4 Golden Rules to Follow When Writing a Literature Review

What is a Literature Review?

A literature review is a review of published information in a particular subject area. In other cases, a literature review provides a list of credible sources with references. It follows an organizational pattern that provides a summary of the information involved. A literature review can give an overview of old material with new knowledge in the field of study.

Literature reviews have been used to track intellectual progression in a related field of study. Some writers might use the review to evaluate their stance based on the sources used. It forms new deductions that apply in the current world.

Most people often confuse between an academic paper and a literature review. An academic paper majorly brings a new argument. A literature review is part of a research paper.

Golden Rules of Literature Review Writing

Just like any other course, a literature review follows a specific structure. Here are standard rules you should uphold when writing the piece:

Defining Topic and Audience

The contemporary world is full of many issues. We might have the same ideas on tackling some of the issues in the current society. When selecting the topic, here are features you should look out for:

  • The topic should be interesting to you
  • The topic should cover an aspect related to your field of study
  • The topic should be a well-discussed issue

Researching on Literature

You will find that there are previous researches on your topic of research. However, it does not mean the researches covered all aspects related to the issue. You can use the chance to bring to light new issues or new information to change the stance. Remember, research is about getting to light new information or building on previous ones. When it comes to researching, here are basics you should uphold:

  1. Track all the search items to use
  2. Maintain a list of previous researches
  3. Compare researches to find gaps
  4. Exclude some irrelevant issues

Maintaining Focus

It is easy to find yourself drifting off course from what you intended to research. This is not your fault; there are many intermittent issues in contemporary science. Your objectives are guiding a recommendation for maintaining focus on your research. What you hope to achieve with the research ensures you keep within the scope of the study. It would help if you also made the review relevant to a broad audience interested in the topic. 


A literature review is not dumping all information you find. A good review collects all the relevant information and tries to analyze it. It helps in the formation of methodological methods while pointing out research gaps. The review should give you a hint of the:

  1. Critical milestones in the study field
  2. Points of debate
  3. Research questions
  4. Research gap

While others might map what has been achieved, others can form part of what remains an unresolved pave for more research. The consistency comes with the flow of ideas. In case you choose an active voice, it should cover the remaining part of the review. The ideas should flow naturally while linking with other knowledge areas. The readers should feel a sense of direction with the research.

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