Have you ever written a thesis during your Bachelor’s or Master’s degree? If so, you must’ve been familiar with the literature review as it is the main part of a thesis. Let’s look into how you can make an effective outline for literature review in five key steps:
Step 1: Narrow down your topic
Before you start looking for relevant past research papers, you need to narrow down your topic. After narrowing down your research topic, you can start searching for relevant literature that effectively answers your research question.
At the time of topic research, you need to find out that topic that interests you or something you like to know more about. For this step, you can:
- Start jotting down keywords that are relevant to your topic. Once you keep on searching, you can add other keywords too during the search.
- Brainstorm ideas and ask questions that help you to figure out your selected topic.
- Develop an outline for literature review example by creating a graphical map with all the concepts and ideas you want to include during the review.
Step 2: Evaluate and select sources
After you’ve narrow down your topic, you’ve to make a list of keywords to search for relevant research papers. If you want to write a high-quality literature review, you need to extract material from different trusted sources like online databases, libraries and databases.
After you find credible sources for your literature review, you need to ensure that the sources are relevant to your topic. You need to prioritize these sources that what fits in your literature review and what doesn’t fit. While evaluating and selecting sources, you need to figure out:
- What is the problem addressed in the study?
- What are the key concepts discussed?
- How the research is contributing to the topic?
- What are the results and conclusions of the research?
Step 3: Make structure and outline for literature review
To make an outline for literature review, you can use different approaches. Before you start, you should’ve got a rough idea about how you’re planning to start your literature review.
You don’t have to review any paper while making a proper plan or structure for it. This structure will help you to quickly and easily identify the points that you want to include and this is how a literature review is written.
Step 4: Identify key patterns and themes
Read the previous research papers to identify relationships and make connections among the sources that you’ve used in the texts.
This will be helpful for you to get knowledge about the subject before you start writing and create a proper flow of ideas to make your literature review a simple process.
There are few things that you need to look into during this process:
- Concepts and themes that are discussed throughout the literature review
- Debates around the theories presented in the text
- Weaknesses and gaps identified in the literature review and addressed
- Patterns and trends that are evident and serve as an important part of the review
Step 5: Write your literature review
This is the final step of your outline for literature review and after meeting all the above steps, now you can start writing on your review. You have all the sources, outlines and citations that help you to figure out what points you need to cover.
You need to follow your plan and write according to the structure you’ve created as a draft. You need to avoid making mistakes and errors that make your draft of low quality. For this, you can re-read your draft and proofread twice before submission.
By following all these top five steps of outline for literature review, you’ll be able to write a good quality review. These steps will not only help you to attain good marks in your review, but you can also produce high-quality literature review by saving your precious time.
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