You've done the research and now you're ready to put your findings down on paper. When preparing to write your review, first consider how will you organize your review.
The actual review generally has 5 components:
A good literature review shows signs of synthesis and understanding of the topic. There should be strong evidence of analytical thinking as illustrated through the connections you make between the literature being reviewed. Think of it this way- a literature review is much more than a book review. It is a document where you present your sources and their overall relationship to your thesis statement.
Conversely, a poor literature review will simply list and identify the sources. In essence, it will appear to be a glorified annotated bibliography.
An abstract is a summary of your literature review. It is made up of the following parts:
Like a typical research paper introduction, provide the reader with a quick idea of the topic of the literature review:
The body of a literature review contains your discussion of sources and can be organized in 3 ways-
You may also want to include a section on "questions for further research" and discuss what questions the review has sparked about the topic/field or offer suggestions for future studies/examinations that build on your current findings.
In the conclusion, you should:
Conclude your paper by providing your reader with some perspective on the relationship between your literature review's specific topic and how it's related to it's parent discipline, scientific endeavor, or profession.
Since a literature review is composed of pieces of research, it is very important that your correctly cite the literature you are reviewing, both in the reviews body as well as in a bibliography/works cited. To learn more about different citation styles, visit the "Citing Your Sources" tab.