Skip to content

Literature Review: Definition, Purpose, Benefits, Tips and Techniques for Beginners

What is a literature review in research

You’ll probably need to do a literature review (review of literature) when writing a thesis, dissertation, or research paper to place your work within the body of existing knowledge.

In this literature review guide, we will discuss literature review meaning, the literature review outline, how to write a literature review, the purpose of the literature review, literature review example, etc.

What is a literature review in research?

A literature review is an in-depth evaluation and analysis of the literature or sources that are available on a topic or research question. To determine the present state of knowledge and gaps in the subject, it entails critically analyzing and synthesizing previously published academic and scholarly works, including research papers, publications, and articles. 

A literature review helps to find topics for additional study and development by providing a summary, synthesis, and critical evaluation of the available literature that is pertinent to the research question or issue.

A literature review is written in five steps, which are as follows:

  • Look up related literature
  • Analyze the sources
  • Determine the themes, arguments, and gaps.
  • Outline the structure.
  • Write a review of the literature.

Types of literature reviews

4 major types of literature reviews:

The purpose of a literature review

A literature review’s objective is to offer an overview and critical assessment of the body of previous research on a certain subject. The review ought to provide information on the state of the field’s existing understanding, point out gaps in the literature, and develop a case for why more study is necessary. 

A literature review frequently serves as the basis for research projects, dissertations, and other scholarly works in both academic and professional settings.

The literature review gives you a chance to:

  • Show that you are knowledgeable about the subject and the scholarly background.
  • Create a theoretical framework and a research methodology.
  • Consider how your work compares to those of other scholars and theorists.
  • Show how your research fills a gap or advances a discussion.
  • Analyze the research’s current state and show that you are knowledgeable about the scholarly discussions surrounding your chosen issue.

Why is a literature review so important?

A review of the literature is significant since it:

  • explains the history of the topic’s research.
  • explains why a topic is important to a certain field of study.
  • establishes connections between research projects or concepts.
  • identifies key ideas, theories, and scholars on a subject.
  • locates significant contradictions and gaps.
  • explains potential follow-up research issues that naturally result from the earlier findings.

Benefits of literature reviews

  • Literature reviews allow you to gain familiarity with the current knowledge in your chosen field, as well as the boundaries and limitations of that field.
  • It also help you to gain an understanding of the theory(ies) driving the field, allowing you to place your research question into context.
  • Literature reviews provide an opportunity for you to see and even evaluate successful and unsuccessful assessment and research methods in your field.
  • Literature reviews prevent you from duplicating the same information as others writing in your field, allowing you to find your own, unique approach to your topic.
  • Literature reviews give you familiarity with the knowledge in your field, giving you the chance to analyze the significance of your additional research.

How to conduct a literature review?

Let’s dive into finding the answer to how to write a good literature review for a research paper. How to start a literature review

1. Define your research question or topic:

This should be a key guiding factor in your literature review. Determine the scope, objectives, and focus of your literature review.

2. Conduct a comprehensive search:

Utilize various online databases, search engines, and academic journals in your field of study to obtain relevant literature materials.

3. Evaluate the literature:

It’s necessary to determine the quality of the literature you have gathered. This includes noting the date of publication, the status of the author, the methodology, and key findings and recommendations.

4. Analyze and synthesize:

Synthesizing and evaluating the literature helps to uncover commonalities, themes, and contradictions. This can be done through note-taking, writing summaries and key points, and creating tables to summarize the information.

5. Organize the literature:

Group your literature according to themes, concepts or issues in your research question. This makes it easy to refer back and find relevant literature easily.

6. Write the literature review:

This step involves writing the literature review, which should begin with an introduction, a description of the aim and methodology of the literature review, and a clear and concise overview of the themes, concepts, and arguments discovered during the evaluation of literature.

7. Cite the sources:

Appropriate citations and referencing of the literature help to avoid plagiarism, and enable other researchers to trace your sources of information.

8. Edit and finalize:

Proofread for grammatical errors, formatting, and citation accuracy. Be sure to convey your thoughts, and ensure the literature review flows logically and coherently.

Proven tips on writing a literature review in research.

Here are some tips and steps to do a scientific literature review:

Literature review guidelines pdf download

1. Define your research question or topic: Before you begin your literature review, you need to define your research question or topic. This will help you focus your search and ensure that you gather relevant literature.

2. Search for literature: Use a variety of academic databases, such as Google Scholar, JSTOR, and Pubmed, to find relevant papers and articles for your literature review. Use relevant keywords and search terms to refine your search.

3. Record your search process: It is recommended to save your search parameters and record the number of articles you found, and the resources you reviewed for future reference.

4. Review and screen the literature: After you gathered a large pool of relevant literature, it’s important to go through them carefully to identify and remove duplicate papers, irrelevant articles, or low-quality research material.

5. Organize your literature: Once you have created a list of literature that will be included in your review, organize them according to the themes relevant to your research question. This can help you spot gaps and inconsistencies in the literature.

6. Evaluate the literature: While reading and accessing the literature of your choice, it’s essential that you critically evaluate each article based on factors such as the research method, publication date, author credibility, sample size, and analysis methods.

7. Prepare an outline: Using a systematic framework create a plan for organizing your literature review (commonly Introduction, Background, Themes, Gaps, and Conclusion)

8. Write and edit: Begin writing your literature review once you’ve planned and organized your articles. Ensure arguments need to be coherent and relevant to the research question to tie it all together.

9. Reference your sources: Make sure to give credit to the authors of the sources used in your literature review by citing them correctly, whether it is APA, MLA, or any other citation style.

10. Proofread: Finally, proofread, and edit your literature review to make sure it’s clear, coherent, and free of any spelling, and grammatical errors.

See Also: What is Research: Definition, Research Methods, Types


We have tried our best to answer the top search queries like literature review sample, literature review in research, literature review format, literature review sample pdf, literature review pdf literature review in the research example, still you need further info you can contact us.


Home – Literature Review: Conducting & Writing – LibGuides at University of West Florida Libraries (


  • skillshouter Team

    At SkillShouter, we help you find the best tutorials, courses, and certifications online. Experts come together to handpick great courses for needy learners. We provide demanding high-quality, well-researched reviews, and comparisons for those looking to start online and campus courses.

    View all posts

Leave a Reply

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