It provides a compelling argument.
  • It previews the research findings.
  • It explains the structure of the thesis.

In addition, a powerful thesis introduction is well-written, logically structured, and free of grammar and spelling errors. Reputable thesis editors can elevate the quality of your introduction to the next level. If you are in search of a trustworthy thesis or dissertation editor who upholds high-quality standards and offers efficient turnaround times, I recommend the professional thesis and dissertation editing service provided by Editage . 

This list can feel quite overwhelming. However, with some easy tips and tricks, you can accomplish all these goals in your thesis introduction. (And if you struggle with finding the right wording, have a look at academic key phrases for introductions .)

Ways to capture the reader’s attention

A powerful thesis introduction should spark the reader’s interest on the first pages. A reader should be enticed to continue reading! There are three common ways to capture the reader’s attention.

An established way to capture the reader’s attention in a thesis introduction is by starting with a story. Regardless of how abstract and ‘scientific’ the actual thesis content is, it can be useful to ease the reader into the topic with a short story.

This story can be, for instance, based on one of your study participants. It can also be a very personal account of one of your own experiences, which drew you to study the thesis topic in the first place.

Start by providing data or statistics

Data and statistics are another established way to immediately draw in your reader. Especially surprising or shocking numbers can highlight the importance of a thesis topic in the first few sentences!

So if your thesis topic lends itself to being kick-started with data or statistics, you are in for a quick and easy way to write a memorable thesis introduction.

The third established way to capture the reader’s attention is by starting with the problem that underlies your thesis. It is advisable to keep the problem simple. A few sentences at the start of the chapter should suffice.

Usually, at a later stage in the introductory chapter, it is common to go more in-depth, describing the research problem (and its scientific and societal relevance) in more detail.

You may also like: Minimalist writing for a better thesis

Emphasising the thesis’ relevance

A good thesis is a relevant thesis. No one wants to read about a concept that has already been explored hundreds of times, or that no one cares about.

Of course, a thesis heavily relies on the work of other scholars. However, each thesis is – and should be – unique. If you want to write a fantastic thesis introduction, your job is to point out this uniqueness!

In academic research, a research gap signifies a research area or research question that has not been explored yet, that has been insufficiently explored, or whose insights and findings are outdated.

Every thesis needs a crystal-clear research gap. Spell it out instead of letting your reader figure out why your thesis is relevant.

* This example has been taken from an actual academic paper on toxic behaviour in online games: Liu, J. and Agur, C. (2022). “After All, They Don’t Know Me” Exploring the Psychological Mechanisms of Toxic Behavior in Online Games. Games and Culture 1–24, DOI: 10.1177/15554120221115397

The scientific relevance of a thesis highlights the importance of your work in terms of advancing theoretical insights on a topic. You can think of this part as your contribution to the (international) academic literature.

Scientific relevance comes in different forms. For instance, you can critically assess a prominent theory explaining a specific phenomenon. Maybe something is missing? Or you can develop a novel framework that combines different frameworks used by other scholars. Or you can draw attention to the context-specific nature of a phenomenon that is discussed in the international literature.

The societal relevance of a thesis highlights the importance of your research in more practical terms. You can think of this part as your contribution beyond theoretical insights and academic publications.

Why are your insights useful? Who can benefit from your insights? How can your insights improve existing practices?

how to write introduction and literature review in thesis

Formulating a compelling argument

Arguments are sets of reasons supporting an idea, which – in academia – often integrate theoretical and empirical insights. Think of an argument as an umbrella statement, or core claim. It should be no longer than one or two sentences.

Including an argument in the introduction of your thesis may seem counterintuitive. After all, the reader will be introduced to your core claim before reading all the chapters of your thesis that led you to this claim in the first place.

But rest assured: A clear argument at the start of your thesis introduction is a sign of a good thesis. It works like a movie teaser to generate interest. And it helps the reader to follow your subsequent line of argumentation.

The core claim of your thesis should be accompanied by sufficient evidence. This does not mean that you have to write 10 pages about your results at this point.

However, you do need to show the reader that your claim is credible and legitimate because of the work you have done.

A good argument already anticipates possible objections. Not everyone will agree with your core claim. Therefore, it is smart to think ahead. What criticism can you expect?

Think about reasons or opposing positions that people can come up with to disagree with your claim. Then, try to address them head-on.

Providing a captivating preview of findings

Similar to presenting a compelling argument, a fantastic thesis introduction also previews some of the findings. When reading an introduction, the reader wants to learn a bit more about the research context. Furthermore, a reader should get a taste of the type of analysis that will be conducted. And lastly, a hint at the practical implications of the findings encourages the reader to read until the end.

If you focus on a specific empirical context, make sure to provide some information about it. The empirical context could be, for instance, a country, an island, a school or city. Make sure the reader understands why you chose this context for your research, and why it fits to your research objective.

If you did all your research in a lab, this section is obviously irrelevant. However, in that case you should explain the setup of your experiment, etcetera.

The empirical part of your thesis centers around the collection and analysis of information. What information, and what evidence, did you generate? And what are some of the key findings?

For instance, you can provide a short summary of the different research methods that you used to collect data. Followed by a short overview of how you analysed this data, and some of the key findings. The reader needs to understand why your empirical analysis is worth reading.

You already highlighted the practical relevance of your thesis in the introductory chapter. However, you should also provide a preview of some of the practical implications that you will develop in your thesis based on your findings.

Presenting a crystal clear thesis structure

A fantastic thesis introduction helps the reader to understand the structure and logic of your whole thesis. This is probably the easiest part to write in a thesis introduction. However, this part can be best written at the very end, once everything else is ready.

A reading guide is an essential part in a thesis introduction! Usually, the reading guide can be found toward the end of the introductory chapter.

The reading guide basically tells the reader what to expect in the chapters to come.

In a longer thesis, such as a PhD thesis, it can be smart to provide a summary of each chapter to come. Think of a paragraph for each chapter, almost in the form of an abstract.

For shorter theses, which also have a shorter introduction, this step is not necessary.

Especially for longer theses, it tends to be a good idea to design a simple figure that illustrates the structure of your thesis. It helps the reader to better grasp the logic of your thesis.

how to write introduction and literature review in thesis

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox!

Subscribe and receive Master Academia's quarterly newsletter.

The most useful academic social networking sites for PhD students

10 reasons not to do a master's degree, related articles.

how to write introduction and literature review in thesis

Why you cannot write a PhD thesis in 3-6 months

how to write introduction and literature review in thesis

How to find a reputable academic dissertation editor

how to write introduction and literature review in thesis

5 inspiring PhD thesis acknowledgement examples

how to write introduction and literature review in thesis

Theoretical vs. conceptual frameworks: Simple definitions and an overview of key differences

Enago Academy

Literature Review Tips for the Introduction and Discussion Sections

' src=

A literature review is a summary of studies related to a particular area of research. It identifies and summarizes all the relevant research conducted on a particular topic. It is important that your literature review is focused . Therefore, you should choose a limited number of studies that are central to your topic rather than trying to collect a wide range of studies that might not be closely connected.

Literature reviews help you accomplish the following:

  • Evaluate past research  Collecting relevant resources will help you see what research has already been done. This will also help avoid duplication.
  • Identify experts It is important to identify credible researchers who have knowledge in a given field, in order to seek their help if you get stuck with certain aspects of your research.
  • Identify key questions  Your ultimate aim is to bring something new to the conversation. Collecting resources will help you determine the important questions that need to be addressed.
  • Determine methodologies used in past studies Knowing how others have approached a particular topic will give you the opportunity to identify problems and find new ways to research and study a topic. If the reported methodology was successful, you can use it and save time that you would otherwise be spending on optimization.

Presenting Literature Review in the Introduction and Discussion Sections

There are many benefits to presenting literature reviews in the introduction and discussion sections of your manuscripts . However, there are differences in how you can present literature reviews in each section.

What Should be Included in the Literature Review of the Introduction Section?

The literature reviewed in the introduction should:

  • Introduce the topic
  • Establish the significance of the study
  • Provide an overview of the relevant literature
  • Establish a context for the study using the literature
  • Identify knowledge gaps
  • Illustrate how the study will advance knowledge on the topic

As you can see, literature review plays a significant role in the introduction section. However, there are some things that you should avoid doing in this section. These include:

  • Elaborating on the studies mentioned in the literature review
  • Using studies from the literature review to aggressively support your research
  • Directly quoting studies from the literature review

It is important to know how to integrate the literature review into the introduction in an effective way. Although you can mention other studies, they should not be the focus. Instead, focus on using the literature review to aid in setting a foundation for the manuscript.

peer review

What Goes in the Literature Review of the Discussion Section?

Literature reviews play an important role in the discussion section of a manuscript . In this section, your findings should be the focus, rather than those of other researchers. Therefore, you should only use the studies mentioned in the literature review as support and evidence for your study.

There are three ways in which you can use literature reviews in the discussion section:

  • To Provide Context for Your Study Using studies from the literature review helps to set the foundation for how you will reveal your findings and develop your ideas.
  • Compare your Findings to Other Studies You can use previous literature as a backdrop to compare your new findings. This helps describe and also advance your ideas.
  • State the Contribution of Your Study In addition to developing your ideas, you can use literature reviews to explain how your study contributes to the field of study.

However, there are three common mistakes that researchers make when including literature reviews in the discussion section. First, they mention all sorts of studies, some of which are not even relevant to the topic under investigation. Second, instead of citing the original article, they cite a related article that mentions the original article. Lastly, some authors cite previous work solely based on the abstract, without even going through the entire paper.

We hope this article helps you effectively present your literature review in both the introduction as well as the discussion section of your manuscript. You can also mention any other tips that will add to this article in the comments section below.

References:

[1]  http://www.math.montana.edu/jobo/phdprep/documents/phd6.pdf 

[2]  https://libguides.unf.edu/c.php?g=177129&p=1163732

' src=

This Is a Very Useful Information… thank you. It helped me a lot. It is explained clearfully.

YOU ARE SO NASESESSRY

it explains everything sooo goood i thought it would be hard to understand

Rate this article Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published.

how to write introduction and literature review in thesis

Enago Academy's Most Popular

Beyond spellcheck- How Copyediting guarantees an error-free submission

  • Reporting Research

Beyond Spellcheck: How copyediting guarantees error-free submission

Submitting a manuscript is a complex and often an emotional experience for researchers. Whether it’s…

  • Old Webinars
  • Webinar Mobile App

How to Find the Right Journal and Fix Your Manuscript Before Submission

Selection of right journal Meets journal standards Plagiarism free manuscripts Rated from reviewer's POV

how to write introduction and literature review in thesis

  • Manuscripts & Grants

Research Aims and Objectives: The dynamic duo for successful research

Picture yourself on a road trip without a destination in mind — driving aimlessly, not…

how to write introduction and literature review in thesis

How Academic Editors Can Enhance the Quality of Your Manuscript

Avoiding desk rejection Detecting language errors Conveying your ideas clearly Following technical requirements

Effective Data Presentation for Submission in Top-tier Journals

Importance of presenting research data effectively How to create tables and figures How to avoid…

How to Choose Best Research Methodology for Your Study

How to Effectively Structure an Opinion Article

Top 10 Questions for a Complete Literature Review

Impressive Academic Phrases for Writing Manuscripts

how to write introduction and literature review in thesis

Sign-up to read more

Subscribe for free to get unrestricted access to all our resources on research writing and academic publishing including:

  • 2000+ blog articles
  • 50+ Webinars
  • 10+ Expert podcasts
  • 50+ Infographics
  • 10+ Checklists
  • Research Guides

We hate spam too. We promise to protect your privacy and never spam you.

I am looking for Editing/ Proofreading services for my manuscript Tentative date of next journal submission:

how to write introduction and literature review in thesis

According to you, how can AI writing tools improve academic writing accuracy?

ON YOUR 1ST ORDER

How To Write A Literature Review Introduction: A Quick Guide

By Laura Brown on 5th July 2023

When it comes to writing an introduction to a literature review, there are a few key steps to keep in mind. Start by clearly stating the purpose and scope of your review. Then, provide a brief overview of the main themes or concepts you will address. It’s important to engage your readers from the start with a compelling opening paragraph that hooks their interest. Lastly, establish the background and context of your research and outline the objectives of your review. So, these components can be summarised as,

  • Background and context
  • Objective and purpose
  • Scope and inclusion/exclusion criteria
  • Research questions or hypotheses
  • Organisation and structure
  • Signposting
  • Methodology (optional)

Now, if you’re a student or researcher diving into the world of literature reviews, you’ve come to the right place. Crafting an effective introduction is crucial to engage your readers and set the stage for your review. In this guide, we will walk you through ten essential steps to help you create a captivating introduction with perfection. From understanding the purpose and scope to presenting the background and context, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s embark on this journey together and unlock the secrets on how to write a good introduction for a literature review that grabs attention.

How To Write A Literature Review Introduction In 10 Steps With Perfection

Step 1: Clarify The Purpose And Scope Of Your Literature Review

Before diving into writing, it’s essential to gain a clear understanding of its purpose and scope and be aware of how to start it. Begin with defining the overarching goal of your review. Are you aiming to provide a comprehensive overview of existing primary and secondary research on a specific topic? Or perhaps you’re focusing on a particular aspect or gap in the literature?

Additionally, determine the scope of your review by identifying the timeframe, geographical area, or specific disciplines you will cover. Clearly defining the purpose and scope will not only help you stay focused, but also ensure that your introduction sets the right expectations for your readers.

Step 2: Identify The Main Themes Or Concepts You’ll Address

To create a good literature review introduction structure, it’s crucial to identify and articulate the main themes or concepts that will be the focus of your review. Take some time to analyse the body of literature you have gathered and identify recurring ideas, theories, or key areas of discussion.

These themes or concepts will serve as the foundation for organising your review and guiding your readers through the subsequent sections. By clearly identifying and introducing these main themes or concepts in your introduction, you provide readers with a roadmap of what to expect and demonstrate your understanding of the existing knowledge within your field.

Step 3: Conduct A Comprehensive Search For Relevant Academic Sources

To ensure the credibility and depth of your literature review, embark on a thorough search for relevant academic sources. Utilise scholarly databases, online libraries, and search engines to locate articles, books, conference papers, and other reputable sources related to your research topic.

Cast a wide net to gather a comprehensive collection of materials that provide diverse perspectives and insights. Pay attention to keywords, use advanced search techniques, and explore bibliographies of relevant sources to uncover hidden gems. Conducting a comprehensive literature search will let you lay the groundwork for a well-informed and robust review.

Step 4: Evaluate And Select The Most Appropriate Sources.

Once you have accumulated a substantial number of potential sources, it’s essential to critically evaluate their quality, credibility, and relevance. Assess the authority of the authors, the reputation of the publishing journals or organisations, and the rigour of the research methodologies employed.

Scrutinise the relevance of each source to your research objectives and discard any that do not align with your focus. You should aim for a balanced mix of seminal works and recent publications to ensure the inclusion of both foundational knowledge and the latest advancements in your field.

Step 5: Organise Your Sources Based On Identified Themes Or Concepts

Now that you have a curated selection of relevant sources, it’s time to organise them based on the main themes or concepts you have identified. For this, look for common threads, recurring ideas, or distinct categories within the literature. Furthermore, create a system, such as using digital tools or physical note cards, to sort and categorise your sources accordingly.

Consider how each source contributes to each theme or concept, and make strategic decisions about their placement. By taking these steps, as suggested by Literature Review Writing Service , you can lay the groundwork for a coherent and cohesive literature review that flows seamlessly from one theme to another.

Step 6: Develop An Outline For Your Introduction

With a clear understanding of your literature review’s purpose, themes, organised sources and sufficient understanding of how to introduce a literature review , it’s time to develop an outline for your introduction. Firstly, consider the key points and sub-points you want to address. For this, begin with a concise overview of the main themes or concepts you will cover, followed by a logical progression of the sub-points that support and introduce each theme.

This outline will serve as a roadmap, ensuring that you can do it in a well-structured and coherent manner, effectively guiding your readers through the upcoming sections.

Step 7: Craft An Engaging Opening Paragraph

The opening paragraph plays a crucial role in capturing your reader’s attention and setting the tone for the rest of the review. It will take two simple steps to come up with a solid introduction.

  • Start with a thought-provoking question, a captivating anecdote, or a surprising statistic related to your research topic.
  • Provide a clear and concise overview of the purpose of your literature review, highlighting its significance and relevance to the field.

By creating an opening paragraph that piques curiosity and conveys the purpose, you set the stage for a captivating literature review. Still, if you find it difficult, you can ask Crowd Writer for literature review introduction examples.

Step 8: Provide Relevant Background Information And Context

After hooking your readers, it’s important to provide them with the necessary background information and context to understand the topic and its significance. This step involves introducing key concepts, theories, or historical developments that are relevant to your literature review.

In the 8th step on how to write an introduction for a literature review, briefly explain any terminology or jargon that may be unfamiliar to your readers. Additionally, highlight the gap or problem in the existing literature that your review aims to address.

Step 9: Clearly State The Objectives Of Your Literature Review

In this step, it’s important to explicitly state the objectives of your literature review. Clearly articulate what you aim to achieve through your review. You should identify gaps in the existing literature, synthesise and analyse the findings of previous studies, or propose new research directions.

State these objectives in a concise and focused manner. By doing so, you will be able to provide a roadmap for your readers and set expectations for the insights and outcomes they can expect from your literature review.

Step 10: Provide A Brief Preview Of The Main Sections

As you conclude your introduction, offer a brief preview of the main sections or themes that you will cover in your literature review. This serves as a roadmap for readers, giving them an overview of the content they can expect in the subsequent sections.

Provide a concise summary of the main points or sub-points you will explore, highlighting the significance of each section and how they contribute to your overall review. By providing this preview on the structure of a literature review , you create anticipation and guide readers through the logical flow of your literature review, ensuring they understand the structure and organisation of your work.

Dos & Don’ts Of Literature Review Introduction

Summing up the blog.

Crafting a compelling and effective introduction for your literature review requires careful planning and attention to detail. By following the above-mentioned steps outlined in this guide, you can create an introduction that engages your readers, provides context and background information, and clearly communicates the objectives and structure of your review.

Remember, whenever you write a literature review introduction, first come up with an outline and have your research complete before you begin to write. By implementing these steps, you can set the stage for a successful literature review that captivates your audience and lays the foundation for a comprehensive exploration of your chosen topic.

Laura Brown

Laura Brown, a senior content writer who writes actionable blogs at Crowd Writer.

  • How It Works

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Thesis Literature Review

Thesis Literature Review

A thesis literature review is one of the most important steps in writing a thesis. It is a complete survey of all scholarly articles and resources available for a particular topic. Now, let us take a closer look at the peculiarities of writing a thesis literature review.

How To Write Literature Review For Thesis

A literature review helps you evaluate and assess the current knowledge available on a topic. It also helps you identify theories, methods and gaps that exist. In order to understand how to write a literature review here are five steps that you need to follow:

Look for Relevant Literature

To begin your search for relevant literature, you need to have at least your working title in place. The search for any literature must be related to the research questions and problems.

When a literature review or thesis itself is your assignment, choose a focus subject and create a central question that will guide your search. These questions should be answerable only with a review of the publications that already exist.

One example of a literature review questions is:

Does social media lead to body image issues in Generation Z?

Once this question is set, make a list of keywords to help your search. In case of the above question, some examples of keywords are Facebook, Social Media, Body Image, Mental Health, Self-Esteem. Adolescents, Generation Z, Youth etc.

Then start collecting various sources. Some recommended databases are:

University Library JSTOR Google Scholar Medline Project Muse EBSCO EconLit Inspec

Use multiple keywords separated by Boolean operators like and, not and or to get more results.

Evaluate the Available Sources

Reading the abstract will help you understand whether a particular source must be included in your literature review thesis. If any citations are recurring, then they are most likely relevant and important for your topic.

When evaluating the sources, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Question addressed by the author
  • Key concepts and their definition
  • Key theories and methods
  • The author’s approach
  • Results of the study
  • Comparison of the source with other literature related to the subject
  • The contribution of the publication to your topic
  • Strengths and weaknesses of the publication

The sources that you list must be credible. For instance, high citation count on Google Scholar indicates the relevance of the paper. As you review each publication take notes for the ones that you wish to list in your literature review. Correct citation is a must to avoid issues like plagiarism.

Identify Various Debates, Themes and Gaps

Your master thesis literature review will help you understand the existing literature better. You will be able to see the connection between different sources and the gaps that exist in them.

As you prepare your literature review, pay attention to:

  • Various patterns and trends: Do certain ideas repeat in different citations? Does a similar methodology recur?
  • Different themes: What are the concepts and questions that different sources address?
  • Debates, contradictions and conflicts: Where do you notice opposing ideas in the literature?
  • Important publications: Are there any publications that introduced novel ideas or influential theories that gave the field a new direction?
  • Gaps: What do you think is missing in the literature?

With this step, you can figure out the structure of your literature review. With the above example on social media and its impact on body image, for instance, you will see the following trends and gaps:

The research is mostly targeted towards young women. The interest in the visual elements of social media steadily increases There is no research available on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram that are primarily visual media.

Prepare an Outline for Your Literature Review

You need to have a rough idea of how you plan to approach the literature review before you start writing. This will create a working thesis literature review example that you can build on. There are different options available for you to arrange the literature available:

  • Chronological : Understand how a particular topic has developed over time. When you choose this strategy, make sure that you don’t merely list the literature but also follow the order. This will also help you understand why some developments occurred in important literature.
  • Thematic : If you have noticed that certain themes are recurring, it is a good idea to organize the sources into various subsections. These subsections will include all the sources that address a particular aspect of the given topic.
  • Compare the results of quantitative and qualitative research
  • List the differences between theoretical and empirical approaches towards a particular subject.
  • Theoretical : The literature review helps understand the different models, theories and key concepts related to a particular subject. In this step, you can focus on one theoretical approach or can compare different theories.

Writing the Literature Review

Now that you have all the sources and information available, you can prepare the actual thesis literature review. It should include the following elements:

  • The introduction: Use the introduction to state the purpose and focus of your literature review. If you are writing the literature review for thesis, make sure that you talk about the central issue that your research will address and provide a summary of existing literature. For stand-alone reviews, provide a background about the subject, the relevance and the scope of existing literature.
  • Provide an overview of the main topics covered in each source and then combine them.
  • Add your own views and interpretations when possible.
  • Write about the strengths and weaknesses of the chosen sources
  • Use paragraphs that are well-structured.
  • Conclusion: This is just as important as your introduction. Summarize the key results of the literature available and their importance. In case of a literature review for a dissertation or a thesis, make sure you mention how your research will address the existing gaps and include novel information. In case of a stand-alone literature review, provide a summary of the implications of different resources available. You can also provide suggestions for research in the future.

If you are having trouble writing literature review for thesis, our experts can help you . Our writers have years of experience creating the perfectly structured literature review for students from various fields of study. You can also access various literature review samples to get a head start on yours.

dissertation methodology

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment * Error message

Name * Error message

Email * Error message

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

As Putin continues killing civilians, bombing kindergartens, and threatening WWIII, Ukraine fights for the world's peaceful future.

Ukraine Live Updates

How to write an undergraduate university dissertation

Writing a dissertation is a daunting task, but these tips will help you prepare for all the common challenges students face before deadline day.

Grace McCabe's avatar

Grace McCabe

istock/woman writing

Writing a dissertation is one of the most challenging aspects of university. However, it is the chance for students to demonstrate what they have learned during their degree and to explore a topic in depth.

In this article, we look at 10 top tips for writing a successful dissertation and break down how to write each section of a dissertation in detail.

10 tips for writing an undergraduate dissertation

1. Select an engaging topic Choose a subject that aligns with your interests and allows you to showcase the skills and knowledge you have acquired through your degree.

2. Research your supervisor Undergraduate students will often be assigned a supervisor based on their research specialisms. Do some research on your supervisor and make sure that they align with your dissertation goals.

3. Understand the dissertation structure Familiarise yourself with the structure (introduction, review of existing research, methodology, findings, results and conclusion). This will vary based on your subject.

4. Write a schedule As soon as you have finalised your topic and looked over the deadline, create a rough plan of how much work you have to do and create mini-deadlines along the way to make sure don’t find yourself having to write your entire dissertation in the final few weeks.

5. Determine requirements Ensure that you know which format your dissertation should be presented in. Check the word count and the referencing style.

6. Organise references from the beginning Maintain an alphabetically arranged reference list or bibliography in the designated style as you do your reading. This will make it a lot easier to finalise your references at the end.

7. Create a detailed plan Once you have done your initial research and have an idea of the shape your dissertation will take, write a detailed essay plan outlining your research questions, SMART objectives and dissertation structure.

8. Keep a dissertation journal Track your progress, record your research and your reading, and document challenges. This will be helpful as you discuss your work with your supervisor and organise your notes.

9. Schedule regular check-ins with your supervisor Make sure you stay in touch with your supervisor throughout the process, scheduling regular meetings and keeping good notes so you can update them on your progress.

10. Employ effective proofreading techniques Ask friends and family to help you proofread your work or use different fonts to help make the text look different. This will help you check for missing sections, grammatical mistakes and typos.

What is a dissertation?

A dissertation is a long piece of academic writing or a research project that you have to write as part of your undergraduate university degree.

It’s usually a long essay in which you explore your chosen topic, present your ideas and show that you understand and can apply what you’ve learned during your studies. Informally, the terms “dissertation” and “thesis” are often used interchangeably.

How do I select a dissertation topic?

First, choose a topic that you find interesting. You will be working on your dissertation for several months, so finding a research topic that you are passionate about and that demonstrates your strength in your subject is best. You want your topic to show all the skills you have developed during your degree. It would be a bonus if you can link your work to your chosen career path, but it’s not necessary.

Second, begin by exploring relevant literature in your field, including academic journals, books and articles. This will help you identify gaps in existing knowledge and areas that may need further exploration. You may not be able to think of a truly original piece of research, but it’s always good to know what has already been written about your chosen topic.

Consider the practical aspects of your chosen topic, ensuring that it is possible within the time frame and available resources. Assess the availability of data, research materials and the overall practicality of conducting the research.

When picking a dissertation topic, you also want to try to choose something that adds new ideas or perspectives to what’s already known in your field. As you narrow your focus, remember that a more targeted approach usually leads to a dissertation that’s easier to manage and has a bigger impact. Be ready to change your plans based on feedback and new information you discover during your research.

How to work with your dissertation supervisor?

Your supervisor is there to provide guidance on your chosen topic, direct your research efforts, and offer assistance and suggestions when you have queries. It’s crucial to establish a comfortable and open line of communication with them throughout the process. Their knowledge can greatly benefit your work. Keep them informed about your progress, seek their advice, and don’t hesitate to ask questions.

1. Keep them updated Regularly tell your supervisor how your work is going and if you’re having any problems. You can do this through emails, meetings or progress reports.

2. Plan meetings Schedule regular meetings with your supervisor. These can be in person or online. These are your time to discuss your progress and ask for help.

3. Share your writing Give your supervisor parts of your writing or an outline. This helps them see what you’re thinking so they can advise you on how to develop it.

5. Ask specific questions When you need help, ask specific questions instead of general ones. This makes it easier for your supervisor to help you.

6. Listen to feedback Be open to what your supervisor says. If they suggest changes, try to make them. It makes your dissertation better and shows you can work together.

7. Talk about problems If something is hard or you’re worried, talk to your supervisor about it. They can give you advice or tell you where to find help.

8. Take charge Be responsible for your work. Let your supervisor know if your plans change, and don’t wait if you need help urgently.

Remember, talking openly with your supervisor helps you both understand each other better, improves your dissertation and ensures that you get the support you need.

How to write a successful research piece at university How to choose a topic for your dissertation Tips for writing a convincing thesis

How do I plan my dissertation?

It’s important to start with a detailed plan that will serve as your road map throughout the entire process of writing your dissertation. As Jumana Labib, a master’s student at the University of Manchester  studying digital media, culture and society, suggests: “Pace yourself – definitely don’t leave the entire thing for the last few days or weeks.”

Decide what your research question or questions will be for your chosen topic.

Break that down into smaller SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) objectives.

Speak to your supervisor about any overlooked areas.

Create a breakdown of chapters using the structure listed below (for example, a methodology chapter).

Define objectives, key points and evidence for each chapter.

Define your research approach (qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods).

Outline your research methods and analysis techniques.

Develop a timeline with regular moments for review and feedback.

Allocate time for revision, editing and breaks.

Consider any ethical considerations related to your research.

Stay organised and add to your references and bibliography throughout the process.

Remain flexible to possible reviews or changes as you go along.

A well thought-out plan not only makes the writing process more manageable but also increases the likelihood of producing a high-quality piece of research.

How to structure a dissertation?

The structure can depend on your field of study, but this is a rough outline for science and social science dissertations:

Introduce your topic.

Complete a source or literature review.

Describe your research methodology (including the methods for gathering and filtering information, analysis techniques, materials, tools or resources used, limitations of your method, and any considerations of reliability).

Summarise your findings.

Discuss the results and what they mean.

Conclude your point and explain how your work contributes to your field.

On the other hand, humanities and arts dissertations often take the form of an extended essay. This involves constructing an argument or exploring a particular theory or analysis through the analysis of primary and secondary sources. Your essay will be structured through chapters arranged around themes or case studies.

All dissertations include a title page, an abstract and a reference list. Some may also need a table of contents at the beginning. Always check with your university department for its dissertation guidelines, and check with your supervisor as you begin to plan your structure to ensure that you have the right layout.

How long is an undergraduate dissertation?

The length of an undergraduate dissertation can vary depending on the specific guidelines provided by your university and your subject department. However, in many cases, undergraduate dissertations are typically about 8,000 to 12,000 words in length.

“Eat away at it; try to write for at least 30 minutes every day, even if it feels relatively unproductive to you in the moment,” Jumana advises.

How do I add references to my dissertation?

References are the section of your dissertation where you acknowledge the sources you have quoted or referred to in your writing. It’s a way of supporting your ideas, evidencing what research you have used and avoiding plagiarism (claiming someone else’s work as your own), and giving credit to the original authors.

Referencing typically includes in-text citations and a reference list or bibliography with full source details. Different referencing styles exist, such as Harvard, APA and MLA, each favoured in specific fields. Your university will tell you the preferred style.

Using tools and guides provided by universities can make the referencing process more manageable, but be sure they are approved by your university before using any.

How do I write a bibliography or list my references for my dissertation?

The requirement of a bibliography depends on the style of referencing you need to use. Styles such as OSCOLA or Chicago may not require a separate bibliography. In these styles, full source information is often incorporated into footnotes throughout the piece, doing away with the need for a separate bibliography section.

Typically, reference lists or bibliographies are organised alphabetically based on the author’s last name. They usually include essential details about each source, providing a quick overview for readers who want more information. Some styles ask that you include references that you didn’t use in your final piece as they were still a part of the overall research.

It is important to maintain this list as soon as you start your research. As you complete your research, you can add more sources to your bibliography to ensure that you have a comprehensive list throughout the dissertation process.

How to proofread an undergraduate dissertation?

Throughout your dissertation writing, attention to detail will be your greatest asset. The best way to avoid making mistakes is to continuously proofread and edit your work.

Proofreading is a great way to catch any missing sections, grammatical errors or typos. There are many tips to help you proofread:

Ask someone to read your piece and highlight any mistakes they find.

Change the font so you notice any mistakes.

Format your piece as you go, headings and sections will make it easier to spot any problems.

Separate editing and proofreading. Editing is your chance to rewrite sections, add more detail or change any points. Proofreading should be where you get into the final touches, really polish what you have and make sure it’s ready to be submitted.

Stick to your citation style and make sure every resource listed in your dissertation is cited in the reference list or bibliography.

How to write a conclusion for my dissertation?

Writing a dissertation conclusion is your chance to leave the reader impressed by your work.

Start by summarising your findings, highlighting your key points and the outcome of your research. Refer back to the original research question or hypotheses to provide context to your conclusion.

You can then delve into whether you achieved the goals you set at the beginning and reflect on whether your research addressed the topic as expected. Make sure you link your findings to existing literature or sources you have included throughout your work and how your own research could contribute to your field.

Be honest about any limitations or issues you faced during your research and consider any questions that went unanswered that you would consider in the future. Make sure that your conclusion is clear and concise, and sum up the overall impact and importance of your work.

Remember, keep the tone confident and authoritative, avoiding the introduction of new information. This should simply be a summary of everything you have already said throughout the dissertation.

You may also like

Student on computer

.css-185owts{overflow:hidden;max-height:54px;text-indent:0px;} How to use digital advisers to improve academic writing

Students taking an exam

How to deal with exam stress

Seeta Bhardwa

Student studying at home

5 revision techniques to help you ace exam season (plus 7 more unusual approaches)

Register free and enjoy extra benefits

IMAGES

  1. 50 Smart Literature Review Templates (APA) ᐅ TemplateLab

    how to write introduction and literature review in thesis

  2. PPT

    how to write introduction and literature review in thesis

  3. How to write literature review in apa style format

    how to write introduction and literature review in thesis

  4. 50 Smart Literature Review Templates (APA) ᐅ TemplateLab

    how to write introduction and literature review in thesis

  5. literature review article examples Sample of research literature review

    how to write introduction and literature review in thesis

  6. Good literature review sample. Bad, Better, Best Examples of Literature

    how to write introduction and literature review in thesis

VIDEO

  1. How to Write Thesis? Thesis Writing Tips #thesis #shorts #assignment

  2. Write Your Literature Review FAST

  3. Why it's essential to know yourself as a thesis writer

  4. How to write Conclusion Chapter of Thesis

  5. How to write literature review #academicsuccess #thesiswriting #school #students

  6. Thesis Writing: Outlining Part III

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a Literature Review

    Step 1 - Search for relevant literature Step 2 - Evaluate and select sources Step 3 - Identify themes, debates, and gaps Step 4 - Outline your literature review's structure Step 5 - Write your literature review Free lecture slides Other interesting articles Frequently asked questions Introduction Quick Run-through Step 1 & 2 Step 3 Step 4 Step 5

  2. How to write a literature review introduction (+ examples)

    Literature review chapter or section in your thesis/dissertation: Every thesis and dissertation includes a literature review component, which also requires a concise introduction to set the stage for the subsequent review. You may also like: How to write a fantastic thesis introduction (+15 examples)

  3. PDF The Thesis Writing Process and Literature Review

    First, consider the relevant literatures on which you intend to draw. This is not simply all substantively related work. So how to know what to select? Think about how each subfield of literature relates to your project. Primary Categories of Literature that Relate to Your Thesis

  4. Writing a Literature Review

    Most lit reviews use a basic introduction-body-conclusion structure; if your lit review is part of a larger paper, the introduction and conclusion pieces may be just a few sentences while you focus most of your attention on the body.

  5. How Do I Write an Introduction and Literature Review?

    First Online: 19 October 2023 144 Accesses Abstract A well-crafted Introduction chapter can do a lot of the heavy lifting in a dissertation. This chapter is usually relatively short and snappy and starts with the broadest issue relevant to the study and ends with the research question and the aim.

  6. How To Structure A Literature Review (Free Template)

    1: The Introduction Section Just like any good introduction, the introduction section of your literature review should introduce the purpose and layout (organisation) of the chapter. In other words, your introduction needs to give the reader a taste of what's to come, and how you're going to lay that out.

  7. Introduction

    As a piece of writing, the literature review must be defined by a guiding concept (e.g., your research objective, the problem or issue you are discussing, or your argumentative thesis). It is not just a descriptive list of the material available, or a set of summaries." Taylor, D. The literature review: A few tips on conducting it.

  8. How to Write a Thesis or Dissertation Introduction

    Knowledge Base Dissertation How to Write a Thesis or Dissertation Introduction How to Write a Thesis or Dissertation Introduction Published on September 7, 2022 by Tegan George and Shona McCombes. Revised on November 21, 2023. The introduction is the first section of your thesis or dissertation, appearing right after the table of contents.

  9. What is a Literature Review?

    Step 1: Search for relevant literature Step 2: Evaluate and select sources Step 3: Identify themes, debates and gaps Step 4: Outline your literature review's structure Step 5: Write your literature review Frequently asked questions about literature reviews Introduction Quick Run-through Step 1 & 2 Step 3 Step 4 Step 5 Why write a literature review?

  10. How to write a literature review in 6 steps

    3. Evaluate and select literature. 4. Analyze the literature. 5. Plan the structure of your literature review. 6. Write your literature review. Other resources to help you write a successful literature review.

  11. 14 Writing a Literature Review: Introduction

    A literature review provides an overview of the relevant work that has been done in a field and can be presented in a separate chapter in a traditional thesis, or as a section near the beginning of each publishable paper in a sandwich thesis. The introduction chapter of a sandwich thesis may also contain a literature review that is broader in ...

  12. Literature review

    A literature review is a type of academic writing that provides an overview of existing knowledge in a particular field of research. A good literature review summarises, analyses, evaluates and synthesises the relevant literature within a particular field of research. It illuminates how knowledge has evolved within the field, highlighting what ...

  13. How To Write A Literature Review (+ Free Template)

    Step 1: Find the relevant literature Naturally, the first step in the literature review journey is to hunt down the existing research that's relevant to your topic. While you probably already have a decent base of this from your research proposal, you need to expand on this substantially in the dissertation or thesis itself.

  14. PDF INTRODUCTION TO LITERATURE REVIEWS

    Body The body of your literature review is intended to give your audience an overview of the already-available research on your topic. This can serve several purposes, including: Establishing your credibility as an informed researcher Illustrating the importance of a particular problem in a field

  15. PDF LITERATURE REVIEWS

    1. EXPLAIN KEY TERMS & CONCEPTS ¡ examine your research questions: do they contain any terms that need to be explained?(e.g. identity, discourse, culture, ideology, gender, narrative, collective memory) ¡ be aware that key definitions and background should be provided in the introduction to orient your reader to the topic. the literature review is the place to provide more extended ...

  16. PDF Writing an Effective Literature Review

    Whatever stage you are at in your academic life, you will have to review the literature and write about it. You will be asked to do this as a student when you write essays, dissertations and theses. Later, whenever you write an academic paper, there will usually be some element of literature review in the introduction. And if you have to

  17. How to Write a Literature Review

    6 Steps for Writing a Literature Review. Writing is just one step in creating your literature review. Before you write anything you will include in your research paper, you need to: Search for relevant sources. Analyze your sources. Make notes on any themes and gaps in the research.

  18. Writing a Research Paper Introduction

    Step 1: Introduce your topic The first job of the introduction is to tell the reader what your topic is and why it's interesting or important. This is generally accomplished with a strong opening hook. The hook is a striking opening sentence that clearly conveys the relevance of your topic.

  19. How to write a fantastic thesis introduction (+15 examples)

    11 minutes read The thesis introduction, usually chapter 1, is one of the most important chapters of a thesis. It sets the scene. It previews key arguments and findings. And it helps the reader to understand the structure of the thesis. In short, a lot is riding on this first chapter.

  20. How to Write a Complete Literature Review for Your Thesis ...

    Before you write a literature review, you need to: Become familiar with the literature. Select which sources are relevant to your thesis topic. Organize your sources. Choose the type of literature review you will write. Arrange your notes to reflect the type of literature review.

  21. Literature Review Tips for the Introduction and Discussion Sections

    The literature reviewed in the introduction should: Introduce the topic. Establish the significance of the study. Provide an overview of the relevant literature. Establish a context for the study using the literature. Identify knowledge gaps. Illustrate how the study will advance knowledge on the topic. As you can see, literature review plays a ...

  22. How To Write A Literature Review Introduction In 10 Steps

    Step 10: Provide A Brief Preview Of The Main Sections. As you conclude your introduction, offer a brief preview of the main sections or themes that you will cover in your literature review. This serves as a roadmap for readers, giving them an overview of the content they can expect in the subsequent sections.

  23. Thesis Literature Review: Your Ultimate Guide

    The introduction: Use the introduction to state the purpose and focus of your literature review. If you are writing the literature review for thesis, make sure that you talk about the central issue that your research will address and provide a summary of existing literature. For stand-alone reviews, provide a background about the subject, the ...

  24. How to write an undergraduate university dissertation

    6. Organise references from the beginning Maintain an alphabetically arranged reference list or bibliography in the designated style as you do your reading. This will make it a lot easier to finalise your references at the end. 7. Create a detailed plan Once you have done your initial research and have an idea of the shape your dissertation will take, write a detailed essay plan outlining your ...

  25. Prof. Carina Benstöm

    1,577 likes, 7 comments - prof_benstoem on February 9, 2024: "There are two types of literature review you need when writing a thesis or research paper: 1️ ..."