A literature review is a survey of methods, relevant theories, and gaps in existing research. Writing a review demands a literature review outline to complete the task systematically. Most students lack the skills to write academic papers, specifically literature reviews. In this blog, our essay writers will guide you on how to format a good outline and provide literature review topics to choose from. They also help students write their literature review assignments.
What is a Literature Review Outline?
Students frequently inquire about the definition of a literature review because it is a less prevalent kind of academic writing. A literature review is a body of work that investigates multiple publications within a particular subject area and occasionally within a predetermined timeframe.
For this kind of writing, you must read and evaluate various sources relevant to the main topic and provide each reader’s understanding of the sources. An outline is a structure used to write a literature review. A literature review should incorporate a summary and a synthesis of the sources. A synthesis is a reorganization of the information that provides the work a new and distinctive meaning. A summary is a concise overview of the key information in the publication.
A literature review frequently forms a portion of a longer essay, like a thesis or dissertation. You might also receive it as a stand-alone task, though.
The Purpose of a Literature Review Outline
A literature review’s principal objective is to summarize and synthesize the concepts put forward by earlier authors without including any personal viewpoints or other new material.
The goal of an outline, however, is to identify the structure of the text rather than simply listing summary versions of the sources. A literature review has the primary organizing concept, just like a research article has a thesis that keeps it on track (MOP). Identifying the MOP and demonstrating its presence in all of your supporting materials are the objectives of this academic writing style.
What makes a literature review crucial? The following objectives that such work strives to achieve help to illustrate its value:
- Emphasizes the importance of the primary issue within a certain subject area.
- Illustrates and illustrates the historical context of a study on a certain topic.
- Assists in identifying the main ideas, rules, theories, and scholars studying a subject.
- Aids in illuminating connections between theories and research on a subject.
- Outlines the primary discussion topics and information gaps within a subject.
- Postulates inquiries to guide primary research in light of earlier investigations.
Types of Literature Review
There are several ways to accomplish the goal we covered above. This means you must use a literature review outline that matches your preferences.
What differentiates them?
It’s their research design and organization. Let’s dissect each category:
Systematic Literature Review
The most precise and well-defined type is the systematic literature review. It describes, assesses, and appraises the subject of study. To have a general understanding of a certain research field is the goal.
Both meta-analysis and meta-synthesis apply to it. Deductive or inductive approaches are different between them.
- Meta-analysis implies the use of deduction. You initially compiled many similar study publications. You then perform a statistical analysis of it. You respond to a predetermined question as a result.
- Meta-synthesis complements the inductive method. Assessment is based on qualitative data.
Theoretical Literature Review
This involves acquiring theories that apply to researched notions or ideas. The connections between theories become increasingly obvious and evident. How does it help? It supports the validity of the theoretical framework. Additionally, it aids in the development of novel hypotheses.
An Argumentative Literature Review
This type of review starts with a problem statement. After that, you choose and research the relevant literature to support or refute the question. By the way, there is only one sufficient issue of this kind. The material might have been written with some bias by the author.
The Narrative Literature Review
The above type focuses on discrepancies in the literature. It concludes the body of literature and points out any existing gaps. Declaring a clear research question is the first stage in this process. This kind also goes by the moniker “conventional literary review.”
An Integrative Literature Review
This promotes scientific originality. It produces fresh assertions based on preexisting research. Secondary data is the main tool for that. You must evaluate it and offer criticism. The optimum time to write an integrative literature review is when? When primary data analysis is lacking.
Always remember to describe the type of literature review before writing one. It’s also a good idea to defend your decision. Verify if it adheres to the research framework. You won’t have to spend time figuring out appropriate strategies and techniques, which will save you time.
How Long Is a Literature Review?
Students frequently worry, “How lengthy should a literature review be?” when required to write one. Sometimes, your instructor might decide how long your paper’s body should be. Carefully read the instructions to find out what is expected of you.
If you haven’t been given any specific instructions, it’s advised that your literature review makes up between 15 and 30 percent of your total work. That is roughly 2-3 pages for a 15-page paper to give you an idea. If you are writing a literature review as a stand-alone task, the directions should specify how long it should be.
Format for a Literature Review Outline: APA, MLA, and Chicago
Your essay should be formatted following the instructor’s preferred citation style. To determine the preferred literature review format, ask your instructor for clarification on the following elements as well:
- How many sources should you review, and what types of sources (books, journal papers, or internet) should they be?
- What style of citation should you employ for your sources?
- How long ought the review to last?
- Should your review be a summary, synthesis, or subjective assessment?
- Should you give background information about your sources or include subheadings in your review?
Follow these guidelines to prepare APA literature review outline
- Set page margins of one inch.
- Use double spacing throughout the entire text unless otherwise instructed.
- Make sure the typeface you select is readable. Times New Roman in 12-point size is the recommended typeface for APA papers.
- Ensure each page has a header (in capital letters). The page header can only have 50 characters, including spaces and punctuation, and must be a condensed form of your essay’s title.
- Ensure each page has page numbers in the upper right corner.
- Add a title page when creating your APA literature review outline. The paper’s title, the author’s name, and the affiliation with the university should all be listed on this page. Use no more than 12 words in your title, avoid abbreviations, and center it in the upper half of the page. Your title must also be spelled in upper- and lowercase characters.
Apply these next rules when writing in MLA style:
- Set page margins of one inch.
- Double the margins on the whole piece of paper.
- Each new paragraph should have a 1-inch indent. Times New Roman in 12-point size is the preferred font for MLA style.
- Put a header at the top of the first page of your document or the title page (note that MLA style does not require a title page, but you are allowed to decide to include one). This format for a header should include the following information: your complete name, the name of your teacher; the name of the class, course, or section number; and the assignment due date.
- Add a running head to the top right of each essay page. Place it half an inch from the top margin and one inch from the right margin of the page. The running head should just contain your last name and the page number, separated by a space. The letter p should not precede page numbers.
Apply these next rules when writing in MLA style:
- Establish page margins of at least one inch.
- All text should be double-spaced, except table and figure titles, captions, notes, blockquotes, and entries in the bibliography or References.
- Do not separate paragraphs with spaces.
- Ensure that the typeface you select is clear and readable. Times New Roman and Courier, set to at least 10-point size but preferably 12-point, are the favored fonts for Chicago papers.
- Your full name, the class name, and the date should be on the cover (title) page. The cover page should be centered and positioned one-third of the way down the page.
- Ensure every page, including the cover page, has a page number in the upper right corner.
Structure of a Literature Review
Every literature review outline follows the typical intro-body-conclusion structure with 5 paragraphs, just like many other types of academic writing. Let’s now examine each element of the fundamental literature review structure in greater detail:
Your readers should be directed to the MOP (main organizing principle). Accordingly, your content must begin with a broad viewpoint and gradually close in on your focus topic.
Start by outlining your broad concept (Corruption, for example). By mentioning the criteria you used to choose the literature sources you have chosen (Macbeth, All the King’s Men, and Animal Farm), you can focus your introduction’s attention on the MOP after the initial presentation. The presentation of your MOP, which should directly link it to all three literature references, will conclude the introduction.
Each body paragraph will typically concentrate on one of the literary sources listed in the essay’s opening. It is essential to organize the review in the most logically consistent manner feasible because each source has a unique frame of reference for the MOP. This indicates that the writing should have a chronological, thematic, or methodological pattern.
A good technique to maintain an accurate historical timeline is to divide your sources according to the dates of their publications. It can demonstrate how a particular concept has changed and offer literary examples if used correctly. To form the body, there are occasionally superior options we can utilize.
Looking at the connection between your MOP and your sources can be an alternative to using the “timeline technique.” Sometimes a piece of literature’s main theme will be prominent. Other times, the writer might need examples to support their claims. A skilled writer would typically list their references in order of authority. Racism, for instance, played a key role in both “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “To Kill A Mockingbird,” where it was just one of several themes.
The name indicates that this type of organization is concerned with how the main idea is presented. For instance, George Orwell employs the law-and-order strategy in “1984” to illustrate the perils of a dystopia for a social species.
In her novel “Frankenstein,” Mary Shelley portrays the protagonist’s physical characteristics as revolting and terrifying, causing him to suffer alone. The author can evaluate each approach’s seriousness, morality, and overall influence by demonstrating the numerous approaches taken to represent the MOP.
Following the summary of your main results in the body paragraphs, there are three more tasks to finish in the essay’s conclusion. First, the author must succinctly respond to the inquiry, “What have you learned?” by summarizing the conclusions they have reached or uncovered.
After discussing that information, The following phase illustrates the significance of the knowledge regarding our contemporary world. How may the information be applied to today’s society in other words? From there, a breadcrumb trail leads us to the end.
As the writer, you aim to direct readers’ attention away from the essay’s topic. This allows them to conduct additional research, allowing the reader to speculate on the conversation’s direction.
Writing a Literature Review Outline
You have read the writings. You’ve gained knowledge of the area. You know the bigger picture and how your research fits into it. Now that you have all this information, it’s time to present it to your audience clearly and straightforwardly. The basis for drafting your paper will be the outline. It will aid in organizing your ideas and study and guarantee that you consider all relevant perspectives on the subject.
Important Components of a Literature Review Outline
Let’s start by explaining what is an outline. It is a research paper’s framework for the literature review. It aids in concept development, investigation, and systematic discussion of the findings.
The following are the main components of a good outline:
A succinct description of the literature being examined, both the broad subject and your particular focus, should be included in the beginning. To help the reader understand why the subject is essential, you should also give the reader some background information. Since you will cite sources later in the article, this part shouldn’t contain any citations.
In the body, you summarize all the literature or sources you used to research and write your paper. Each source should have an introduction and a succinct synopsis of what was discovered there. You should summarize each source and explain how it pertains to your research question or hypothesis in addition to offering summaries. If two sources are comparable enough to be compared, you should also tie them back to one another. In addition to describing how each source connects to your research question or hypothesis, you should also describe how they link.
The conclusion should summarize everything covered in the paper and then bring everything together into a logical argument that supports or refutes your hypothesis or research question in light of the additional sources considered in the paper.
You can use a variety of methodologies as the foundation for your outline, including:
- A descriptive approach
Describes what is currently known about a certain subject. This method is applied when there is little to no study on a subject but some sound theories or hypotheses based on prior research in adjacent fields. A descriptive technique collects new data or analyzes current data to characterize what is known about a particular phenomenon or issue at a specific time.
- An explanatory approach
Presents one or more theoretical theories to explain why something occurs or exists in a certain way (hypotheses). A falsifiable explanatory hypothesis can be tested using scientific procedures to determine if it is true or false (observations). The effectiveness of two factors interacting with one another under predetermined circumstances is frequently investigated through experiments or controlled observations.
Steps How to Write a Literature Review Outline
It’s crucial to have a strong structure for your literature review in your research paper. It provides you with a clear direction for the writing process and aids in the organization of your thoughts and ideas.
A rough guide to help you organize the content you wish to present in your paper. An outline is not a formal document. Each paragraph in the outline should represent a key concept that will be developed in a later paragraph of the article. The outline should be written in paragraph form.
Writing an outline can help you organize your materials to produce a clear and concise essay. Quotes and information shouldn’t be randomly thrown together without rhyme or reason. This will make it difficult for the reader to understand what you are saying and give the impression that you are illiterate in your subject. They might not be able to understand the actual meaning of the content, which could lead to a negative mark for your paper.
4 Steps of Writing a Literature Review
A literature review is not simple, especially if you have never written one. You can follow the instructions below to learn how to produce a strong literature review outline that will ease your writing.
- Finding a decent topic is the first step in creating a literature review. Since you’ll need to do much research, selecting a topic that interests you and about which you are knowledgeable is ideal.
- Organizing your structure comes next. You can either use an outline or just jot down notes. This keeps you on course and guarantees you cover every aspect required for a successful report.
- Proofreading is the next action. Don’t speed through this phase because mistakes can be embarrassing and make your work look sloppy. There are online tools such as Grammarly that execute the task.
- The fourth stage includes the bibliographies you consulted for your report. By doing this, you provide credit where credit is due and notify other scholars where they can turn in if they want to learn more about your subject.
How to Format an Outline for a Literature Review
A literature review outline is a good tool for structuring ideas and thoughts. By listing the issues you want to discuss and how they relate to one another, you may use them to plan out your essay or research paper. By following an outline, you may effectively organize your ideas and get a good idea of how long each part should be. We will review an outline format and advise you on how to write an effective outline.
You must learn about the subject before writing your essay or research paper. Therefore, if you’re writing about an unfamiliar subject, give yourself adequate time to research. This will ensure that your study is thorough and that your paper doesn’t contain any material that isn’t present.
We advise you to begin by thoroughly reading the assignment directions so that you know the content needed in your paper and the structure to be written. To avoid confusing your tutor, adhere as precisely as possible to the APA instructions.
Outline for a Literature Review: Writing Advice
Including all the details your task requires while producing a literature review plan is crucial. Your professor may occasionally specify the length and number of sources required for your literature review. But if they don’t, you’ll have to choose what suits your circumstances the best.
Your literature review outline will determine your paper’s structure. You will learn crucial information and how to write it coherently and logically. It’s crucial only to use facts supported by evidence while writing. This means that each assertion or viewpoint you make in a piece of writing concerning a research topic must be supported by at least one piece of published material.
Don’t include anything if there isn’t a single source to back it up; otherwise, it will come across as speculative or personal opinion rather than expertise on the subject. Another piece of advice for writers is to write succinctly and simply so that readers can understand what they are reading fast and smoothly throughout the entirety of the essay (or book).
Proper grammar usage should also be maintained while writing to avoid mistakes left behind after editing later in the publishing stage. Readers may become bored quickly if they struggle through something for too long before getting into where things go next.
The most crucial pointers for writing a literature review outline are:
- To create an outline for your review, use bullet points.
- Ensure that each paragraph addresses just one idea or subject.
- Begin by stating your thesis, which should encapsulate your paper’s main idea in one sentence.
- Each paragraph should flow logically and coherently from one idea to the next.
- Use quotations and paraphrases from the sources you read to bolster your claims and conclusions.
- Ensure that you cite reliable sources to support the assertions and arguments you make in your paper.
A literature review outline is crucial for research papers and applies to many other types of writing. We hope that by following these guidelines, your outline will be simple to read and comprehend and that readers will better understand the research done before writing their papers.
Writing a Good Literature Review
The writing process should generally be the same whether you are writing a literature review as part of a larger research project (such as a thesis, dissertation, or other) or as a stand-alone assignment.
The writing process should generally be the same whether you are writing a literature review as part of a larger research project (such as a thesis, dissertation, or other) or as a stand-alone assignment.
Let’s define the steps to take to handle this task properly with our service now that you are aware of the general guidelines and have a simple template for a literature review:
Step 1: Choosing a Topic
Whether your literature review is part of a research paper or a completely independent assignment, you should approach it differently. If you are doing a literature review as a component of another project, you must look for literature pertinent to your study’s major issues and topics. If you are writing it as a stand-alone assignment, you must choose a pertinent subject and main question for your literature review. Earlier in this section, we provided interesting search subjects to help you focus your efforts.
Step 2: Conducting Research
Once your topic has been established, you can gather sources for your review. To make the entire research process much simpler and aid you in finding relevant publications more quickly, we advise beginning by generating a list of pertinent keywords connected to your main research issue.
Utilize your list of keywords to look for reliable and pertinent sources. Use only reputable sources at this time, such as those from academic libraries, internet scientific databases, etc.
After identifying some potential sources, be sure to determine whether or not they are genuinely pertinent to your subject and research question. Instead of reading the entire document, you can read the abstract to obtain a rough understanding of what the papers are about.
Step 3: Assess and Prioritize Sources
You’ll probably come across a ton of pertinent material as you conduct the research that you may use for your literature review. Students frequently make the error of attempting to fit all the gathered materials into their reviews at this point. Instead, we advise reexamining your data, assessing the various sources, and choosing the most pertinent ones. You’ll unlikely be able to read everything on a certain subject and combine all the sources into a single literature study. Setting priorities is crucial because of this.
Keep the following factors in mind when you decide which sources to use in your review:
- Key findings
Remember to make notes while you read the sources to use later in your review. Additionally, make sure to start citing early. It will be simpler to make your annotated bibliography later on if you credit the chosen sources at the outset.
Step 4: Determine Links, Key Concepts, and Gaps
The last step is figuring out the connections between the existing studies before you can move on to outlining and drafting your literature review. You can organize the current knowledge, create a strong literature summary, and (if necessary) show your study contribution to a particular topic by identifying the linkages.
The following are some important factors to watch out for when writing a literature review outline:
Step 1: The main ideas
- Disagreements and contradictions.
- Important research or theories.
- Patterns and trends.
Here are a few illustrations: Common patterns may include a concentration on particular demographics in various research. Most scholars might be more interested in particular facets of the subject in light of important themes. Disputes about a study’s assumptions and findings exemplify a contradiction. Finally, gaps typically allude to an absence of research on particular facets of a subject.
Step 5: Make a Literature Review Outline
Although planning is one of the most crucial stages in writing every academic paper, students frequently overlook this phase. The simplest way to arrange your text’s body and ensure you haven’t forgotten anything is to do it this way. Additionally, having a general idea of what you will write about will make it easier and faster for you to get it right.
Step 6: Start Writing
You can now go on to the writing phase of the procedure after locating and compiling all of your sources, notes, citations, and a thorough plan. At this point, the only thing left to do is adhere to your strategy and remember the general structure and format outlined in your professor’s guidelines.
Step 7: Add the Final Touches
Most students commit frequent errors by skipping the final phase of the procedure, which entails editing and proofreading. We advise taking enough time for these tasks to ensure that your work will be worth the greatest grade. Budget enough time for editing and proofreading; do not undervalue their significance.
You may easily construct a top-notch literature review by following these instructions! Do you need any additional guidance on approaching this body of work?
The following are the top 3 things to keep in mind while writing a literature review:
1. Reliable Sources
Finding the greatest sources for their MOP is crucial for any writer to remember when writing a literature review. This means that you should pick and filter through roughly 5–10 possibilities while conducting initial research.
The quality of the overall review will increase with how well a piece of literature supports its main argument.
2. Synthesize The Literature
The review should be organized as efficiently as you can, whether it is chronologically, topically, or methodologically. Know what you want to communicate, then organize the source comparison accordingly.
3. Keep generalizations out of your writing style
Keep in mind that every literary work will approach the MOP differently. As the author carefully contrast the various techniques and avoid making unhelpful generalizations.
Top Topics for Literature Reviews
- In “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” and “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” racism is examined.\
- Isolationism in “1984”, “Frankenstein,” and “The Catcher in the Rye.”Comparing and contrasting “Crime and Punishment,” “The Scarlet Letter,” and “The Lifeboat” Moral Conundrums
- All the King’s Men, Animal Farm, and Macbeth all depict the corruption of power.
- Physical and emotional survival in “Congo,” “Hatchet,” and “Lord of the Flies.”
Psychology Literature Review Topic Ideas
- LGBTQ youth counseling and psychotherapy techniques
- The impact of child abuse on families
- The drawbacks of homeschooling and how it affects socialization
- Psychological treatment techniques for kids with post-traumatic syndrome
- Memory issues and how they affect perception
- Attention deficit disorder and undergraduate students’ academic performance
- How cyberbullying affects teenagers
- Factors that Predispose Compulsive Sexual Behavior
- Strategies for treating postpartum depression in patients
- Socialization strategies used by those with dissociative disorders
- The psychological perspective on how one presents themselves online
- Techniques for detecting behavioral abnormalities in schoolchildren
Law Literature Review Topic Ideas
Use these law topics and create a literature review outline for good results:
- The effectiveness of the World Intellectual Property Organization has been evaluated.
- The development of techniques and equipment used by the International Criminal Court
- The US Copyright Office and its methods in light of digital technology
- A study of the influence of the European Court of Human Rights on local government’s ability to implement the law
- Eastern Europe’s issues in enforcing the law
- Environmental law’s shortcomings in Asian nations
- Comparative analysis and outlook on “the rule of law” and “the rule of reason.”
- A comparison of insurance laws among European nations
- The restrictions on the free movement of goods within the member states
- Methods for coordinating the EU’s and Member State’s conflict of laws
- Examining incidents and procedures, the misuse of the Law of Rape in protecting legitimate victims
Economics Literature Review Topic Ideas
- The effect of globalization on advertising
- The advantages of niche markets for local governments
- The dynamics of the minimum wage in developing nations
- The impact of the welfare reform on regional enterprises
- Economic resources and social needs: a fair allocation analysis
- The wealth redistribution during a downturn and economic catastrophe
- The advantages of healthcare reforms for the government’s economy
- The massive charity’s socioeconomic impacts
- The challenges to eradicating poverty in industrialized nations
- How a good infrastructure might help end the global food problem
- Market and business effects of privatization
- Does regulating government spending help the economy grow?
Political Science Literature Review Topic Ideas
- A comparison of the foreign strategies of European nations
- Public opinion’s function in autocratic regimes
- The European Union’s legislative pressure on the Eastern Member States
- Contemporary communist ideologies
- The causes of political inactivity in autocratic nations
- Amnesty International’s methods for defending the rights of refugees
- Change and prospects for human rights under Islamic governments
- The best methods for eradicating poverty worldwide
- The contribution of nonprofit organizations to the advancement of human rights in post-Soviet space
- Examining cybersecurity regulations in European nations
- Governmental actions during the change
- The significance of moral principles in political campaigns
Business Literature Review Topic Ideas
- Managerial approaches and effectiveness assessments
- The benefits and drawbacks of franchising
- The advantages of outsourcing services for major organizations
- State regulation of small enterprises and its effect on the area’s quality of life
- The contribution of corporate culture to increased business effectiveness
- The impact of philanthropy on the emergence of brand loyalty
- Evaluation and analysis of the success of marketing initiatives in IT startups
- The evolution of company culture in light of economics
- How the recession affects small businesses: Survival tactics
- Using digital tools to increase the effectiveness of marketing efforts
What is the purpose of a Literature Review?
Multiple issues are resolved at once by literature reviews. Its goal is to pinpoint and compile the most important insights, knowledge gaps, and research question responses. These provide a sense of the depth of the issue under investigation. It serves as a foundation for subsequent study as a result. It may also demonstrate the lack of a need for more research.
How Should a Literature Review Be Structured?
A literature review outline has three sections: an introduction, a major body, and a conclusion, much like any other academic paper. They all require complete disclosure and a logical relationship.
- The topic overview, the issue at hand, the research strategy, and other features common to academic articles are all included in the introduction.
- The body describes how each chosen literary source responds to the issues raised in the introduction.
- The conclusion highlights the need for additional study, summarizes the main findings from the body, and makes connections to related studies.
You need to uphold each component equally if you want your analysis to succeed.
What Must Be Included in a Literature Review Outline?
An introduction with a definition of the study topic, supporting evidence, and challenges is part of a basic literature review. The selected works of literature are then combined. It might outline any gaps and inconsistencies in the available research. We also appreciate the contribution to fresh research and its practical usefulness.
What Are the 5 Cs of Literature Review Writing?
To help make writing a literature review easier, keep in mind these five C’s:
- Cite. List the sources you consulted for your research and follow the correct citation guidelines. For this, use Google Scholar.
- Compare. Compare literary characteristics such as theories, insights, trends, arguments, etc. It is preferable to use tables or diagrams to enhance your content visually.
- Contrast. Use listings to group specific strategies, topics, etc.
- Critique. Any scientific investigation must incorporate critical thinking. Individual formulations shouldn’t be taken as gospel. Investigate differing points of view.
- Connect. Find a space for your research among ongoing investigations. Suggest new potential areas for additional research.
What is the ideal length for a literature review?
In most circumstances, professors or educational institution policies dictate how long a literature review should be. To avoid making a mistake, read them carefully and follow their instructions.
Ensure it doesn’t take up more than 30% of the study report without specified guidelines.
Be succinct, but thoroughly explore the research topic if your literature review is written as a stand-alone paper and does not form part of the thesis.
Need help with Literature Review?
Above is a guide on writing a literature review outline and some topics you can work on. Although we have highlighted everything, writing a literature review may be challenging for most students. Do you still need help? Our literature review writers have enough experience and will help you create an exceptional essay. Contact us for an estimate, or visit our blog to learn how to write a literature review.