Table of Contents
I. What is a literature review?
A literature review is a collection, categorization, and evaluation of what other researchers have written on a specific topic. A literature review is typically included as part of a research thesis, but it can also be used as a stand-alone review of writings on a specific topic. In either case, the purpose is to:
- Place each work in the context of its contribution to the subject under review;
- Describe the relationship of each work to the others under consideration;
- Identify new ways to interpret, and shed light on any gaps in, previous research;
- Resolve conflicts amongst seemingly contradictory previous studies;
- Identify areas of prior scholarship to prevent duplication of effort;
- Point the way forward for further research;
- Place an original piece of research in the context of existing literature.
You can think of the above points as goals to be achieved in the process of writing a literature review.
Before you can achieve any of these goals, however, you need to narrow down the possible subject areas into a relatively well-defined problem/issue, research question, or research objective.
II. Selecting the topic and the literature
A. Pick a topic
Picking a topic for the project tends to be a daunting task for many students because it is difficult to pick a topic in an area that you don’t know much about. A common mistake is spending too much time trying to pick the perfect topic. It is, therefore, best to do some exploring, then pick a topic and go with it. In the end, the worst that can happen is that you have picked up some valuable research skills, but realize the topic you chose is not one you wish to pursue in the future. That is information you did not have at the beginning of the semester, so it is not a loss at all!
To help yourself with the topic selection here are some things you should definitely do before the first midterm:
- Think about topics that have piqued your interest during your study. This is a good starting point but keep in mind that the topics covered in your study classes can be very large, and there is likely to be a lot of literature to choose from within each of them. If you can’t think of anything at this point that interests you, you’ll need to narrow down your topic even further. Look at the main field journal at the library (for example, in International Trade, the main field journal is the Journal of International Economics). Several papers in possible areas of interest will be included in each issue of the main field journal. You may also look at some websites that deal with the topic of interest and see if they reference any data sources.
- Once you’ve decided on a topic, the next step is to come up with a research question or thesis statement that will lead you through the literature review writing process. This is the section where you narrow down the topic even further. The simpler it will be to choose the papers or texts to be checked if your research question (topic, problem/issue) is well-defined. Finally, a clearly identified subject will allow you to write a literature review that provides a centred and well-structured overview of what others have done in the field. Your literature review is in danger of being a pointless “shopping list” of previous studies if you don’t have a clear topic in mind.
- After you have completed the preceding steps, make a 30-minute appointment with your guide or an expert to discuss your topic, research question, and any other questions you may have.
Outline of Literature Review
Once you have selected a topic for your literature review, it is advisable to come up with an outline for the paper. An outline allows you to plan out your writing. It guides the articulation of each idea supporting your thesis. It is, however, important to note that an outline is simply a guide. It needn’t dictate the paper structure. Before you create your paper outline, it is important to have a general idea of the type of structure most favourable for your paper. For example, you may find that the chronological arrangement of references favours your argument. In such a case you would favour a chronological outline. For other types of literature reviews, you may find that juxtaposing contrasting citations will substitute your central argument. In this case, a compare/contrast outline will be favourable.
After selecting an outline for the paper, you can now formulate a detailed paper structure. A literature review follows the format outlined below.
Section 1: Introduction
The introduction defines the topic, its scope and relevance to the subject. When writing your introduction, you need to capture the reader’s attention by being clear and concise. The main argument is stated in the form of a thesis. A good formal statement is presented in the form of a single arguable statement. The statement captures your main argument, thereby highlighting the basis of your literature review.
Section 2: Body
The body constitutes the bulk of your literature review. In this section, you discuss the subject in the context of existing research. You also appraise sources and compare knowledge resources. This analysis should be thorough and systematic.
Depending on the type of review you are undertaking, you can present literature chronologically or thematically. In the chronological approach, the evolution of knowledge is highlighted showing how research has developed over time. Using a thematic approach, similar knowledge is discussed, appraised and contrasted with contrasting schools of thought. Using both approaches, it is important to maintain a cohesive flow of ideas through logical connections and transitions. Do not forget to analyse the methodology of each study discussed, as well as its ramifications for research findings.
When presenting your ideas, it is advisable to start with a general concept before narrowing your argument by including detailed arguments. This approach is useful for readers who may not have an in-depth understanding of your topic. Use paragraphs to group similar themes. Include as many paragraphs as necessary to highlight the different arguments in favour of your thesis.
Section 3: Conclusion
Your conclusion wraps up your discussion by pointing out the key strengths of your argument and the weaknesses of divergent opinions. It summarizes the insight derived from the literature review, highlighting how it supports the thesis. The conclusion should be short, ideally a couple of paragraphs. This allows you to sum up your argument comprehensively but precisely.
MLA Literature Review
If you are writing a paper in the arts or humanities, then you are likely to use the MLA referencing style. This referencing manual was introduced by the Modern Language Association of America to provide a manual for clear, concise academic writing. Most literature reviewers centre follow the latest MLA referencing guidelines ensuring that each review uses credible and verifiable citations.
By following the established MLA guidelines, we deliver papers that are consistent and professional. Proper citations are critical for research documentation. Citations identify the source of information thereby demonstrating the validity of an argument.
MLA formatting ensures that a literature review is professionally presented and academically grounded. Formatting rules to observe when using this reference manual include:
- Use 1-inch margins on all sides
- Use Double-spaced
- Use professional 12 point font, preferably Times New Roman
- Include page headers specifying the author’s name and page numbers
MLA styling does not require a title page. Writers are, however, required to include a heading outlining the authors’ name, the course instructor, the course name and the writing date. The essay title is also mandatory. It should be included at the beginning of the paper, centred underlined, and italicized. Alternatively, it can be written in capital letters. In addition, authors are advised to use active voice whenever possible. We ensure that each MLA formatted paper follows these guidelines, which are included as part of the MLA eighth edition. View an MLA sample paper from our company here:
MLA Literature Review Help Benefits
Writing a quality literature review in MLA style requires adept knowledge of the manual’s referencing guidelines. When you submit an MLA writing review assignment to our experts, you are assured of high-quality references. We use up-to-date sources to ensure that all information is relevant to the assignment. By citing all sources correctly, we ensure that your writing is authentic. Our writers recognize the particular details of MLA writing style and paper structure. Thus, our MLA Reviews are guaranteed to meet your requirements.
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MLA writing requires attention to details concerning cited pages, and authorship. Students that overlook details may end up losing marks due to poor formatting. In some cases, failure to cite a source correctly can even lead to accusations of plagiarism. Do not let poor referencing ruin your grade.
The quality of a literature review is significantly determined by the sources quoted therein. When writing an MLA review, you should quote sources relevant to the subject matter. Working with our company gives you access to academic resources. We have accumulated (d) an arsenal of research data from various subjects in the arts and humanities. We can deliver a copy of sources used at your request, giving you access to helpful academic information.
APA Literature Review
APA is an acronym for the American Psychological Association – the author of the APA referencing manual. APA uses an author name and year combination to denote in-text citations. These citations crucially identify the source of information included in a paper. A reference list is included at the end of the paper.
APA guidelines enable you to recognize cited authors consistently and simply. APA papers feature a title page, a table of contents page, a reference page, index pages, and appendices. This structure allows readers to browse through the content easily. When reviewing sources, APA gives a detailed guideline for presentation and structuring of the content. The intricate specifications on page outline, numbering, bibliography writing and in-text citation should be observed to the letter.
When it comes to writing an APA literature review, you can trust the writers at the Literature review centre to deliver a paper that follows all structural and formatting guidelines. We have produced over 10000 APA style literature reviews. Our writing experience is precisely what you need to perfect your research paper. Proper referencing gives due credit to academic sources. It allows readers to easily validate academic claims. This is why you cannot afford to go wrong with formatting. If you have already written your paper, you can enlist our APA proofreaders to perfect your draft. We can also write your paper from scratch allowing you to achieve maximum grades. Contact us today for a professionally written APA paper.
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