Before getting some ideas on how to write a literature review for a research paper it’s important to understand what exactly a review of literature is. To start with it could be two things. It could be a complete piece of prose in itself or it could be used as an introduction to a longer and more complex dissertation. But it’s important to know the purpose of a literature review. It is an analysis even a critical analysis of something which has been published in the world of literature.
In your research paper, like so many essays, there will be various sections. There will be an introduction, a body or main parts of the literature review and then finally the conclusion.
WHAT IS YOUR POINT OF VIEW?
Remember that this is a personal piece of writing in the sense that you are giving your opinion, your analysis of a piece of literature. So it’s important that you establish from the beginning where you stand when it comes to this piece of literature. Why have you chosen this example? Will you be looking at comparable pieces of literature informing your opinion? Has this piece of literature been reviewed before and if so, what, generally speaking, have been the comments from other writers?
THE MAIN BODY
This is where you tackle your actual analysis. This is where you express your opinion as to the chosen piece of literature. Here you place your example in its position in the history of literature. How important is the literature you are reviewing? Will you be comparing your review with the reviews of others? What methodology was used in writing the main body of your review? Will you be making comparisons with other reviewers?
The conclusion for your research paper is pretty much the same in terms of principle as would be the conclusion for any essay. You have to write a summary of the points of view you have expressed in the main body of your literature review. You need to highlight any of the points you have made, comments which have not appeared from other reviewers. And finally you need to place your literary review in the context of the subject you are studying and even perhaps in the course you are undertaking. Where does your literature review sit in relation to all of these things?