Literature reviews are located towards the beginning of the research text. Usually, they are either combined with the introduction or appear as a separate section following the introduction. (For more information, see Thesis and Dissertation Structure).
Irrespective of its location, a literature review should be clearly structured. Particularly if it forms a thesis chapter, it needs to contain an introduction, body, and conclusion.
The introduction usually:
The middle or main body usually:
The conclusion usually:
For more detailed information on structuring your literature review, watch the following series of four videos:
An important part of writing a literature review is to construct your identity as a graduate researcher. In other words, when writing your literature review, you need to develop a voice of authority.
Amongst other things, developing a voice of authority involves learning how to:
For more information on how to write with authority, watch the following videos:
To see how your voice of authority can be developed according to the requirements of specific disciplines, carry out the following literature review activities:
Another central part of developing your researcher identity is writing your literature review critically. Writing critically means that you do not simply summarise or find fault with pieces of literature. It also involves:
In your review, your evaluation of the literature can be significantly enhanced by clearly indicating your stance or position towards the cited sources. This can be done through using accurate reporting verbs. For more information on indicating your stance, check the following resources:
Participating in a Research Writing Group will have many benefits to you and your writing, including:
If you would like to be part of a Research Writing Group, The Research Writing Group Kit has many resources to get you started, plus submit your details on the Request Research Advice form, and an academic skills advisor will be in contact.