The first thing which is needed to be answered is what is literature review in research?  A literature review is an account of what has already been published on a topic by noted scholars and researchers. More often than not, a literature review is a part of introduction to an essay, research report or a thesis. The main purpose of writing a literature review is to convey to the reader what ideas have been established on a topic and what are their strengths and weaknesses are.  Writing literature reviews are not only about listing the material available or a set of summaries, but explaining to the reader about one's own opinion about them.

A literature review must:

  • be organized around and related to the main thesis
  • synthesize the results in to a summary of the known and the unknown
  • also identify and segregate the controversial areas
  • formulate questions and problems that require further research and solutions

Writing literature review helps in enlarging the knowledge about the topic, gain information seeking skills through manual or computerised methods and critically appraise the principles of analysis to identify valid studies. There are many handbooks as well as internet sites which provide literature review samples.  The first thing to be kept in mind is the literature review outline template which helps in two most important things. First, provides with a intense sense of what should and should not get included in your literature review outline. Second, it enables you to see how formatting of  literature review outlinecan help with organization and the flow of writing for a winning paper.

A literature review also includes suggestions about what needs to be done to increase the understanding of a problem. The articles cited must be from professional sources such as recognized authors, newspapers or journals to keep the trust factor. A literature review has four main sections:

  • The introduction, where the topic is briefly introduced. Its importance and relevance is explained along with other terms which are needed to be known.
  • The summary of the articles, where the references are mentioned briefly. The name of the author and his works need to be mentioned. The method of gathering the information is also important in this section.
  • The conclusion, where the major findings are briefly summarised. Any lingering questions can also be included in this part.
  • References, where the full name, work, publisher and other details are explained. This is usually done on a separate page and is not along with the literature review. This is included as a part of literature review because it follows from the references mentioned here.

Some basic tips on how to write a decent literature review:

a) The relevance and importance of the topic should be mentioned

b) By avoiding any controversial global statements, the problem area should be identified

c) The importance of certain topics over others should be spoken about

d) The sources of information needs to be discussed

e) The specific time period should be mentioned

f) Any reference made on other reviews should also be mentioned, the sources should be cited

g) If a particular part of the research was not available and it is important, its recommended to mention it and also the reason behind the failure to gather the data

h) All references should be cited, and any useless references should be avoided altogether

It is advisable to go through a standard literature review sample, hundreds of which can be found on the internet across numerous websites. Those sample literature review can be of a great help in coaching students about what it actually means and hoe to go about it. Sample literature review paper will mainly show the format of a literature review, the style of writing, give the methodology of how it has been written and provide additional tips on how to compose one by self. Many sites offer literature reviews for sale, however, it is not recommended to buy literature review and pass it off as one's own. There is always a certain credit for original work and if writing is practised, one can only get better with passing time, besides anything else.