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How to Write a Literature Review (with tips for last-minute rushers)


A literature review is a study and an acknowledgment of previous studies done in the area of your research topic. It is crucial to any research and one of the first steps you take before writing your research paper. If you’re here because you are not behind the AI rage, then you’re at the right place! We’ll help you keep it original and completely you. Or if you have just an hour to submit that assignment you were dodging all week, we’ve got you!

This is a step-by-step guide to a single-article literature review that helped impress our professors! Follow along to know more. 


1️⃣ Choose the right articles

When you’re writing a research paper, there’s no doubt that you’ll have to read a ton of literature. You’ll spend many hours a day reading for your research paper. Out of 10 papers you’ve read, you may need only 4.

2️⃣ To filter the articles, firstly, read the abstract of an article

If an abstract is not available or if there isn’t enough information in an abstract, there are multiple AI tools that will summarise research articles for you. You must keep in mind that these are summarising or analyzing tools not literature reviewing.

Once you have read 10 papers, rank them in order of thematic similarity to your topic. For your literature review, begin with the articles that are closest to your topic. This will help you get an easy start and boost your confidence in the process!

3️⃣ Read the article

Now, you’ve chosen your article which you have previously summarised or read the abstract for, but that’s not enough for a literature review. It is very important to read the entire article before you start writing the literature review. You can initially skim through the article. Skimming includes reading the headings, the topic sentences (the first few lines of a paragraph), illustrations (if any), and the conclusion. Next, scan the article which is a thorough reading of the entire article. Always remember to mark in your own way lines that seem important to you. Make notes as you’re reading the first time. This means writing/typing down your thoughts as you read. 

If you are in a time crunch, just skim through the article. Do not skip the conclusion at any cost. Read the introduction paragraphs of the headings in the article. Read the first two pages as well if you’ve got the time. Disclaimer: This must ONLY be followed if you do not have time at all. It is not recommended otherwise. 

4️⃣ Locate these 3 sentences/paragraphs in the article

As you’re reading, marking, and making notes in the article, keep an eye out for these three very important elements required for your literature review. 

☑️ Thesis Statement – this statement is the crux of the entire article. It contains the argument of the author/s. It may have a heading making it easier to locate but most times it is snuck in with the introduction or the abstract of the paper. 

☑️ Objectives – like the thesis statement the objective is also found in the introductory paragraphs and the introduction. 

☑️ Findings – the results of the study done by the author/s is often found in the last few pages. This is necessary to understand how the article will fit in with your research topic. 

For the last-minute rushers, combine this step with the previous one. Mark these 3 parts as you’re skimming through the paper. 

🔎  What’s Missing?

This step is often overlooked and skipped in literature reviews but it’s the most important one. This step makes a literature review different from a summary. By this step, you have received a comprehensive idea about what the research article is about. Now, compare this with your research topic. Is there anything that you want to study that the author hasn’t? See how the article supports or rejects your claims. Accordingly, you can prepare a statement to put in your literature review.

Once again, if you do not have time, skip to the next step!

📝 Get to Writing!

Start writing in three simple steps: 

☑️ What are the findings of the article? Include the thesis statement and objectives as well. 

☑️ Write and elaborate in brief on what your topic is about. 

☑️ Explain how your study differs from the article.

☑️ In what way does this article support your study?

Follow these five steps and you will surely ace literature reviews in no time. These steps will come to you naturally with practice. Improve your academic writing skills, and keep it original and authentically you with the help of Bruwrite. Proofreading of your work is guaranteed.