How to Write a Literature Review

How to Write a Literature Review? A Beginner’s Guide

Sooner or later in your academic path, you will be required to compose a literature review. So, it’s important to approach this task well-prepared and understand how to write a literature review inside out. 

Are you interested in how to write lit review projects correctly and cover the subject comprehensively, from all angles? This article will explore the concept of review of literature, dwell on how to write a literature review in line with your professor’s expectations, and share a universal literature review template for your usage. 

What Is the Purpose of a Literature Review? 

To understand what should be included in a literature review, you need to understand its purpose and value in a larger work. A well-researched and written lit review usually addresses the following objectives: 

  • Inform. The fundamental purpose of any review of literature is to provide the foundation of knowledge on a specific topic or phenomenon. You explore what people have learned about it from prior studies and summarize those findings to inform your readers. 
  • Give credit. Another purpose of a lit review is to identify researchers who have contributed to the advancement of research on your chosen literature review topic and have produced the most valuable findings. This way, you pay tribute to those researchers and showcase your knowledge of the most considerable influencers. 
  • Identify gaps. By performing a thorough review of literature, you may not only discover what is known about your topic but also find out what it yet to be learned about it. As a result of reviewing the available evidence, you may identify gaps for addressing through your academic inquiry. 
  • Identify patterns. Those who know how to write a literature review can also effectively embrace data trends and patterns in the collected dataset. As a result, they can present a more nuanced analysis of the existing knowledge in your literature review and uncover dependencies that inform people’s understanding of certain phenomena and processes.  
  • Contextualize research. When you perform lit review writing, you can also create a spot for your own study within the broad field of your academic research interest. This way, you show to your readers that you can effectively navigate the landscape of your academic area. 

These purposes lay the foundation for understanding how to write a literature review that will attain all academic goals. You simply need to use this list as your checklist for structuring an impactful lit review and including all vital data in it. 

How to Write a Literature Review? 

Now, we come to the main topic of this article – how to write a good literature review for dissertation projects, research papers, and other works. Follow the steps we’ve covered below to arrive at a consistent, logical piece of lit review

Identify Relevant Sources 

Any literature review writing starts with academic research. You should look for sources that explore your topic from various angles and provide valuable literature review findings to expand your knowledge on the subject. It’s best to look for subject-specific books first and then go through academic databases that publish journal articles. This way, you will start with the evidence of the highest reliability level and move on to expand your literature review dataset conveniently. 

Screen Sources for Quality 

The best solution on how to write a literature review without challenges is to rely on high-quality evidence. Your task is to research extensively in reliable academic databases to find peer-reviewed academic journals and books written by experts in your field. Don’t over-rely on online sources in your literature review, like blogs or opinion pieces, because they rarely possess the needed degree of credibility for an academic review. By choosing only industry-approved sources from qualified professionals, you can build a solid foundation for your writing and impress the audience. 

Determine Data Patterns and Gaps 

How to write a literature review of value for your readers? One of the best approaches is to go beyond mere summarization of what other researchers have found on the subject and to apply critical thinking and data categorization. This way, you will manage to uncover existing patterns and trends and examine those dependencies in your literature review. A systematic, critical approach is always evaluated much higher than a simple outline of what people say on your subject. 

Draft an Outline 

Now, it’s time to compose an outline for a literature review. The outline should include the main concepts you’re planning to cover in the literature review text and should structure the narrative consistently. By means of composing an outline before the actual writing process, you give yourself a hands-on roadmap for composing a logically flowing piece. As a result of using an outline, you will write the literature review faster and will avoid the risk of going off-topic. 

Compose the Review 

With a good and detailed outline, you should have no more problems or concerns about how to write a literature review. The writing process should go quickly and smoothly when you have all your evidence at your fingertips, categorized by themes and requiring only proper summarization in the text. 

We recommend starting with a broad introduction to the topic and concepts related to it. You should give definitions and explain the topic’s features and components that require attention in the research process. After that, you may briefly outline the main sections of your review and then proceed to the exploration of each section in depth. 

At times, your professor will give you a specific structure for review writing – such as the general introduction, coverage of theories, and then coverage of empirical evidence. At times, it may be a review of the data search strategy and a report on the identified resources that follow. In any case, you should follow the tutor’s prompt closely to ensure compliance with the task. 

Make Use of This Generic Literature Review Template 

Looking for a universal, ready-to-use literature review template? Here is an effective literature review template that everyone can apply with minor tweaks to produce a high-quality review of literature



  • Introduce the topic of your literature review 
  • Examine its significance for your academic area 
  • Determine the scope of your literature review inquiry 
  • Give a brief outline of subtopics and sections included in your literature review 

Body of the literature review

  • Section #1 
    • Describe the subtopic and indicate how it relates to your literature review’s main idea
    • Summarize the evidence available about it 
    • Compare the available data and voice your opinion 
  • Section #2  
    • The same 
  • Section #3 
    • The same 


  • Summarize the main points and findings from your literature review 
  • State the main contribution you have managed to achieve 
  • Identify the research gaps your literature review has revealed 

Use this literature review template to pump your writing muscle and get ready for new literature review challenges. 

More Pro Tips for Writing a Literature Review 

If you’re still unsure about how to do a literature review with excellence, these pro tips may improve your understanding of this task type. 

  • Mind the audience. Understanding how to do a literature review for a research paper often has little to do with how to write literature review for thesis. This difference is explained by the fact that these types of academic work are of different lengths and pursue different scholarly goals. This way, you may need to cover only some basic seminal research in the review of literature for a research paper but will need to dig deeper into theoretical and applied research with deeper analysis and more critical thinking when dealing with a thesis.
  • Mind the length. How long should a literature review be? This is a vital question that you should answer before starting the outlining and writing process. Ask your professor if you’re not sure or apply the rule of thumb, where this section usually takes from 15% to 25% of the entire paper. 
  • Mind the structure. It’s important to cover all lit review aspects that your professor wants to see in the paper; otherwise, you risk getting a low grade even if your literature review is comprehensive and interesting. What should a literature review include? In most cases, you will be required to cover some seminal research works in your literature review to show that you understand who the pioneers in the field are, and what contribution they have made to the topic’s exploration. Next, you should examine relevant theories that inform studies in your subject. At the end of the literature review, you should typically cite a variety of studies of applied nature, thus showing what empirical research is conducted in your academic field.  

With these recommendations at your disposal, you’re sure to become much more proficient in how to do a lit review. If you need more help with a literature review project, welcome to use our professional and quick literature review writing service. Our experts know everything about how to write a literature review, so they will handle your literature review task with ease within the timeframe you set for them.