Literature review writing is regarded to be one of the most challenging and complicated types of assignments. A literature review can be written as a separate task or it may be a complementary part to some larger research project or coursework. Whatever option you need to focus on, keep in mind that a literature review is written according to specific academic standards and rules. Therefore, if you have been assigned a literature review, it is necessary to have the answer to the question, “How long is a literature review?” – especially in consideration of whether it is a separate assignment or a part of some thesis or research paper.
If you want to come up with a successful literature review, be sure to find the necessary sources, collect the evidence, critically analyze the sources, and provide their evaluation as to what contribution they have made into the research field. Besides, while working on your literature review, you need to find out the existing gaps in the research. You can analyze different sources and see what aspects have not been investigated yet. Judging from this description, the whole process of working on a literature review may take up much time and effort. So, consider this when planning your writing process.
The very literature review is about careful and extensive reading and reporting about what has been studied. It is necessary to cover different sources related to the given topic and then come up with ideas about what areas could be further investigated.
What Is a Literature Review?
A literature review is an academic paper that intends to provide a comprehensive summary of the main ideas found in the credible sources on the given topic as well as to critically analyze the contribution of the work to the overall research field. If you ask, “How long is a literature review?” keep in mind that the length depends on the requirements, but in general it can vary from 3,000 to 10,000 words. For students of different academic levels, it can be one of the most challenging assignments that require a lot of time, energy, and effort. To come up with a well-organized literature review, you need to find sources that are peer-reviewed, up-to-date, and credible in terms of their findings, carefully read and study them, and then provide a critical analysis and evaluation of these works. On the whole, it may take from a few days to a few weeks to cope with the literature review writing. So, it is no wonder that so many students struggle with this assignment and try to rely on professional help with it.
The Importance of Conducting a Literature Review
When you work on a literature review, you are expected to delve deeper into some topic and understand the importance of the review to the overall research. In general, a literature review has specific functions that are discussed below:
- It helps establish a rapport with the target readers. Thanks to the reviewed literature, your target audience will become better informed about the main idea or message that you intended to convey. Besides, your literature review will serve as proof that your paper is credible and trustworthy.
- It ensures that the text is not plagiarized. Whenever you take information, facts or some specific details from outside sources but do not cite them properly in text, it means that your paper is plagiarized. When you refer to some points and provide in-text citations, you clearly indicate where you have taken them. More so, your readers can then use the sources that you have cited for their own purposes.
- It highlights the focus of your research. Taking facts from other research and relying on expert evidence also helps to see the relevance of your research. Therefore, it adds credibility to your paper as well.
How to Write a Scientific Literature Review?
- Find out the main purpose of writing. Try to figure out what ideas you have to cover in the literature review. What do you create it for? What would you like to discover in the literature? To provide answers to your questions, you can take a look at the criteria provided in the paper requirements.
- Carry out an extensive investigation of the relevant sources. Find out what information already exists on your topic.
- Decide what type of literature you need to rely on. You need to choose only the most appropriate and relevant sources that are authoritative and up-to-date. Try to use versatile sources, such as books, journals, websites, official and governmental articles, proceedings from conferences, and others.
- Make sure you cover the required number of resources. Normally, it depends on the purpose of the literature review and its level of complexity.
- Jot down the main bibliographic information about each source in the process of exploring them. When you postpone this process of citing and referencing to the end, it may be difficult to remember all the details. If you do it within the research process, you will save your time in the end.
- Read the literature. You need to read each source carefully and in detail and take a critical approach to each of them. Besides, find the main argument of each source and write it out. On the whole, try to take notes of the most important ideas from the sources.
- Provide an analysis of each source you have found. You have to evaluate each source according to the following criteria:
- focus on the key concepts and terms;
- comment on how well the author has structured and organized the thoughts;
- analyze similarities and differences between the sources you have chosen;
- comment on whether the sources (or authors) are authoritative enough;
- highlight any existing gaps that should be further studied.
- Write the review. Start by formulating the thesis statement and then think of ways to further develop ideas throughout the body paragraphs.
Also, Book Review article can be interesting for you.
How to Organize a Literature Review
- specify why you are writing the review;
- focus on the topic significance;
- mention the scope of the literature review, specifically what topics or areas it will focus on;
- specify your criteria for choosing certain sources;
- outline the way your review will be organized.
Each body paragraph of your paper should be devoted to a separate idea. Make sure that the ideas are relevant to the topic on the whole and to the thesis statement in particular. Try to synthesize sources according to certain criteria, for example, structure, topic, etc. For example, you may devote your body paragraphs to methodologies, historical background, some previous findings, conventional versus modern perspectives, and others.
Sum up the main similarities and differences, as well as agreements and disagreements. Highlight the main gaps in the conducted research and pinpoint the further focuses of study. You can also end the conclusive section with your own evaluation of the significance of the study and its main findings.
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