Literature Review Definition: Why Is It Done?

A literature review is done in order to clarify the areas of prior research of the matter you’ve currently undertaken. If you have coursework to write, research, term paper or whatever another sort of writing, have no time to do the search yourself – then literature reviews will be your saviors. It gives you all the background you need in any discipline, which comes very in handy when doing any research. Now let’s clarify on literature review definition.

What Is a Literature Review: Closer Look

In a nutshell, literature reviews have the following definition: It’s a list of all the sources you have used while writing something. It can be everything: books, website links, journals – literally any source of information. It’s mostly done in coursework and research papers by students in universities. That helps to clarify the research data, as well as to ensure that the researcher uses checked and accurate data.

But the true literature review meaning is much more profound. It’s not just a mere list of all used sources. It is a collection of reports to professionals, who need to stay always updated. And to scholars, it is a mark that signifies a writer’s credibility and shows how experienced he is in his particular field. You don’t only show that you used information from those sources, but it also indicates that you stay up to date with the discipline and that you’re interested in it.

What Is the Purpose of a Literature Review and Its Feature

The first major purpose of a literature review is, of course, to mention all the sources which have been used.

But it’s much more than that. A research paper’s focus is to introduce some new argument to think about, and the purpose of a literature review in a research study is to provide you with excessive data you may use to support your new insight.

There are the three main purposes of a literature review:

  • To survey the literature on an area of study;
  • To present information in literature as an organized sum up;
  • To critically analyze data (To find gaps in modern theories and points of view, show where further research may be done and to review all the controversial moments).

So the main purpose of a literature review is basically to be a sum up of all the ideas and insights in a nice, short and easy to read way. It also will demonstrate that you're familiar with a body of knowledge and are thus credible. Without this everything you’ve written won’t be taken seriously into account.

Literature Review Outline: Write with a Roadmap

So, before doing an outline for a literature review, let’s take some steps to make it a much easier task for you. It will also help you to avoid mistakes so that you didn’t have to do it over again.

  1. Finding a decent topic is essential. So think what you find the most interesting and what has a lot of research potential. Talking to professor and brainstorming after reading lecture notes and recent writes in this field will definitely help. What is interesting to you and others, choose some study area that’s worth reviewing.
  2. Working with literature. It is called a literature review for a reason. Remember to look through reference lists to recent articles in your field – they may lead to some valuable data. Also, don’t forget to include some other points of view in your study and not only yours. Think of exact time span you may need for research.
  3. While reviewing your sources. Analyze what the assumptions of writers are and the methods they use. Evaluate all the findings and conclusions that have been drawn. Write down experts of the field and their names, especially those that are often mentioned.
    Look up all the conflicting theories, methods and conclusions as well as their popularity that has or hasn’t changed with time.
  4. Look for examples. Check out literature reviews of your discipline and examine them. It is how you’ll know what is expected and you will also have your little model.
  5. How your literature review should be composed. There are the three main parts of any piece of writing: the introduction, body, and conclusion.
    • In the introduction, you aim to explain what your focus is and how important the subject is. Tell what work was done on the topic and tell background history. You could also write why you decide to choose this specific topic.
    • In the body, which is divided by headings and subheadings, give all the major information. That is literally the biggest part of your literature review. Discuss all the research that leads to your project.
    • In conclusion, sum up all your evidence and present it. Give your final verdict on the matter and tell what further research may be undertaken.

Remember our professional advice and be ready to prepare top-notch writing easily. Good Luck!