While there are a lot of different types of review you will be asked to write at college, the one we want to talk about here will be your typical literature review. This is where you will be going through various pieces of literature in your field of study and, essentially, summing all of them up. On this page, we are going to teach you how to write a good review. Don’t worry, it is a lot simpler than you may think.
Know what you are writing about
Literature reviews tend to be very narrow in focus. This means that you need to have a solid understanding of the task. If you don’t know, then make sure that you ask your professor. If you misunderstand the focus, then everything you write will be wrong. The focus is too narrow for you to go ‘off the beaten track’ and still write a good one.
Do your research
A lot of what makes a good review is the amount of research that you put in. The writing doesn’t matter that much when it comes to producing a literature review. It is the research that you put into it. Remember; the whole purpose of this task is to go through the most important studies and articles related to the subject. This is all for your research.
It is likely that you will be given a few starting details about what you are meant to write on. It is rare that you will be given a literature review essay to write before you have studied the subject in class. This means that you should have a decent idea of the main studies. These provide a fantastic starting point because as you go through the main studies, you will find smaller studies that will either support or disprove your point.
Make notes as you go
As you do your research, make sure that you are writing notes each and every step of the way. This will make your job a whole lot easier. After all, you are going to need to use references for the articles you review (use proper citations!), and if you have to go back through all of that research you have collected, it is going to be a waste of time.
The ‘big’ suggestion we can make is to have a few pages of notes. Maybe split up into sections. Write short snippets of bits you may want to include on them. It makes it easy to categorize your research, which will make writing a good review a bit easier.
Write your review
Now, you need to take all that research and put it into your literature review. Thankfully, if you have done your research, then this should be pretty easy. No matter the type of literature review you are writing, the format will be roughly the same:
- Statement (this will be your studies!)
- Comment on statement
- Issues with the study
A literature review isn’t just writing out reams and reams of studies. You need to write about how that particular study applies to the subject you are talking about. If you can’t think of how it applies, then it shouldn’t be included. As we said before; you can’t write a good review if you go off the beaten track. Stay on task. Take this review on Omnipapers as an example and follow it.
As you write these statements out, you will go through your research and find points where you can link up with other studies. Make sure your essay flows well.
Go through and edit
Once you have done this, you can go through and start editing your work. You aren’t just looking for mistakes with your writing here. You are looking for continuity issues. You need to be ruthless with your editing. If something looks like it doesn’t belong in your review, then take it out. It is pointless. You will need to edit several times before you end up with a good review.
Yes. We know that writing a literature review may be wildly different to anything you have done before, but if you follow the guide on this page, we are 100% positive you will end up producing a quality review.