Lit Review Writing Guidelines and Formats
There are several situations necessitating the writing of a literature research, with varying expectations and disciplines, and all have key field-specific objectives for their diverse definition of a literature review and its uses. For example, authors may include more overt argumentation, deduction, inferences, and interpretation of source material in the humanities. In the sciences, writers and researchers tend to report study designs, methodology, and results; hence, these variation reflect the purposes, direction, and conventions in these disciplines. For literature reviews and any other genre, you should study examples from your specific and subject field, and speak with professors or experts in your expertise to ensure you know your discipline’s conventions.
They can also be included in a scholarly article or research publication, typically following the introduction and right before the research methodology. In such cases, the lit review should only cover research relevant to the topic you are writing on. Occasionally, it will include critical sources that premised and themed your research methods.
Lit reviews can also be used as standalone publications, either as class works or publications. They may also be assigned in a class to assist students become acquainted with a subject topic and scholarly publication, gain an understanding of the other researchers write-ups on the topic of interest, identify existing research gaps to propose new projects topics, and develop a central theoretical framework, viewpoint, and methodology for future research. A lit review, as a publication, is typically intended to make the lives of other scholars, scientists, and researchers easier by synthesizing, collecting, summarizing, and analyzing existing research on the subject topic. This is especially useful for scholars entering a new research field or guiding a large community of researchers toward unanswered questions.
How to Organize and Structure a Literature Review
Depending on what you hope to get with the review, lit reviews can take varying and diverse organizational forms. Here are a couple of examples:
The most basic approach is to find the evolution of the topic from about a long time, which makes the audience become acquainted with the case. Do ensure that you avoid summarizing and listing sources in chronological order if you use this strategy. Try to analyze the patterns, turning point, and critical debates that have shaped or marred the field’s direction. Provide your inferences, interpretation, and findings of why and how certain developments or results occurred (If this is not applicable in your discipline; consult a teacher).
Suppose you have discovered some recurrent salient themes that you can work with on your paper. In that case, you can arrange and organize your review into subsections that will address different areas of the topic. Peradventures, if you happen to be reviewing the literature on women and religion, for example, main themes could be the role of women in churches or religious attitudes toward women.
You can also compare the results and conclusions arising from varying approaches if you happen to draw your sources from other fields that use various research methodology. Examples include:
- Comparing qualitative and quantitative research
- Theoretical versus empirical scholarship
- Separate the research into historical, sociological, and cultural sources.
The literature review serves as the theoretical framework in many humanities articles. It can discusses and elaborate on various theories, models, and key concept definitions. Of course, you can argue about the importance of a particular theoretical approach or combine different theoretical key concepts to create a perfect framework for your research.