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Writing a Literature Review

This purpose of this guide is to assist students with writing literature reviews for research papers in the sciences

Planning the review

Planning the reviewthe first phases, concerns the preparation of accumulating, managing and organizing literature resources relevant for the review. It is a strategic roadmap that explores the literature with the purpose of identifying relevant sources and evaluating whether the content is appropriate for the review. Planning the review defines the scope in terms of what it will cover; how comprehensive the coverage be,and the timeframe.  

Planning the steps in writing a literature review

The actual steps in writing a literature review requires planning. They are: 

Exploring the Literature. The reviewer needs to plan the selection of appropriate databases for finding relevant material, which also requires using strong strategic searching skills. 

Managing the Literature. The reviewer needs a plan for capturing information relevant sources in the literature for their study. Planning the management of information requires establishing a set of criteria for assessing the relevance of the captured resources for the review.  

Organizing and Writing the Review. This step entails two stages. First, the reviewer needs to prepare a robust outline for the chapter. The second stage encompasses the actual writing process. In compiling the content and in writing the review, requires the ability to plan, organize and synthesize information extracted from the literature.    

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