Basic Features of the Research Paper Literature Review Format

As you well know, the main purpose of a research paper is that to answer a question or several questions in a topic area that furthers a subject or area of study. The purpose of a literature review in a research paper is to discuss the published works surrounding within the topic or subject area surrounding the study. There are some basic features every student should know about formatting a proper literature review. These features are as follow:

Cover the Basic Categories

Just like most other academic writing assignments, a literature review should follow a basic structure which includes the introduction, the body paragraphs, and the conclusion. Think of this section as a small writing assignment within another. The introduction of the section can provide some background information, following by a deeper discussion of the resources you are referencing in your study, and finally any recommendations you may have about additional resources you think might be helpful for anyone else who may want to further or build from your study.

Organize the Body Paragraphs

You should always consider the organization of this section just as much as you would the organization of the work as a whole. Think logically. What resources should you introduce before others? How will your research paper be structured so that the reader best understands what you are presenting? Whether you choose chronological, thematic, methodological or some other category, be sure you are consistent throughout.

Use Supporting Evidence

As you begin to outline your ideas you should bring up specific examples or supporting evidence directly relating to what you will be discussing in the study. You might have several resources relating to individual ideas. Be sure to introduce each of these resources and explain how they are different from one another and how each one fits into what it is you are reporting or suggesting in your thesis statement.

Summarize and Synthesize

Lastly, remember that you should always summarize and synthesize the ideas discussed in all previous paragraphs in your literature review. Don’t simply list out these ideas using the exact same words; you should re-word them and tie the ideas together so that the reader understands exactly what you have covered in this section of the research paper. Remember that you should always refer to the significance of your study, so make the reader aware of how your work fits into what already exists.

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