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How to... write a literature review

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To write a literature review, you must first decide what form the review will take – descriptive or a critical assessment. You need to look at the relationships between different views and draw out key themes, and you must structure it appropriately. See our 4 Step Guide to Writing a Literature Review to find out more.

What is a literature review?

A literature review describes academic papers which are relevant to a particular field or topic. It provides an overview of the main theories and hypotheses, appropriate methods and methodologies, what questions are being asked, the key findings, and who the key writers are.

Why do a literature review?

By reviewing other literature in your subject area, you can see what did and didn’t work for other researchers. It also allows you to demonstrate that you have a good understanding of the key published work in the field.

How do you conduct a literature review?

You can approach your literature review by breaking it down into a number of stages:

  1. Define the problem
  2. Search for relevant materials
  3. Evaluate the materials
  4. Analyse the findings

You then need to organize your review into an introduction, the main body, and the conclusion.

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