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Write Literature Review


Students who have to write literature reviews, whether as a chapter within their theses, as an outside project in support of their theses, or as an independent assignment, may follow a few guidelines that will help them write literature reviews that competently manage the work of literature under discussion.

First, the student should gain as much knowledge of the text itself as possible. Ideally, he or she should read the text several times in order to secure a good understanding of its strengths and weaknesses, but if time does not permit, the student should read the text carefully at least once. If the text is too long to allow a complete reading within the available time period, the student should carefully browse the table of contents and any indices or appendices, the first few and last few paragraphs of each chapter, and any charts or illustrations that the work of literature may contain. This mere browsing of the text, however, should only occur in a worst-case scenario.

After having read the work, students who have to write literature review papers should break the writing process into three parts, editing them and smoothing them into a coherent unit at the end of the process. First, one should write a brief summary of the text, including the major points but not including any superfluous information; the review writer should adhere to the points that are absolutely necessary for an understanding of the book, not straying into minor material.

Second, one should write an analysis of the book. This is the focal point for students who have to write literature review papers; in this part, the review writer tells his or her readers why they should or should not read the book. Students should try to include the text's strengths and weaknesses, avoiding unilateral praise or denigration of the text unless the text absolutely warrants it.

Finally, students who have to write literature reviews should craft their introduction and conclusion; both should contain strong, persuasive writing that catches readers' attention and predisposes them to believe the review writer's argument.


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