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How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates

Published on January 2, 2023 by Shona McCombes .

What is a literature review? A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources on a specific topic. It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research that you can later apply to your paper, thesis, or dissertation topic .

There are five key steps to writing a literature review:

A good literature review doesn’t just summarize sources—it analyzes, synthesizes , and critically evaluates to give a clear picture of the state of knowledge on the subject.

Table of contents

What is the purpose of a literature review, examples of literature reviews, step 1 – search for relevant literature, step 2 – evaluate and select sources, step 3 – identify themes, debates, and gaps, step 4 – outline your literature review’s structure, step 5 – write your literature review, free lecture slides, frequently asked questions, introduction.

When you write a thesis , dissertation , or research paper , you will likely have to conduct a literature review to situate your research within existing knowledge. The literature review gives you a chance to:

Writing literature reviews is a particularly important skill if you want to apply for graduate school or pursue a career in research. We’ve written a step-by-step guide that you can follow below.

Literature review guide

Writing literature reviews can be quite challenging! A good starting point could be to look at some examples, depending on what kind of literature review you’d like to write.

You can also check out our templates with literature review examples and sample outlines at the links below.

Download Word doc Download Google doc

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Before you begin searching for literature, you need a clearly defined topic .

If you are writing the literature review section of a dissertation or research paper, you will search for literature related to your research problem and questions .

Make a list of keywords

Start by creating a list of keywords related to your research question. Include each of the key concepts or variables you’re interested in, and list any synonyms and related terms. You can add to this list as you discover new keywords in the process of your literature search.

Search for relevant sources

Use your keywords to begin searching for sources. Some useful databases to search for journals and articles include:

You can also use boolean operators to help narrow down your search.

Make sure to read the abstract to find out whether an article is relevant to your question. When you find a useful book or article, you can check the bibliography to find other relevant sources.

You likely won’t be able to read absolutely everything that has been written on your topic, so it will be necessary to evaluate which sources are most relevant to your research question.

For each publication, ask yourself:

Make sure the sources you use are credible , and make sure you read any landmark studies and major theories in your field of research.

You can use our template to summarize and evaluate sources you’re thinking about using. Click on either button below to download.

Take notes and cite your sources

As you read, you should also begin the writing process. Take notes that you can later incorporate into the text of your literature review.

It is important to keep track of your sources with citations to avoid plagiarism . It can be helpful to make an annotated bibliography , where you compile full citation information and write a paragraph of summary and analysis for each source. This helps you remember what you read and saves time later in the process.

To begin organizing your literature review’s argument and structure, be sure you understand the connections and relationships between the sources you’ve read. Based on your reading and notes, you can look for:

This step will help you work out the structure of your literature review and (if applicable) show how your own research will contribute to existing knowledge.

There are various approaches to organizing the body of a literature review. Depending on the length of your literature review, you can combine several of these strategies (for example, your overall structure might be thematic, but each theme is discussed chronologically).


The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time. However, if you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order.

Try to analyze patterns, turning points and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred.

If you have found some recurring central themes, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic.

For example, if you are reviewing literature about inequalities in migrant health outcomes, key themes might include healthcare policy, language barriers, cultural attitudes, legal status, and economic access.


If you draw your sources from different disciplines or fields that use a variety of research methods , you might want to compare the results and conclusions that emerge from different approaches. For example:


A literature review is often the foundation for a theoretical framework . You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts.

You might argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach, or combine various theoretical concepts to create a framework for your research.

Like any other academic text , your literature review should have an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion . What you include in each depends on the objective of your literature review.

The introduction should clearly establish the focus and purpose of the literature review.

Depending on the length of your literature review, you might want to divide the body into subsections. You can use a subheading for each theme, time period, or methodological approach.

As you write, you can follow these tips:

In the conclusion, you should summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance.

When you’ve finished writing and revising your literature review, don’t forget to proofread thoroughly before submitting. Not a language expert? Check out Scribbr’s professional proofreading services !

This article has been adapted into lecture slides that you can use to teach your students about writing a literature review.

Scribbr slides are free to use, customize, and distribute for educational purposes.

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A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources (such as books, journal articles, and theses) related to a specific topic or research question .

It is often written as part of a thesis, dissertation , or research paper , in order to situate your work in relation to existing knowledge.

There are several reasons to conduct a literature review at the beginning of a research project:

Writing the literature review shows your reader how your work relates to existing research and what new insights it will contribute.

The literature review usually comes near the beginning of your thesis or dissertation . After the introduction , it grounds your research in a scholarly field and leads directly to your theoretical framework or methodology .

A literature review is a survey of credible sources on a topic, often used in dissertations , theses, and research papers . Literature reviews give an overview of knowledge on a subject, helping you identify relevant theories and methods, as well as gaps in existing research. Literature reviews are set up similarly to other  academic texts , with an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion .

An  annotated bibliography is a list of  source references that has a short description (called an annotation ) for each of the sources. It is often assigned as part of the research process for a  paper .  

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Charles Sturt University

Literature Review: Traditional or narrative literature reviews

Traditional or narrative literature reviews.

A narrative or traditional literature review is a comprehensive, critical and objective analysis of the current knowledge on a topic. They are an essential part of the research process and help to establish a theoretical framework and focus or context for your research. A literature review will help you to identify patterns and trends in the literature so that you can identify gaps or inconsistencies in a body of knowledge. This should lead you to a sufficiently focused research question that justifies your research.

Onwuegbuzie and Frels (pp 24-25, 2016) define four common types of narrative reviews:

References and additional resources

Baker, J. D. (2016) The purpose, process and methods of writing a literature review: Editorial . Association of Operating Room Nurses. AORN Journal, 103 (3), 265-269. doi:10.1016/j.aorn.2016.01.016

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Composing an Authentic, Academic Narrative Literature Review: How to Evaluate Scholarly Articles and Write a Thorough Narrative Literature Review

Don't get caught plagiarizing

Over the course of many years of teaching, I’ve found that both my students and I struggle with our course unit on research writing. It’s boring, it’s difficult, and we all undoubtedly become aggravated with each other throughout the process.

If you’ve ever experienced a lesson burnout, like I have so many times, you know how frustrating it can be for both teacher and students. Unless you’ve written tons of research papers in your lifetime, they can seem like a daunting task. This is especially true for middle school and high school students who are likely just learning how to do so.

If your students are embarking on a research project, one of their first steps in the research process will be completing a comprehensive narrative literature review.

Ironically, I’ve had to do my own narrative literature review of sorts to bring you the resources you’ll find herein. Of note, after you’ve made it to the end of this post, you’ll be able to effectively guide your students in composing a narrative literature review by focusing on these basic tenets:

What is a narrative literature review?

Defining, Differentiating, and Composing a Narrative Literature Review

Essentially, it is a step in the research process that follows selecting a topic and asking a research question. Before developing an engaging thesis, a researcher has to ascertain that scholarly literature exists in support of their proposed thesis.

There Are Many Important Steps in the Research Process

For students who have grown up with the ability to simply Google a wealth of information and receive desired results in a moment’s time, vetting sources may seem like a foreign concept. Teaching your students how to write this type of work will teach them how to scrutinize sources.

But what is a narrative literature review? According to top researchers, “A literature review is a type of research article published in a professional peer-reviewed journal.” These articles are published in vetted, scholarly journals that you and your students can trust as fact.

In essence, your students select a research topic then hit the databases in search of reputable, trustworthy journal articles that answer their research query and support their anticipated position on that topic. By reviewing the existing literature on the selected topic, students can be sure there is proven data and a body of existing knowledge that supports their thesis.

According to J.D. Baker, a professor at Charles Sturt University, acquiring current and relevant literature on a given topic is, “…an essential part of the research process [that] help[s] to establish a theoretical framework and focus or context for your research.” For this reason, the narrative literature review may very well be one of the most important steps in the research process.

Narrative Literature Review Is One of the Most Important Parts of the Research Process

As one of the first few steps in the research process, a step that is likely a foreign task to your students, it’s imperative that the process is broken down into simplified, manageable tasks.

Rebecca Alber, blogger for Edutopia, discusses the importance of scaffolding projects for students. She expounds upon the pedagogy of breaking projects into manageable chunks and “providing concrete structure for each.”

By reading through and analyzing the body of knowledge on a given topic, researchers, like your students, can focus and justify their research. As discussed here , the thesis is the most important part of a research paper, but you can’t arrive at your thesis without a thorough narrative literature review.

In this video, research specialist, Sarah Bronson, explains what a narrative literature review does, how to plan it, and how to write a cohesive and proper review.

Systematic vs. Narrative Literature Reviews: Knowing the Difference

In short, the difference between a narrative literature review and a systematic literature review has to do with the search terms used and the methodology employed when searching databases.

According to those in the know, “A narrative literature review is fairly broad, as it involves gathering, critiquing and summarizing journal articles and textbooks about a particular topic.” In other words, you enter general search terms into a search engine and sift through the yielded articles.

These Are the Key Steps in Writing Narrative Literature Review

Essentially, a narrative literature review summarizes and synthesizes the body of work on a topic. The review may be generally focused on a broad topic or a specific research question.

A systematic literature review, on the other hand, “tend[s] to use specific search terms and inclusion/exclusion criteria, whereas the criteria for narrative reviews may not be as strict.” This type of work is best employed by writers who have already focused their query and/or thesis. By including or excluding particular terms, a more pointed search return is gleaned.

In essence, the goal of a systematic literature review is to answer a focused objective question. To be clear, in this type of work, the researcher is working with a clearly defined question.

Check out this helpful video that further explicates the point and process of a systematic literature review. Cochrane provides insight into why, in some instances, a systematic review is more useful than its narrative counterpart.

Though both systematic and narrative literature reviews can be useful in producing desired and relevant research documents, knowing which method to use depends on your experience and how far into the research process you’ve gone.

If you are beginning preliminary research, you’ll likely only be able to perform a narrative literature review. You may have a general topic that you’d like to investigate before committing to a topic and a thesis.

However, if you’ve already focused your study and have a better grip on the direction you wish to go, then you may find the systematic review to be useful.

Again, the literature review is just one step in a series of interrelated steps that help students write a focused and cohesive research paper. In this article, you can take a look at later steps in the writing process.

Narrative Literature Reviews: Four Unique Approaches

According to Onwuegbuzie and Frels, there are four common types of narrative literature reviews. Essentially, literature reviews can be broken down into these four categories: general, methodological, theoretical, and historical. Let’s take a look at how they differ from one another.

There Are 4 Main Types of the Narrative Literature Review

A general literature review takes a close look at the most important and most current knowledge on a given topic. This type of work will form the basis for your thesis or dissertation; it’s what you’ll do before focusing your query.

Sources cited in a general literature review may include scholarly articles, governmental data, books, interviews, and websites. The general literature includes a summary and assessment of the literature.

A methodological literature review defines the methodology used to apprehend the literature. In other words, this type of paper outlines and explains research methods and parameters.

A Methodological Literature Review Can Help You to Highlight and Understand All the Research Methods

The methodological literature review analyzes how information was arrived at not necessarily what the literature asserts.

A theoretical literature review analyzes how theories inform research practices. Basically, this type of paper identifies pre-existing theories, the connection between and among them, how well scrutinized the theories are, and the development of new possible theories.

Finally, a historical literature review focuses on the emergence, development, and historical context of a research topic as it presents in a body of knowledge. To be clear, this type of literature review traces the history of a particular issue or theory and how it has evolved since its onset.

In this excellent resource featuring Leigh Hall of teachingacademia.com, Hall further explains the different types of narrative literature reviews. Hall explains the four types of reviews in further detail to help writers determine which is best suited for their research purposes.

Teachers should be clear about their expectations of students concerning which type of narrative literature review is expected of them. A closer look at which type of review is best suited to your students’ projects can help you, the teacher, in guiding your students.

As one of the most important steps in the research process, it’s imperative students can successfully complete a literature review before moving on in the research process.

Lisa L. Munro, Phd., a blogger who examines the importance of creating writing communities among our students, asserts the importance of, “writing a concise literature review just comprehensive enough for the purpose of an academic journal article.”

Narrative Literature Review: A Writer’s Checklist

The writing process is a step-by-step undertaking and some steps are more of a process than others. That’s especially true of composing a narrative literature review.

This Step-by-Step Process Takes Time but It's Worth It

Essentially, a narrative literature review is a project in and of itself. A proper review adheres to the following steps.

Entitle your review as a “review of…” Titling your work this way lets your reader know exactly what you’re setting out to do in the subsequent paragraphs. However, as a researcher, doing so helps you keep your sources organized and makes it easy to refer back to that source.

Write a brief summary of the article and how it applies to your course of study. This step is where you synthesize the information gleaned from a particular source. It will provide you, the researcher, with an opportunity to decide if it’s useful information that will support your research query.

Your abstract should include a sentence about how the source applies to your own research, your purported thesis, a summary of the literature, and conclusions you’ve made based on your findings.


The writer provides his/her rationale and objectives for the literature review. Your introduction should establish your topic of study and an explanation of why your research is important.

Describe the methods used in performing the research. Essentially this is a few sentences explaining the steps and mediums used to acquire your sources. This indicates whether or not your research comes from reputable sources.

Nowadays You Can Easily Find Billions of Sources

Here is where you explain if you used computer databases along with the search terms you employed, scoured physical files at a given office building, read physical texts on a given topic, etc.


The writer discusses his/her discoveries as well as an overall summary of the information. Without repeating what you’ve written in the other parts of your review, in the discussion, you summarize your main findings, interpret those findings, identify the strengths and weaknesses of the given source, compare your findings with other literature on the topic, explain how and if your findings answer your research query, and assert if your thesis is supported by the literature.

In this helpful tutorial, David Taylor, an online writing professor, walks you through the formatting of a literature review. He walks writers through the five-step process of completing a paper in less than 30 minutes.

As in writing any type of composition, students should be reminded to carefully proofread for clarity and correctness. I always suggest that students read their compositions aloud as readers will often hear mistakes before they see them.

A final consideration that students inevitably need to be reminded of is avoiding plagiarism. I find it’s helpful to define plagiarism for students so there’s no question about why copying another’s ideas is problematic.

There are many online plagiarism checkers for teachers and students to use to ensure work is entirely authentic. Check out this article for some tips and tricks for avoiding and identifying plagiarism.

Useful Resources

One of the most arduous tasks in a research project is gathering the right sources for your purpose. Help students understand how to search in the right places for articles and how to evaluate sources.

One of the questions my students rightfully ask is why they can’t use news media websites. News networks like CNN deliver the facts, don’t they? This article may help you and them to better recognize and evaluate credible source material.

A thorough narrative literature review will get your students off on the right foot. Everything after the literature review falls into place more readily when you have the right sources for your purpose.

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How To Structure Your Literature Review

3 options to help structure your chapter.

By: Amy Rommelspacher (PhD) | Reviewed By: Dr Eunice Rautenbach | November 2020

Writing the literature review chapter can seem pretty daunting when you’re piecing together your dissertation or thesis. As  we’ve discussed before , a good literature review needs to achieve a few very important objectives – it should:

To achieve this, your literature review needs a well-thought-out structure . Get the structure of your literature review chapter wrong and you’ll struggle to achieve these objectives. Don’t worry though – in this post, we’ll look at how to structure your literature review for maximum impact (and marks!).

The function of the lit review

But wait – is this the right time?

Deciding on the structure of your literature review should come towards the end of the literature review process – after you have collected and digested the literature, but before you start writing the chapter. 

In other words, you need to first develop a rich understanding of the literature before you even attempt to map out a structure. There’s no use trying to develop a structure before you’ve fully wrapped your head around the existing research.

Equally importantly, you need to have a structure in place before you start writing , or your literature review will most likely end up a rambling, disjointed mess. 

Importantly, don’t feel that once you’ve defined a structure you can’t iterate on it. It’s perfectly natural to adjust as you engage in the writing process. As we’ve discussed before , writing is a way of developing your thinking, so it’s quite common for your thinking to change – and therefore, for your chapter structure to change – as you write. 

Need a helping hand?

narrative literature review format

Like any other chapter in your thesis or dissertation, your literature review needs to have a clear, logical structure. At a minimum, it should have three essential components – an  introduction , a  body   and a  conclusion . 

Let’s take a closer look at each of these.

1: The Introduction Section

Just like any good introduction, the introduction section of your literature review should introduce the purpose and layout (organisation) of the chapter. In other words, your introduction needs to give the reader a taste of what’s to come, and how you’re going to lay that out. Essentially, you should provide the reader with a high-level roadmap of your chapter to give them a taste of the journey that lies ahead.

Here’s an example of the layout visualised in a literature review introduction:

Example of literature review outline structure

Your introduction should also outline your topic (including any tricky terminology or jargon) and provide an explanation of the scope of your literature review – in other words, what you  will   and  won’t   be covering (the delimitations ). This helps ringfence your review and achieve a clear focus . The clearer and narrower your focus, the deeper you can dive into the topic (which is typically where the magic lies). 

Depending on the nature of your project, you could also present your stance or point of view at this stage. In other words, after grappling with the literature you’ll have an opinion about what the trends and concerns are in the field as well as what’s lacking. The introduction section can then present these ideas so that it is clear to examiners that you’re aware of how your research connects with existing knowledge .

Webinar - how to write a literature review

2: The Body Section

The body of your literature review is the centre of your work. This is where you’ll present, analyse, evaluate and synthesise the existing research. In other words, this is where you’re going to earn (or lose) the most marks. Therefore, it’s important to carefully think about how you will organise your discussion to present it in a clear way. 

The body of your literature review should do just as the description of this chapter suggests. It should “review” the literature – in other words, identify, analyse, and synthesise it. So, when thinking about structuring your literature review, you need to think about which structural approach will provide the best “review” for your specific type of research and objectives (we’ll get to this shortly).

There are (broadly speaking)  three options  for organising your literature review.

The body section of your literature review is the where you'll present, analyse, evaluate and synthesise the existing research.

Option 1: Chronological (according to date)

Organising the literature chronologically is one of the simplest ways to structure your literature review. You start with what was published first and work your way through the literature until you reach the work published most recently. Pretty straightforward.

The benefit of this option is that it makes it easy to discuss the developments and debates in the field as they emerged over time. Organising your literature chronologically also allows you to highlight how specific articles or pieces of work might have changed the course of the field – in other words, which research has had the most impact . Therefore, this approach is very useful when your research is aimed at understanding how the topic has unfolded over time and is often used by scholars in the field of history. That said, this approach can be utilised by anyone that wants to explore change over time .

Adopting the chronological structure allows you to discuss the developments and debates in the field as they emerged over time.

For example , if a student of politics is investigating how the understanding of democracy has evolved over time, they could use the chronological approach to provide a narrative that demonstrates how this understanding has changed through the ages.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you structure your literature review chronologically.

In some ways, chronology plays a part whichever way you decide to structure your literature review, because you will always, to a certain extent, be analysing how the literature has developed. However, with the chronological approach, the emphasis is very firmly on how the discussion has evolved over time , as opposed to how all the literature links together (which we’ll discuss next ).

Option 2: Thematic (grouped by theme)

The thematic approach to structuring a literature review means organising your literature by theme or category – for example, by independent variables (i.e. factors that have an impact on a specific outcome).

As you’ve been collecting and synthesising literature, you’ll likely have started seeing some themes or patterns emerging. You can then use these themes or patterns as a structure for your body discussion. The thematic approach is the most common approach and is useful for structuring literature reviews in most fields.

For example, if you were researching which factors contributed towards people trusting an organisation, you might find themes such as consumers’ perceptions of an organisation’s competence, benevolence and integrity. Structuring your literature review thematically would mean structuring your literature review’s body section to discuss each of these themes, one section at a time.

The thematic structure allows you to organise your literature by theme or category  – e.g. by independent variables.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when structuring your literature review by themes:

Option 3: Methodological

The methodological option is a way of structuring your literature review by the research methodologies used . In other words, organising your discussion based on the angle from which each piece of research was approached – for example, qualitative , quantitative or mixed  methodologies.

Structuring your literature review by methodology can be useful if you are drawing research from a variety of disciplines and are critiquing different methodologies. The point of this approach is to question  how  existing research has been conducted, as opposed to  what  the conclusions and/or findings the research were.

The methodological structure allows you to organise your chapter by the analysis method  used - e.g. qual, quant or mixed.

For example, a sociologist might centre their research around critiquing specific fieldwork practices. Their literature review will then be a summary of the fieldwork methodologies used by different studies.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself when structuring your literature review according to methodology:

3: The Conclusion Section

Once you’ve completed the body section of your literature review using one of the structural approaches we discussed above, you’ll need to “wrap up” your literature review and pull all the pieces together to set the direction for the rest of your dissertation or thesis.

The conclusion is where you’ll present the key findings of your literature review. In this section, you should emphasise the research that is especially important to your research questions and highlight the gaps that exist in the literature. Based on this, you need to make it clear what you will add to the literature – in other words, justify your own research by showing how it will help fill one or more of the gaps you just identified.

Last but not least, if it’s your intention to develop a theoretical framework for your dissertation or thesis, the conclusion section is a good place to present this.

In the conclusion section, you’ll need to present the key findings of your literature review and highlight the gaps that exist in the literature. Based on this, you'll  need to make it clear what your study will add  to the literature.

Let’s Recap

In this article, we’ve  discussed how to structure your literature review for maximum impact. Here’s a quick recap of what  you need to keep in mind when deciding on your literature review structure:

If you’re ready to get started, be sure to download our free literature review template to fast-track your chapter outline.

narrative literature review format

Psst… there’s more (for free)

This post is part of our research writing mini-course, which covers everything you need to get started with your dissertation, thesis or research project.

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How To Read Journal Articles Quickly & Efficiently For Your Literature Review



Great work. This is exactly what I was looking for and helps a lot together with your previous post on literature review. One last thing is missing: a link to a great literature chapter of an journal article (maybe with comments of the different sections in this review chapter). Do you know any great literature review chapters?


I agree with you Marin… A great piece

Ache Roland Ndifor

I thank you immensely for this wonderful guide

Malik Imtiaz Ahmad

It is indeed thought and supportive work for the futurist researcher and students

Franklin Zon

Very educative and good time to get guide. Thank you


Great work, very insightful. Thank you.


Thank you very much, very helpful

Michael Sanya Oluyede

This is very educative and precise . Thank you very much for dropping this kind of write up .

Karla Buchanan

Pheeww, so damn helpful, thank you for this informative piece.

Enang Lazarus

I’m doing a research project topic ; stool analysis for parasitic worm (enteric) worm, how do I structure it, thanks.

Biswadeb Dasgupta

comprehensive explanation. Help us by pasting the URL of some good “literature review” for better understanding.


great piece. thanks for the awesome explanation. it is really worth sharing. I have a little question, if anyone can help me out, which of the options in the body of literature can be best fit if you are writing an architectural thesis that deals with design?

S Dlamini

I am doing a research on nanofluids how can l structure it?


Beautifully clear.nThank you!

Lucid! Thankyou!


Brilliant work, well understood, many thanks


I like how this was so clear with simple language 😊😊 thank you so much 😊 for these information 😊


Insightful. I was struggling to come up with a sensible literature review but this has been really helpful. Thank you!


You have given thought-provoking information about the review of the literature.


Thank you. It has made my own research better and to impart your work to students I teach


I learnt a lot from this teaching. It’s a great piece.


I am doing research on EFL teacher motivation for his/her job. How Can I structure it? Is there any detailed template, additional to this?

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Narrative Review

Narrative reviews fail to content-code the studies either for theoretically important aspects or for aspects that gauge methodological quality, with the result that the accuracy of the review’s claims about the characteristics of the studies and the quality of their methods is difficult to judge.

From: Handbook of Child and Adolescent Sexuality , 2013

Related terms:

Defining and Analyzing the Problem

George Demiris , ... Karla T. Washington , in Behavioral Intervention Research in Hospice and Palliative Care , 2019

3.2.1 Narrative Review

A narrative review is the type first-year college students often learn as a general approach. Its purpose is to identify a few studies that describe a problem of interest. Narrative reviews have no predetermined research question or specified search strategy, only a topic of interest. They are not systematic and follow no specified protocol. No standards or protocols guide the review. Although the reviewers will learn about the problem, they will not arrive at a comprehensive understanding of the state of the science related to the problem. Fins and colleagues provide an example of a narrative review in hospice and palliative care. 6 Box 3.3 outlines steps for conducting a narrative review.

Steps for Conducting a Narrative Literature Review

The published scientific literature is indexed in a variety of databases. Search these databases for studies. It is important to search numerous databases to ensure that the majority of relevant studies have been identified. Neglecting a database in the search strategy will result in studies going unidentified. Common databases for hospice and palliative care studies include PubMed, PsycINFO, and CINAHL.

Authors call out several keywords when publishing their research so others can identify the work during database searches. Once you find a relevant article, use its keywords and similar ones in your search. To find individual studies on similar topics, you must use the keywords that were used when they were indexed. You may try numerous keywords before finding a paper that is pertinent to your review question.

After the search is complete and all duplicates are thrown out, it is time to review the abstracts of the remaining articles to ensure that they address your review question. With narrative reviews, it is not necessary to include every article on a topic.

Summarize and synthesize the findings from the articles you have found, and integrate them into your writing as appropriate. You do not need to document your literature search. Reference the articles as you use information from the studies.

Volunteering and health in later life*

Jeffrey A. Burr , ... Sae Hwang Han , in Handbook of Aging and the Social Sciences (Ninth Edition) , 2021

Mortality risk

Narrative reviews and meta-analyses conclude that the association between volunteering and risk of mortality is substantial, with the earliest evidence found in the seminal work of Berkman and Syme (1979) . A meta-analysis study by Okun et al. (2013) reports that volunteering is associated with an average adjusted effect of 24% decreased risk of death (95% CI=16%–31%). Similarly, the Jenkinson et al. (2013) meta-analysis finds an average adjusted effect of 22% (95% CI=10%–34%). Based on their evaluation, Okun et al. (2013 , 576) conclude that

…it is no longer a question of whether volunteering is predictive of reduced mortality risk; rather, our results suggest that the volunteering-mortality association is reliable, and that the magnitude of the relationship is sizable.

Further, prospective research design studies demonstrating an association between volunteering and mortality include Ayalon (2008) , using Israeli data, Luoh and Herzog (2002) , using the Assets and Health Dynamics (AHEAD) data, and Musick, Herzog, and House (1999) , using data from the American’s Changing Lives study, adding to substantial empirical literature that evaluates the benefits of helping others and being socially engaged.

Some research indicates that the benefit of volunteering for human longevity may be strongest for certain kinds of people and under certain conditions. For example, Konrath, Fuhrel-Forbis, Lou, and Brown (2012) , examining 4-year follow-up data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, discovered that the survival benefits accrue only to those who volunteer for “other-oriented” reasons (i.e., in alignment with social connections or altruistic values). Lee, Steinman, and Tan (2011) demonstrated with Health and Retirement Study data that volunteering is only beneficial in reducing mortality risk among those who are nondrivers, and they propose that volunteering may benefit those who are otherwise at risk of social isolation.

Okun et al. (2010) , using 6-year follow-up data from the Later Life Study of Social Exchanges, argue that volunteering serves as a buffer between functional limitations and mortality, with one result being that people with functional limitations may benefit from volunteering in terms of expanded longevity. In comparison, Rogers et al. (2016) , using the English Longitudinal Study on Aging in an 11-year follow-up research design, reveal that the benefit of volunteering for reducing risk of mortality occurs only among those who report no disabilities.

Case Conceptualization and Treatment: Adults

Alan Carr , in Comprehensive Clinical Psychology (Second Edition) , 2022 Adults

Narrative reviews and meta-analyses support the effectiveness of FBPIs as an adjunct to medical care for adults with chronic pain, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, HIV, and caring for aging relatives with dementia ( Campbell, 2003 ; Han et al., 2019 ; Hartmann et al., 2010 ; Nguyen et al., 2019 ; Vintilă et al., 2019 ). For example, in a meta-analysis of 52 randomized controlled trials involving a range of conditions in adults including cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, and chronic pain conditions such as arthritis, Hartmann et al. (2010) found that FBPIs led to significantly better physical health in patients and better physical and mental health in both patients and other family members compared with routine care. Effect sizes were small, ranging from 0.28 to 0.35 indicating that the average case treated with systemic therapy fared better than 61%–64% of cases who received routine care. Effects were stable over long follow-up periods. FBPIs included psychoeducational and cognitive behavioral couple and family therapy as well as multifamily support groups, and carer support groups. These interventions had some or all of the following elements ( McDaniel et al., 2013 ; Rolland, 1994 ). They provided psychoeducation about the affected family member's medical condition and its management. They promoted adherence to medical regimes, an increase in adaptive “well behavior”, and a reduction of “illness behavior”. They offered a context within which to enhance support for the person with the chronic illness, and other family members. They provided a forum for exploring ways of coping with the condition, and its impact on family relationships.

Other Sources of Evidence

Susan M. Wilczynski , in A Practical Guide to Finding Treatments That Work for People with Autism , 2017

Narrative Reviews

Narrative reviews include consensus and critical reviews. When a group of scholars create a consensus review (also known as a best practice panel), they draw from their expertise and evaluation of the scientific literature. These experts have been asked to lend their expertise to the review because they are very familiar with the evidence and have been regular contributors to the literature. The greatest weakness of a consensus review results from the potential for bias entering into the final conclusions. Bias may result from the selection process that initiates a review. That is, there is little transparency about how editors or funding agencies select the experts to complete reviews. Editors (of a book, journal, or other document) or funders may include experts who confirm their biases and exclude experts who offer disconfirmatory perspectives ( Slocum et al., 2012 ). The expert may also introduce bias by placing inordinate weight on a single research article or completely ignore another. This form of bias is typically unintentional; however, human beings inadvertently allow bias to influence their conclusions. Group-based bias can also influence the reported outcomes of consensus reviews. For example, when a highly prestigious member of an expert panel states his or her opinion, others may agree without applying due diligence. This source of bias is less likely to occur when experts hold diverse views about the literature. Unfortunately, it is also more difficult to achieve consensus when a larger, more diverse group of experts write a review ( Wilczynski, 2012 ).

A critical review is similar to a consensus review, but it is completed by a single researcher or a group of researchers who have not been invited to discuss their views based on their expertise. These reviews are prone to the same sources of bias as consensus reviews. Despite these limitations, consensus and critical reviews were the primary source of evidence that could guide practitioners until recently. They may still prove very useful, particularly when a systematic review closely matching the characteristics of a given case is not available. Evidence-based practitioners should recognize that a consensus or critical review of the literature may reflect a better fit with the specifics of a given case. For example, a critical review could match the setting, diagnosis for participant, target behavior, etc., in every way—and better than the parameters used to conduct the only available systematic review.

Sensorimotor Rehabilitation

Hamza Farooq , ... David W. Cadotte , in Progress in Brain Research , 2015

This narrative review captures a subset of recent advances in imaging of the central nervous system. First, we focus on improvements in the spatial and temporal profile afforded by optical coherence tomography, fluorescence-guided surgery, and Coherent Anti-Stokes Raman Scattering Microscopy. Next, we highlight advances in the generation and uses of imaging-based atlases and discuss how this will be applied to specific clinical situations. To conclude, we discuss how these and other imaging tools will be combined with neuronavigation techniques to guide surgeons in the operating room. Collectively, this work aims to highlight emerging biomedical imaging strategies that hold potential to be a valuable tool for both clinicians and researchers in the years to come.

Behavioral Couples Therapy in the Treatment of Alcohol Problems

Adrian B. Kelly , in Evidence-Based Addiction Treatment , 2009

How Well does ABCT Work?

Recent narrative reviews (e.g., O’Farrell & Fals-Stewart, 2003 ) and meta-analytic reviews (e.g., Powers, Vedel, & Emmelkamp, 2008 ) conclude that ABCT has better outcomes than individual-based treatment for alcoholism, and indeed other drug use problems. Based on 12 randomized controlled trials of BCT (8 relating to alcohol and 4 relating to other substance abuse), Powers et al. (2008) found that ABCT outperformed controlled conditions when all follow-up time points were combined. When results were assessed for specific post-therapy time points, results were somewhat different. Specifically, ABCT produced improvements in relationship satisfaction at post-treatment, but did not result in improvements in the frequency or consequences of alcohol/substance use relative to control conditions. At follow-up, ABCT retained its superiority in terms of elevated relationship satisfaction, but also showed better outcomes on alcohol/substance use measures at later follow-ups. As noted earlier, ABCT programs contain some variability in therapeutic factors that may differentially account for positive findings. For example, three studies reviewed by Powers et al. (2008) included naltrexone or disulfiram in the couple conditions and not others. However, Powers and colleagues found that the effect sizes for BCT with and without these medication regimes were comparable. These authors conclude that the improvements in relationship satisfaction evident at the end of therapy may provide a context for improved substance-related gains in the longer term.

In general, ABCT has been used with couples in which only one partner (typically the male) is the identified drinker and the alcohol problems are moderate to severe. It is less clear how well ABCT works for couples where both partners have substance abuse problems and how well ABCT works for problem drinkers (as opposed to alcohol-dependent people). O’Farrell and Fals-Stewart (2006) recommend that a couples approach is contraindicated when both partners have substance abuse problems. Preliminary research suggests that ABCT may not be any more efficacious than alcohol-focused spouse involvement for people with mild to moderate alcohol problems. Walitzer and Dermen (2004) compared BCT (group format) to alcohol-focused spouse involvement and treatment for problem drinkers only. For those whose partners participated, identified drinkers reported fewer heavy drinking days and more abstinence/light drinking days in the year following treatment relative to treatment for problem drinkers only. However, the combination of alcohol-focused spouse involvement and BCT yielded no better outcomes than alcohol-focused spouse involvement alone. More research is needed on the utility of ABCT for problem drinkers. It is possible that couples with less severe alcohol problems may also have less severe couple relationship problems, so ABCT-related improvements may not be as marked. It is also possible that these couples may have more circumscribed problems than those with severe alcohol problems and that a tailored ABCT program to meet circumscribed relationship issues might yet prove effective. It would be surprising if such couples approaches were not helpful to couples with less severe alcohol problems, but this remains an empirical question yet to be tested.

Personality and Type 2 Diabetes

Mika Kivimäki , ... Markus Jokela , in Personality and Disease , 2018

Conclusions and Practical Implications

In this narrative review , we have described evidence for an association between personality and diabetes. Individuals with high conscientiousness seem to experience a reduced risk of developing, and dying from, diabetes, indicating that this personality trait may affect both the etiology and prognosis of type 2 diabetes. One of the mechanisms underlying the protective effect of high conscientiousness was the ability to maintain a healthy body weight. Other evidence suggests bidirectionality whereby having multiple chronic conditions, including diabetes, was related to reductions in conscientiousness over time.

In general, the contribution of personality to diabetes risk and prognosis seemed relatively modest compared with conventional diabetes risk factors, such as obesity and physical inactivity. In light of this small effect size and the overall difficulty to modify psychological characteristics, personality is unlikely to be considered as an important risk factor in diabetes prevention strategies. In relation to targeted strategies, however, personality might have a role. Better understanding of the role of personality in diabetes etiology and progression could help in developing more personalized prevention and treatment strategies for people with high risk of diabetes and those who already have type 2 diabetes.

Environmental protection through societal change

Sebastian Bamberg , ... Maxie Schulte , in Psychology and Climate Change , 2018

8.4.1 Positive and negative outcomes of being an activist

In an extensive narrative review , Vestergren, Drury, and Chiriac (2016) summarized the outcomes for participants after they had taken part in protest and activism. The authors categorized the changes they found in published research articles into two domains, the behavioral or objective and the psychological or subjective changes. As already suggested, these effects point to both negative and positive personal outcomes for individuals engaging in protest and activism. On the one hand, activists reported negative objective changes, such as a higher rate of divorces, fewer children, and tension affecting personal relationships, which were not part of their activism. These effects might be related, for example, to participants’ changes in attitudes toward life or a lack of time caused by the engagement in collective actions. However, on the other hand, activists also described the formation of new and strong social relationships during the collective action. They emphasized positive subjective changes of, e.g., feeling empowered by the participation, increased self-esteem and self-confidence, taking up a new job in the educational, social or creative area, gaining new organizational skills and knowledge.

Participating in collective action in general and in the context of environmental activism more specifically can be a frustrating enterprise. Especially when actions do not succeed as planned, such failures can evoke feelings of frustration and helplessness. Activists need strategies for dealing with frustration to ensure their continued participation, given that fundamental societal change usually needs a long time to unfold and that the process of change is often characterized by setbacks. One obvious psychosocial resource for coping with these negative experiences is the group itself: As part of groups, individuals experience that collective action helps them deal with what might seem like an unsolvable, overwhelming problem at first. To elaborate on this idea of the group as a psychological resource, we briefly review evidence from the London road protests including the mass occupation of a green area ( Drury & Reicher, 2005 ). This campaign in northeast London was part of an active UK-wide antiroads movement. People living in the area were involved and hundreds of people motivated by ecological principles joined the protests. The activists mobilized for a rally at a green area, which should be removed within the construction of the road. On the day of the rally, contractors had erected a fence around the green and it was guarded by security. The rally first took place in front of the fence. After the rally had finished, participants started to climb over the fence, started to push it down, and the crowd entered the site.

The Human Hypothalamus: Neuropsychiatric Disorders

Michael Nair-Collins , Ari R. Joffe , in Handbook of Clinical Neurology , 2021

Management of the patient diagnosed as “brain dead”

There are many narrative reviews on the management of patients diagnosed as brain dead ( Gupta and Dhanani, 2016 ; Maciel and Greer, 2016 ; Chamorro-Jambrina et al., 2017 ; Meyfroidt et al., 2019 ; Opdam, 2019 ). There are also systematic reviews ( D’Aragon et al., 2017 ; Buchanan and Mehta, 2018 ) and guidelines on this management ( Kotloff et al., 2015 ; Canadian Blood Services, 2019 ). These publications give guidance on all acute clinical management of patients with brain death, with an emphasis on maintaining organ functions to optimize organ donation rates. It is beyond the scope of this chapter to discuss all of this management, and here we focus on what has been called Hormonal Replacement Therapy (HRT) aimed to replace hypothalamic–pituitary axis hormonal deficiencies.

When hypothalamic–posterior pituitary function is lost, indicated by central diabetes insipidus (see previously for manifestations of this), treatment with antidiuretic hormone replacement is indicated to prevent dehydration, hypovolemia, hemodynamic instability, and hypernatremia from the hypoosmotic polyuria. This can be done using desmopressin (1-deamino-8- d -arginine vasopressin or DDAVP), a vasopressin analogue with a much greater affinity for V2 renal receptors than for V1 vascular smooth muscle receptors. Usually, a dose of 1–4   mcg IV is used initially, typically followed by 1–2   mcg IV q6h titrated to maintain urine output <   34   mL/kg/h ( Kotloff et al., 2015 ). In pediatrics, the dose for DDAVP is 0.25–1   mcg IV q6h for the same target urine output ( Gupta and Dhanani, 2016 ). If the dosing is adequate, intravenous fluids can be administered as insensible losses (20% maintenance fluids as dextrose 5% in 0.9% sodium chloride) plus urine output (as normal saline (NS)); if the serum sodium is dropping at a rate more than 10   mmol/L/day, and urine sodium is measured to be much lower than that of NS (i.e., ≪   154   mmol/L), urine replacement fluid may need to be changed to 0.45% sodium chloride with a close following of serum sodium measured every 4–6   h initially.

Another option to replace antidiuretic hormone is to use vasopressin, which has affinity for all three receptors, and thus can treat diabetes insipidus and also improve vasodilatory shock from vasopressin deficiency at the vascular smooth muscle V1 receptor ( Gupta and Dhanani, 2016 ; Maciel and Greer, 2016 ; Chamorro-Jambrina et al., 2017 ; Meyfroidt et al., 2019 ; Opdam, 2019 ). In the presence of hypotension from vasodilatory shock, vasopressin is considered as a first-line vasoactive agent and given by intravenous infusion ( Kotloff et al., 2015 ; Canadian Blood Services, 2019 ). The dosing of vasopressin suggested in the literature can be confusing, given variously in units/min, units/h, milliunits/h, milliunits/kg/min (mU/kg/min), etc., and clinicians need to pay close attention to these details when prescribing vasopressin to avoid dosing errors. We suggest that the dose used is best given as 0.3–0.7   mU/kg/min, with the maximum being an absolute dose of 40   mU/min (which is 2.4   U/h) IV, titrated to effect on blood pressure and urine output of ~   100   mL/h in adults and 2–3   mL/kg/h in children. Oral DDAVP is used in the setting of chronic vasopressin deficiency from loss of hypothalamic–posterior pituitary function; however, this is not a reliable treatment in the acute setting and will not be discussed more here.

More controversial is whether to treat for hypothalamic–anterior pituitary loss of function. As reviewed previously, central thyroid deficiency may occur in 16%–22% of patients with brain death and central adrenal deficiency in at least 27%–29% of patients with brain death. Studies and reviews focus on whether replacing thyroid and adrenal hormones improves the outcomes of the number of organs donated and post-organ-transplant organ function, and not on efficacy for long-term maintenance. Most narrative reviews suggest replacement of thyroid and corticosteroid hormones based on retrospective observational studies and expert opinion; however, the evidence from randomized controlled trials is not supportive of this practice ( Meyfroidt et al., 2019 ; Opdam, 2019 ). There are no studies of the efficacy of HRT in pediatric patients.

Thyroid hormone replacement has had no effect on the number of organs donated (based on findings from five of six observational studies), on heart donation rates (based on four of six observational studies and four of four randomized controlled trials), or on heart function (based on three of three randomized controlled trials; Buchanan and Mehta, 2018 ; Canadian Blood Services, 2019 ). Nevertheless, the Society of Critical Care Medicine guideline still suggests that thyroid replacement be “considered” for hemodynamically unstable donors or for potential heart donors with “left ventricular ejection fraction less than 45%” ( Kotloff et al., 2015 ). If used, T4 can be given as 20   mcg IV bolus followed by 10   mcg/h IV, or, if available, T3 can be given as 4   mcg IV bolus followed by 3   mcg/h IV infusion ( Kotloff et al., 2015 ). In pediatrics, the dosing of T4 is an initial bolus of 1–5   mcg/kg IV followed by 0.8–1.4   mcg/kg/h IV infusion. These ranges are based on age: for age ranges of 0–6   months, 6–12   months, 1–5   years, 6–12   years, 13–16   years, and   greater than 16   years, the loading dose is 5, 4, 3, 2.5, 1.5, and 0.8   mcg/kg IV, respectively, followed by the infusion dose of 1.4, 1.3, 1.2, 1.0, 0.8, and 0.8   mcg/kg/h IV, respectively. T3 dosing in pediatrics is 0.05–0.2   mcg/kg/h IV infusion, with the higher dose used in younger patients ( Kotloff et al., 2015 ; Gupta and Dhanani, 2016 ). Again, for chronic thyroid deficiency, oral dosing is used, and this is beyond the scope of this review.

Replacement of corticosteroids has had a possible benefit on treating hypotension (based on two of four observational studies reporting increased donor blood pressure; however, this was not confirmed in meta-analysis of three randomized controlled trials), no clear benefit on the number of organs donated (based on five observational studies and two randomized controlled trials), and no effect on post-organ-transplant organ function in recipients (based on nine randomized controlled trials) ( D’Aragon et al., 2017 ; Canadian Blood Services, 2019 ). In spite of these findings, for unclear reasons, the guideline from the Society of Critical Care Medicine states that administration of corticosteroids “reduces the potential deleterious effects of the inflammatory cascade on donor organ function” and therefore recommends using methylprednisolone 15   mg/kg (up to 1   g) IV daily or 250   mg IV bolus followed by 100   mg/h infusion ( Kotloff et al., 2015 ). In pediatrics, the dose is 20–30   mg/kg IV daily (up to a maximum of 1   g IV daily) ( Kotloff et al., 2015 ; Gupta and Dhanani, 2016 ). Some reviews suggest an alternative is to use hydrocortisone 1   mg/kg/dose q6h, up to 50   mg IV q6h ( Canadian Blood Services, 2019 ; Opdam, 2019 ). In the setting of chronic adrenal insufficiency oral corticosteroids are used, and the dosing is beyond the scope of this review.

It is important to emphasize that these reviews and guidelines only address the acute short-term (i.e., at most days) management of the hypothalamic–pituitary axis in brain-dead patients. No study we are aware of addresses whether treatment of thyroid and/or adrenal failure can change the results of apnea testing. No study we are aware of addresses cases of “chronic-brain-death” where testing for, and treatment of central thyroid and/or adrenal failure may be used to support homeostasis. The testing and treatment of these deficiencies in the chronic setting are beyond the scope of this chapter.

Health Psychology

Chris J. Main , Michael K. Nicholas , in Comprehensive Clinical Psychology (Second Edition) , 2022 The Yellow Flags Framework

In 1997, following a narrative review , a system for the identification and management of (primarily) psychological risk factors (or yellow flags) for the development of chronic low back disability were developed. The clinical yellow flags were further differentiated from psychiatric factors ( orange flags) and socio-occupational factors. The latter comprised blue flags potentially modifiable worker and workplace centered risk factors (such as perceptions of work as harmful or the possibility or work accommodations); and black flags or system factors such as conditions of employment, and benefit entitlement that are outside the immediate control of the employee and/or the team trying to facilitate the return to work. They are more fully described elsewhere ( Main et al., 2008 ; Nicholas et al., 2011 ; Shaw et al., 2009 ).

There is specific evidence for both yellow flags and blue flags as risk factors for long-term work disability. There also is evidence for the influence of pain severity and level of depressive symptoms on the transition to chronicity. The influence of these factors is variable across studies, and there is dispute among authors as to their relative importance, but the weight of current evidence supports the yellow flag hypothesis, with maladaptive pain coping behaviors, anxiety, and depressive features being especially salient factors. ( Chou and Shekelle, 2010 ). However, the Flags classification is offered however as a framework rather than a model and has been developed as a way of thinking about interventions in the context of obstacles to recovery. In that sense it aligns both with the sociological framework distinguishing macro-, meso- and micro-levels of focus, but draws attention to fact that the prevention of chronic pain or disability may involve different sorts of solution. The framework has three important features. It offers a “systems perspective” and assumes that an adequate understanding of the problem requires consideration of both the injured worker and the individual's social and occupational context. It contains both clinical and occupational elements. Finally, it makes an important distinction between the individual's perception of the situation and the objective features. However, it is important to understand yellow flags in context and to appreciate that they do not operate in isolation from other factors.

How to Write a Literature Review

narrative literature review format

As every student knows, writing informative essay and research papers is an integral part of the educational program. You create a thesis, support it using valid sources, and formulate systematic ideas surrounding it. However, not all students know that they will also have to face another type of paper known as a Literature Review in college. Let's take a closer look at this with our custom essay writer .

Literature Review Definition

As this is a less common academic writing type, students often ask: "What is a literature review?" According to the definition, a literature review is a body of work that explores various publications within a specific subject area and sometimes within a set timeframe.

This type of writing requires you to read and analyze various sources that relate to the main subject and present each unique comprehension of the publications. Lastly, a literature review should combine a summary with a synthesis of the documents used. A summary is a brief overview of the important information in the publication; a synthesis is a re-organization of the information that gives the writing a new and unique meaning.

Typically, a literature review is a part of a larger paper, such as a thesis or dissertation. However, you may also be given it as a stand-alone assignment.

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The Purpose

The main purpose of a literature review is to summarize and synthesize the ideas created by previous authors without implementing personal opinions or other additional information.

However, a literature review objective is not just to list summaries of sources; rather, it is to notice a central trend or principle in all of the publications. Just like a research paper has a thesis that guides it on rails, a literature review has the main organizing principle (MOP). The goal of this type of academic writing is to identify the MOP and show how it exists in all of your supporting documents.

Why is a literature review important? The value of such work is explained by the following goals it pursues:

Here are some example topics for writing literature reviews:

How Long Is a Literature Review?

When facing the need to write a literature review, students tend to wonder, "how long should a literature review be?" In some cases, the length of your paper's body may be determined by your instructor. Be sure to read the guidelines carefully to learn what is expected from you.

Keeping your literature review around 15-30% of your entire paper is recommended if you haven't been provided with specific guidelines. To give you a rough idea, that is about 2-3 pages for a 15-page paper. In case you are writing a literature review as a stand-alone assignment, its length should be specified in the instructions provided.

Literature Review Format: APA, MLA, and Chicago

The essay format you use should adhere to the citation style preferred by your instructor. Seek clarification from your instructor for several other components as well to establish a desired literature review format:

If you want to format your paper in APA style, then follow these rules:

For MLA style text, apply the following guidelines:

Finally, if you are required to write a literature review in Chicago style, here are the key rules to follow:

Read also about harvard format - popular style used in papers.

Structure of a Literature Review

How to structure a literature review: Like many other types of academic writing, a literature review follows a typical intro-body-conclusion style with 5 paragraphs overall. Now, let’s look at each component of the basic literature review structure in detail:

You should direct your reader(s) towards the MOP (main organizing principle). This means that your information must start from a broad perspective and gradually narrow down until it reaches your focal point.

Start by presenting your general concept (Corruption, for example). After the initial presentation, narrow your introduction's focus towards the MOP by mentioning the criteria you used to select the literature sources you have chosen (Macbeth, All the King's Men, and Animal Farm). Finally, the introduction will end with the presentation of your MOP that should directly link it to all three literature sources.

Body Paragraphs

Generally, each body paragraph will focus on a specific source of literature laid out in the essay's introduction. As each source has its own frame of reference for the MOP, it is crucial to structure the review in the most logically consistent way possible. This means the writing should be structured chronologically, thematically or methodologically.


Breaking down your sources based on their publication date is a solid way to keep a correct historical timeline. If applied properly, it can present the development of a certain concept over time and provide examples in the form of literature. However, sometimes there are better alternatives we can use to structure the body.


Instead of taking the "timeline approach," another option can be looking at the link between your MOP and your sources. Sometimes, the main idea will just glare from a piece of literature. Other times, the author may have to seek examples to prove their point. An experienced writer will usually present their sources by order of strength. For example, in "To Kill A Mockingbird," the entire novel was centralized around racism; in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," racism was one of many themes.


As made obvious by the terminology, this type of structuring focuses on the methods used to present the central concept. For example, in "1984", George Orwell uses the law-and-order approach and shows the dangers of a dystopia for a social species.

In "Frankenstein," Mary Shelley exposes the character's physical traits as repulsive and horrifying, forcing him to suffer in an isolated environment. By showcasing the various methods used to portray the MOP, the writer can compare them based on things like severity, ethicality, and overall impact.

After presenting your key findings in the body paragraphs, there are 3 final objectives to complete in the essay's conclusion. First, the author should summarize the findings they have made or found, in other words, and briefly answer the question: "What have you learned?"

After discussing that information, the next step is to present the significance of the information about our current world today. In other words, how can the reader take the information and apply it to today's society? From that point, we finish off with a breadcrumb trail.

As the author, you want to leave the readers' trail of thought within the actual essay topic. This provides them with a means of further investigation—meaning that the reader may consider where the discussion will go next.

Writing an Outline for a Literature Review

Students often underestimate the importance of planning the structure of their papers in advance. However, this is not a wise approach. Having a rough APA literature review outline (or other style outlines) will not only help you follow the right format and structure but will also make the writing process simpler and help ensure that you include all of the important information without missing anything.

How to write a literature review outline: As you already know from the Structure section of this guide, every part of your literature review performs its own important role. Therefore, you should create your outline while keeping the general introduction-body-conclusion structure in mind and ensuring that each section meets its own objectives. However, it is important to remember that a literature review outline is slightly different from outlines of other types of essays because it does not provide new information. Instead, it focuses on existing studies relevant to the main topic. ‍

Here is a literature review outline example on the subject of the Ebola virus to help you get it right:

Hopefully, this sample outline will help you to structure your own paper. However, if you feel like you need some more advice on how to organize your review, don’t hesitate to search for more literature review outline examples in APA or other styles on the Web, or simply ask our writers to get a dissertation help .

How to Write a Good Literature Review

Whether you are writing a literature review within the framework of a large research project (e.g. thesis, dissertation, or other) or as a stand-alone assignment, the approach you should take to writing generally remains the same.

narrative literature review format

Whether you are writing a literature review within the framework of a large research project (e.g., thesis, dissertation, or other) or as a stand-alone assignment, the approach you should take to writing generally remains the same.

Now, as you know about the general rules and have a basic literature review outline template, let's define the steps to take to handle this task right with our service:

Step 1: Identifying the Topic

This is probably the only matter you may approach differently depending on whether your literature review comes within a research paper or a separate assignment altogether. If you are creating a literature review as a part of another work, you need to search for literature related to your main research questions and problems. Respectively, if you are writing it as a stand-alone task, you will have to pick a relevant topic and central question upon which you will collect the literature. Earlier in this guide, we suggested some engaging topics to guide your search.

Step 2: Conducting Research

When you have a clearly defined topic, it is time to start collecting literature for your review. We recommend starting by compiling a list of relevant keywords related to your central question—to make the entire research process much simpler and help you find relevant publications faster.

When you have a list of keywords, use them to search for valid and relevant sources. At this point, be sure to use only trusted sources, such as ones from university libraries, online scientific databases, etc.

Once you have found some sources, be sure to define whether or not they are actually relevant to your topic and research question. To save time, you can read abstracts to get general ideas of what the papers are about instead of the whole thing.

Pro Tip: When you finally find a few valid publications, take a look at their bibliographies to discover other relevant sources as well.

Step 3: Assess and Prioritize Sources

Throughout your research, you will likely find plenty of relevant literature to include in your literature review. At this point, students often make the mistake of trying to fit all the collected sources into their reviews. Instead, we suggest looking at what you've collected once more, evaluating the available sources, and selecting the most relevant ones. You most likely won't be able to read everything you find on a given topic and then be able to synthesize all of the sources into a single literature review. That's why prioritizing them is important.

To evaluate which sources are worth including in your review, keep in mind the following criteria:

Furthermore, as you read the sources, don’t forget to take notes on everything you can incorporate into the review later. And be sure to get your citations in place early on. If you cite the selected sources at the initial stage, you will find it easier to create your annotated bibliography later on.

Step 4: Identify Relationships, Key Ideas, and Gaps

Before you can move on to outlining and writing your literature review, the final step is determining the relationships between the studies that already exist. Identifying the relationships will help you organize the existing knowledge, build a solid literature outline, and (if necessary) indicate your own research contribution to a specific field.

Some of the key points to keep an eye out for are:

Here are a few examples: Common trends may include a focus on specific groups of people across different studies. Most researchers may have increased interest in certain aspects of the topic regarding key themes. Contradictions may include some disagreement concerning the theories and outcomes of a study. And finally, gaps most often refer to a lack of research on certain aspects of a topic.

Step 5: Make an Outline

Although students tend to neglect this stage, outlining is one of the most important steps in writing every academic paper. This is the easiest way to organize the body of your text and ensure that you haven't missed anything important. Besides, having a rough idea of what you will write about in the paper will help you get it right faster and more easily. Earlier in this guide, we already discussed the basic structure of a literature review and gave you an example of a good outline. At this workflow stage, you can use all of the knowledge you've gained from us to build your own outline.

Step 6: Move on to Writing

Having found and created all of your sources, notes, citations, and a detailed outline, you can finally get to the writing part of the process. At this stage, all you need to do is follow the plan you've created and keep in mind the overall structure and format defined in your professor's instructions.

Step 7: Adding the Final Touches

Most students make a common mistake and skip the final stage of the process, which includes proofreading and editing. We recommend taking enough time for these steps to ensure that your work will be worth the highest score. Do not underestimate the importance of proofreading and editing, and allocate enough time for these steps.

Pro Tip: Before moving on to proofreading and editing, be sure to set your literature review aside for a day or two. This will give you a chance to take your mind off it and then get back to proofreading with a fresh perspective. This tip will ensure that you won't miss out on any gaps or errors that might be present in your text.

These steps will help you create a top-notch literature review with ease! Want to get more advice on how to handle this body of work? Here are the top 3 tips you need to keep in mind when writing a literature review:

1. Good Sources

When working on a literature review, the most important thing any writer should remember is to find the best possible sources for their MOP. This means that you should select and filter through about 5-10 different options while doing initial research.

The stronger a piece of literature showcases the central point, the better the quality of the entire review.

2. Synthesize The Literature

Make sure to structure the review in the most effective way possible, whether it be chronologically, thematically, or methodologically. Understand what exactly you would like to say, and structure the source comparison accordingly.

3. Avoid Generalizations

Remember that each piece of literature will approach the MOP from a different angle. As the author, make sure to present the contrasts in approaches clearly and don't include general statements that offer no value.

Literature Review Examples

You can find two well-written literature reviews by the EssayPro writing team below. They will help you understand what the final product of a literature review should ideally look like.

The first literature review compares monolingual and bilingual language acquisition skills and uses various sources to prove its point:

The second literature review compares the impact of fear and pain on a protagonist’s overall development in various settings:

Both reviews will help you sharpen your skills and provide good guidelines for writing high-quality papers.

Get Help from an Essay Writer

Still aren’t sure whether you can handle literature review writing on your own? No worries because you can pay for essay writing and our service has got you covered! By choosing EssayPro, you will acquire a reliable friend who can help you handle any kind of literature review or other academic assignments of any level and topic. All you need to do to get help from the best academic writers now and boost your grades is to place an order in a few quick clicks and we will satisfy your write my paper request.

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Literature review guidelines

Developed by James O'Neill with assistance from Ronald Levant, Rod Watts, Andrew Smiler, Michael Addis, and Stephen Wester.

General considerations

Essential elements for a review

Sections that might be included in a review

It is not expected that reviews will be able to meet all of the above-listed criteria, but authors should meet many of them.

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Literature Review: Conducting & Writing

Sample Lit Reviews from Communication Arts

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narrative literature review format

Volume 24, Issue 4 - Writing for Lay Audiences

Writing narrative style literature reviews, author: rossella ferrari.

 Reviews provide a synthesis of published literature on a topic and describe its current state-of-art. Reviews in clinical research are thus useful when designing studies or developing practice guidelines. The two standard types of reviews are (a) systematic and (b) non-systematic or narrative review. Unlike systematic reviews that benefit from guidelines such as PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) statement, there are no acknowledged guidelines for narrative reviews. I have attempted to define the best practice recommendations for the preparation of a narrative review in clinical research. The quality of a narrative review may be improved by borrowing from the systematic review methodologies that are aimed at reducing bias in the selection of articles for review and employing an effective bibliographic research strategy. The dynamics of narrative review writing, the organizational pattern of the text, the analysis, and the synthesis processes are also discussed.

narrative literature review format


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Common Assignments: Literature Reviews

Basics of Literature Reviews

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A literature review is a written approach to examining published information on a particular topic or field. Authors use this review of literature to create a foundation and justification for their research or to demonstrate knowledge on the current state of a field. This review can take the form of a course assignment or a section of a longer capstone project. Read on for more information about writing a strong literature review!

Students often misinterpret the term "literature review" to mean merely a collection of source summaries, similar to annotations or article abstracts. Although summarizing is an element of a literature review, the purpose is to create a comprehensive representation of your understanding of a topic or area of research, such as what has already been done or what has been found. Then, also using these sources, you can demonstrate the need for future research, specifically, your future research.

There is usually no required format or template for a literature review. However, there are some actions to keep in mind when constructing a literature review:

narrative literature review format

Randolph, J. J. (2009). A guide to writing the dissertation literature review. Practical Assessment, Research and Evaluation , 14 (13), 1–13. https://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1219&context=pare

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Literature reviews offer a critical synthesis of empirical and theoretical literature to assess the strength of evidence, develop guidelines for practice and policymaking, and identify areas for future research. 1 It is often essential and usually the first task in any research endeavour, particularly in masters or doctoral level education. For effective data extraction and rigorous synthesis in reviews, the use of literature summary tables is of utmost importance. A literature summary table provides a synopsis of an included article. It succinctly presents its purpose, methods, findings and other relevant information pertinent to the review. The aim of developing these literature summary tables is to provide the reader with the information at one glance. Since there are multiple types of reviews (eg, systematic, integrative, scoping, critical and mixed methods) with distinct purposes and techniques, 2 there could be various approaches for developing literature summary tables making it a complex task specialty for the novice researchers or reviewers. Here, we offer five tips for authors of the review articles, relevant to all types of reviews, for creating useful and relevant literature summary tables. We also provide examples from our published reviews to illustrate how useful literature summary tables can be developed and what sort of information should be provided.

Tip 1: provide detailed information about frameworks and methods

Tabular literature summaries from a scoping review. Source: Rasheed et al . 3

The provision of information about conceptual and theoretical frameworks and methods is useful for several reasons. First, in quantitative (reviews synthesising the results of quantitative studies) and mixed reviews (reviews synthesising the results of both qualitative and quantitative studies to address a mixed review question), it allows the readers to assess the congruence of the core findings and methods with the adapted framework and tested assumptions. In qualitative reviews (reviews synthesising results of qualitative studies), this information is beneficial for readers to recognise the underlying philosophical and paradigmatic stance of the authors of the included articles. For example, imagine the authors of an article, included in a review, used phenomenological inquiry for their research. In that case, the review authors and the readers of the review need to know what kind of (transcendental or hermeneutic) philosophical stance guided the inquiry. Review authors should, therefore, include the philosophical stance in their literature summary for the particular article. Second, information about frameworks and methods enables review authors and readers to judge the quality of the research, which allows for discerning the strengths and limitations of the article. For example, if authors of an included article intended to develop a new scale and test its psychometric properties. To achieve this aim, they used a convenience sample of 150 participants and performed exploratory (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) on the same sample. Such an approach would indicate a flawed methodology because EFA and CFA should not be conducted on the same sample. The review authors must include this information in their summary table. Omitting this information from a summary could lead to the inclusion of a flawed article in the review, thereby jeopardising the review’s rigour.

Tip 2: include strengths and limitations for each article

Critical appraisal of individual articles included in a review is crucial for increasing the rigour of the review. Despite using various templates for critical appraisal, authors often do not provide detailed information about each reviewed article’s strengths and limitations. Merely noting the quality score based on standardised critical appraisal templates is not adequate because the readers should be able to identify the reasons for assigning a weak or moderate rating. Many recent critical appraisal checklists (eg, Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool) discourage review authors from assigning a quality score and recommend noting the main strengths and limitations of included studies. It is also vital that methodological and conceptual limitations and strengths of the articles included in the review are provided because not all review articles include empirical research papers. Rather some review synthesises the theoretical aspects of articles. Providing information about conceptual limitations is also important for readers to judge the quality of foundations of the research. For example, if you included a mixed-methods study in the review, reporting the methodological and conceptual limitations about ‘integration’ is critical for evaluating the study’s strength. Suppose the authors only collected qualitative and quantitative data and did not state the intent and timing of integration. In that case, the strength of the study is weak. Integration only occurred at the levels of data collection. However, integration may not have occurred at the analysis, interpretation and reporting levels.

Tip 3: write conceptual contribution of each reviewed article

While reading and evaluating review papers, we have observed that many review authors only provide core results of the article included in a review and do not explain the conceptual contribution offered by the included article. We refer to conceptual contribution as a description of how the article’s key results contribute towards the development of potential codes, themes or subthemes, or emerging patterns that are reported as the review findings. For example, the authors of a review article noted that one of the research articles included in their review demonstrated the usefulness of case studies and reflective logs as strategies for fostering compassion in nursing students. The conceptual contribution of this research article could be that experiential learning is one way to teach compassion to nursing students, as supported by case studies and reflective logs. This conceptual contribution of the article should be mentioned in the literature summary table. Delineating each reviewed article’s conceptual contribution is particularly beneficial in qualitative reviews, mixed-methods reviews, and critical reviews that often focus on developing models and describing or explaining various phenomena. Figure 2 offers an example of a literature summary table. 4

Tabular literature summaries from a critical review. Source: Younas and Maddigan. 4

Tip 4: compose potential themes from each article during summary writing

While developing literature summary tables, many authors use themes or subthemes reported in the given articles as the key results of their own review. Such an approach prevents the review authors from understanding the article’s conceptual contribution, developing rigorous synthesis and drawing reasonable interpretations of results from an individual article. Ultimately, it affects the generation of novel review findings. For example, one of the articles about women’s healthcare-seeking behaviours in developing countries reported a theme ‘social-cultural determinants of health as precursors of delays’. Instead of using this theme as one of the review findings, the reviewers should read and interpret beyond the given description in an article, compare and contrast themes, findings from one article with findings and themes from another article to find similarities and differences and to understand and explain bigger picture for their readers. Therefore, while developing literature summary tables, think twice before using the predeveloped themes. Including your themes in the summary tables (see figure 1 ) demonstrates to the readers that a robust method of data extraction and synthesis has been followed.

Tip 5: create your personalised template for literature summaries

Often templates are available for data extraction and development of literature summary tables. The available templates may be in the form of a table, chart or a structured framework that extracts some essential information about every article. The commonly used information may include authors, purpose, methods, key results and quality scores. While extracting all relevant information is important, such templates should be tailored to meet the needs of the individuals’ review. For example, for a review about the effectiveness of healthcare interventions, a literature summary table must include information about the intervention, its type, content timing, duration, setting, effectiveness, negative consequences, and receivers and implementers’ experiences of its usage. Similarly, literature summary tables for articles included in a meta-synthesis must include information about the participants’ characteristics, research context and conceptual contribution of each reviewed article so as to help the reader make an informed decision about the usefulness or lack of usefulness of the individual article in the review and the whole review.

In conclusion, narrative or systematic reviews are almost always conducted as a part of any educational project (thesis or dissertation) or academic or clinical research. Literature reviews are the foundation of research on a given topic. Robust and high-quality reviews play an instrumental role in guiding research, practice and policymaking. However, the quality of reviews is also contingent on rigorous data extraction and synthesis, which require developing literature summaries. We have outlined five tips that could enhance the quality of the data extraction and synthesis process by developing useful literature summaries.

Twitter @Ahtisham04, @parveenazamali

Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Competing interests None declared.

Patient consent for publication Not required.

Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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narrative literature review format

Types of APA Papers

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APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource, revised according to the 6 th edition, second printing of the APA manual, offers examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page. For more information, please consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , (6 th ed., 2 nd printing).

Note:  This page reflects APA 6, which is now out of date. It will remain online until 2021, but will not be updated. There is currently no equivalent 7th edition page, but we're working on one. Thank you for your patience. Here is a link to our APA 7 "General Format" page .

There are two common types of papers written in fields using APA Style: the literature review and the experimental report (also known as a "research report"). Each has unique requirements concerning the sections that must be included in the paper.

Literature review

A literature review is a critical summary of what the scientific literature says about your specific topic or question. Often student research in APA fields falls into this category. Your professor might ask you to write this kind of paper to demonstrate your familiarity with work in the field pertinent to the research you hope to conduct. 

While the APA Publication Manual does not require a specific order for a literature review, a good literature review typically contains the following components:

Some instructors may also want you to write an abstract for a literature review, so be sure to check with them when given an assignment. Also, the length of a literature review and the required number of sources will vary based on course and instructor preferences.

NOTE:  A literature review and an annotated bibliography are  not  synonymous. While both types of writing involve examining sources, the literature review seeks to synthesize the information and draw connections between sources. If you are asked to write an annotated bibliography, you should consult the  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association  for the APA Format for Annotated Bibliographies.

Experimental/Research report

In many of the social sciences, you will be asked to design and conduct your own experimental research. If so, you will need to write up your paper using a structure that is more complex than that used for just a literature review. We have a complete resource devoted to writing an experimental report in the field of psychology  here .

This structure follows the scientific method, but it also makes your paper easier to follow by providing those familiar cues that help your reader efficiently scan your information for:

Thus an experimental report typically includes the following sections.

Make sure to check the guidelines for your assignment or any guidelines that have been given to you by an editor of a journal before you submit a manuscript containing the sections listed above.

As with the literature review, the length of this report may vary by course or by journal, but most often it will be determined by the scope of the research conducted.

Other papers

If you are writing a paper that fits neither of these categories, follow the guidelines about  General Format , consult your instructor, or look up advice in the  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association .

When submitting a manuscript to a journal, make sure you follow the guidelines described in the submission policies of that publication, and include as many sections as you think are applicable to presenting your material. Remember to keep your audience in mind as you are making this decision. If certain information is particularly pertinent for conveying your research, then ensure that there is a section of your paper that adequately addresses that information.

FREE 8+ Sample Literature Review Templates in PDF | MS Word

Are you writing a literature review? Are you aware of literature review models, types, and elements? Do you need help in writing a literature review? Are you searching Sample Literature Review examples? If our above questions meet your queries, then you have landed to the right destination. Check a list of sample literature review documents below and learn writing custom literature reviews. Our sample literature review documents contain examples, guidelines, and sample brief information about literature review writing and research paper .

Literature Review

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literature review template

Sample Research Paper Literature Review Template

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This PDF is a sample literature review system example written in APA MLA format. Read and analyze this sample document for writing a literature review. Check the basic literature review format and elements used in the example. This PDF contains a red highlighter mark that describes the key points.

Thesis Literature Review Template

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This PDF contains a flow chart for writing a custom literature review. Download the PDF and learn the best way of writing an effective thesis literature review for engaging and impressing the readers. Also, you get a guide on literature review strategies through sample examples.

Formal Literature Review Template

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If you do not know anything about literature review writing, then you should download this PDF. It contains a briefing note on literature review including definition, elements, strategies, and its types. Once you read it, you will not need a second document or guidance for writing a custom literature review.

Nursing Literature Review Example

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Sample Essay Literature Review Template

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Psychology Literature Review Outline Template

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Dissertation Literature Review Template

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Sample Systematic Literature Review Template

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Purpose of Literature Reviews

The basic goal of the literature review is summarizing and justifying the research. It also ensures neither the research analysis was done before nor it is a replication study. It provides a vast knowledge on the subject to the researcher. Also, it helps in tracking and figuring out the flaws associated or linked with the previous research. It helps in topic refining, refocusing, and changing the ongoing discussions. Also, it helps in marking the loops or gaps of previous research.

Target Audience

A literature review can be a thesis or a research paper essay . Many higher institutes and universities ask students to write literature reviews in the final year. It is practiced in almost all fields including arts, computer science, science, history, and social science etc. So, all university and college students can use our sample literature reviews for reference. It will help them in writing an effective research paper, dissertations, and thesis.

We are 100% assured that our above sample literature reviews have provided the essential help needed. Also, check our Performance Review Sample and conduct custom assessments easily. Please share few words with us by writing your suggestions, feedbacks, and queries in the comment box.

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    Write your literature review A good literature review doesn't just summarize sources—it analyzes, synthesizes, and critically evaluates to give a clear picture of the state of knowledge on the subject. Tip We've also compiled a few examples, templates, and sample outlines for you below. Table of contents What is the purpose of a literature review?

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    pertain to narrative literature reviews, as com- pared with writing empirical reports. Our own collaboration began, perhaps fit- tingly, with a literature review project. We had each by that point published a number of prior literature review articles and chapters. What struck us, however, as we began our work

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    There are (broadly speaking) three options for organising your literature review. Option 1: Chronological (according to date) Organising the literature chronologically is one of the simplest ways to structure your literature review.

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    Steps for Conducting a Narrative Literature Review Step 1: Conduct a Search The published scientific literature is indexed in a variety of databases. Search these databases for studies. It is important to search numerous databases to ensure that the majority of relevant studies have been identified.

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    Keywords: Narrative review, Systematic review, Search methodology, Review writing Introduction A periodic synthesis of knowledge is required because of the huge amount and rapid rate of pub-lications. The need for a review of literature may arise from the abundance of information, divergent views, or a lack of consensus about a topic.1,2

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    Subject 1: A brief overview of the particular piece of literature in general terms; an analysis of the key aspects of the study; a review of the research questions, methods, procedures, and outcomes; and an overview of the strong and weak points, gaps, and contradictions.

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    A good review should summarize the state of knowledge on a well-defined topic in the psychology of men and masculinity in concise and clear ways. This means that the review is written with exceptional clarity, cohesiveness, conciseness, and comprehensiveness.

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    Literature reviews organized in a theoretical format have their contents organized in an abstract framework established by the author to discuss different concepts, theories, and concepts and how they relate to the research at hand. Additional sections

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    Abstract. Reviews provide a synthesis of published literature on a topic and describe its current state-of-art. Reviews in clinical research are thus useful when designing studies or developing practice guidelines. The two standard types of reviews are (a) systematic and (b) non-systematic or narrative review.

  17. Literature Review Outline Templates (in Word & PDF)

    Literature review outline templates This template basically comprises a set of topics and subtopics which guide a writer throughout every stage of drafting this literature review outlines. These topics are all the pieces of information that the final task is ordinarily supposed to provide or contain in its entirety.

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    Rule 1: Always define the topic and audience of your review Rule 2: Research the literature widely Rule 3: Write a focused review, but maintain a broad interest Rule 4: Write consistently and critically Rule 5: Include your research but remain objective What is the easiest way to write a literature review? Step 1: Identify your topic

  19. Common Assignments: Literature Reviews

    A literature review is a written approach to examining published information on a particular topic or field. Authors use this review of literature to create a foundation and justification for their research or to demonstrate knowledge on the current state of a field. This review can take the form of a course assignment or a section of a longer ...

  20. Five tips for developing useful literature summary tables for writing

    Literature reviews offer a critical synthesis of empirical and theoretical literature to assess the strength of evidence, develop guidelines for practice and policymaking, and identify areas for future research.1 It is often essential and usually the first task in any research endeavour, particularly in masters or doctoral level education. For effective data extraction and rigorous synthesis ...

  21. (PDF) Writing narrative style literature reviews

    Narrative reviews, also referred to as literature reviews, are a method used to identify and consolidate that which has been previously published on a specific topic; this consolidation...

  22. Types of APA Papers

    Thank you for your patience. Here is a link to our APA 7 "General Format" page. There are two common types of papers written in fields using APA Style: the literature review and the experimental report (also known as a "research report"). Each has unique requirements concerning the sections that must be included in the paper.

  23. FREE 8+ Sample Literature Review Templates in PDF

    PDF. Size: 816 KB. Download. This PDF is a sample literature review system example written in APA MLA format. Read and analyze this sample document for writing a literature review. Check the basic literature review format and elements used in the example. This PDF contains a red highlighter mark that describes the key points.