How To Write A Literature Review For Dummies

Jeremy Woods
Sep 13, 2021   •  8 views

Can you write a literature review in less than 30 minutes? We cannot promise that exactly, but we can promise that in 30 minutes you will come up with a well-thought-out skeleton of your review, and very soon you will finish the whole thing. Does it sound impossible? Hardly. We have a technique that was checked on many students, and it really works if you follow it step-by-step. Normally, you would need much more time to deal with this kind of assignment, but with our guide you can beat that scarily close deadline.


Completing a Literature Review in 6 Steps

If you have already done good research, summarized the source, written them up, and maybe you have already finished the annotated bibliography. If you didn’t — please do that first. It is not a good idea to write a literature review finding and describing books one by one. The processes should go in parallel, you need to work on annotated bibliography first, put everything together nice and tight and only later start writing an actual literature review. If you insist on the standard way, when you find some source, format it, describe it, and only later start looking for another one — you will just spend too much time, and our goal today is to learn how to write a literature review of a needed quality really fast.

  • Strip the summaries. You need to divide the information into two parts — the citations themselves (alphabetized) and the descriptions, the summaries, the short impressions about the sources (with the author and year noted according to the required citation style, be it MLA, APA, Harvard or any other). Save the references and later use them in the end, now you just need the paragraphs. Here, you are getting closer to the crude version of your literature review. Remember, that the year of publication should be only referred to one time.

  • Reorganize the paragraphs into a logical sequence. You need to reread the paragraphs very fast, and think about similarities and differences they have. This will help you to reorganize them accordingly. You need to make a logical structure, putting them one after another as if you are actually telling the story. So be very careful about how the logic clicks — how the end of one paragraph is connected with the beginning of another.

  • Combine paragraphs if necessary. You need to identify the problem-solution pattern in those summaries, and combine them accordingly. After that you need to decide which summaries can still stand alone and which should be united. The ones that are united should be logically connected and close by meaning and the topic, and also, their combination should not exceed 15 lines.

  • Add topic sentences and transitions where necessary. Obviously, it won’t work that smoothly, you will still have to create some connections to make your text flow. Just don’t add too much text, first of all, we don’t have time for that, second, the volume of literature review is rather limited.

  • Don’t forget about introduction and conclusions. A brief introduction and conclusion are necessary, but once you are done reading and reorganizing those paragraphs you will definitely know what to write about. That is why we don’t recommend starting with writing an introduction. 

  • Proofread thoroughly. Here is the part that most of the students claim “they don’t have time for.” Well, you should have time, because polished work looks so much better than a rough draft. Use online service to work on it, there are lots of services with free or cheap proofreading apps. Even that rough proofreading will make a big difference. If you need to speed the process of finding mistakes and technical omissions up, read your literature review aloud — when we read aloud we skip much less things than when we do it just with our eyes. It happens because of different zones of our brain being activated, but it is not the time to dive into those details.

Yes, before the proofreading part all you get is just a rough draft, but even a rough draft is better than two-three sources that are perfectly described. You cannot send your professor a description, even the most perfect one, of just two-three sources, right? It just won’t work. Absolutely. So focus on completing as many descriptions as you can in a given time. Later, you won’t need this list, you will do everything by memory, but for now, we strongly advise you to follow these tips, save this article to bookmarks and come back to it, when you need to write another literature review. 

Extra Tips for Busy Students

And there is one more option — you just don’t have time to learn this new technique or any other technique for that matter and you just need your literature review written on time. Well, then your primary option is to address a reliable service with your write my literature review request, and receive the result you actually count on. It is a fast option and it can actually help you out if the deadline is too close and you have other things to do as well. We have all been in that situation — everything piles up and you get stuck even with the tasks that normally are not a problem for you. Addressing a professional writing service you protect yourself from problems with late submissions and also receive a quality written sample that you can use as another form of study later. Also, delegating some of your tasks helps fight procrastination in general — when you are under too much pressure, your creativity gets too low, and your motivation follows. Make rational choices, remember about your primary goal, and when you have time, pay attention to this literature review writing technique, because it is really worth it.