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How to Write a Literature Review


Literature reviews provide a valuable service by informing potential readers what to expect from the work of literature, but students may not readily know how to write literature reviews. Students may follow a few principles to develop excellent literature reviews.

First and above all, one who hopes to learn how to write a literature review must read the target work of literature thoroughly at least once but preferably two or three times. This familiarity with the text will help one write about it with an authoritative voice.

Second, one should make notes about the strengths and weaknesses of the work of literature. Students who are learning how to write literature reviews may begin this analysis by asking a few questions, which will depend largely on the type of literature at hand. If the work is nonfiction, students should ask questions such as why they agree or disagree with a certain premise or whether the writer of the text used the research accurately. If the work is fiction, students should ask questions such as whether the writer's style contributes positively or negatively to the overall reading experience and whether the work is unique or innovative in any way.

Third, one who is learning how to write a literature review should actually begin writing a review of the work. First, one should write a catchy introductory paragraph or section that grabs the reader's attention. Second, one should briefly summarize the work of literature; this section should comprise no more than a third of the total length of the review, unless the review writer has a specific reason for making it longer. Third and most importantly, one should provide an analysis of the work of literature. If the text is nonfiction, this analysis should tell the review reader what strengths and weaknesses the text has, which premises are fallible, and whether or not the text contributes significantly to the field. If the text is fiction, this analysis should acclaim or decry the text for significant aesthetic or thematic reasons.


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