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Literature Review APA: Step-By-Step

APA Style Literature Review: All You Need to Know

Often when writing lit reviews, APA (American Psychological Association) is the format that is requested and essentially a set of rules that must be followed when structuring and formatting an APA literature review cover page and all its existing parts. A short example can be helpful when you are starting to write your lit overview.

Some of the main issues that you will have to deal with writing an APA literature review include the following:

  • Page layout and formatting – standard 1-inch margin on all four sides of the page. The page number on the top right of each page. A header of abbreviated title on each page. Running head on the first page.
  • Separate title page – contains the topic, students name, teachers name, class, and institution, and the date of submission
  • Sections of the American Psychological Association format contains:
    • title page
    • abstract
    • main body and
    • reference section
  • Citations – all reference materials used must be properly documented using the following rules for citation.

For those not familiar with writing a literature review APA style, it is a good idea to keep this reference guide handy.

writing apa format literature review

What Does a Lit Overview Look like in APA?

This style of the paper consists of three main sections. Those sections are the introduction, the main body, and the conclusion:

Opening In the opening, you will have to describe your scope and what you are trying to explain with your paper. Finish your introduction with a brief conclusion where you state your thesis statement.
Main body The next section, the main body, is where you critically analyze the references you have to discuss. Use subheading to organize the information.
Conclusion And in the conclusion section, you will have to summarize your paper. Here you will have to tell if there are any gaps in the investigation and what things can be improved.

We have created a brief step by step list to help you write your APA literature review example. Check a few expert tips:

  • Think of what topic would you like to write about: Research different subjects, and decide which scope will be best for your paper. Try to answer various questions like:
    • Would you be able to provide new insight with your paper?
    • Is the topic interesting for you?
    • Do you think other people would find it interesting?
  • Do thorough research: Check your writing several times, and critically analyze it. Provide references that support contrary arguments so you can have a balanced paper.
  • Analyze the references: When reading the sources, think of:
    • Can the argument be improved?
    • Does the author present the data in a readable way?
    • Is there a gap in the investigation?
  • Write your main argument: Once you have read the references, and think of the scope of your paper, you will have to write your main argument. This will be your thesis and your paper should be written around it.
  • Write your paper: Draw an outline where you use subheadings to explain each one of your points. Once you have them, start writing your paper. For each point, you will have to cite at least one reference.
  • Revise what you wrote: After you have finished writing your paper, revise it carefully. Proofread your text and correct any typos you may have made. You will also need to edit your text. Read it critically and see if there are any changes you would have to make.

Take a Look at the Example

There are a large number of rules to follow when using a literature review APA style. Some of those come up more frequently than others.

The following is a shortlist that can be used as a quick reference guide:

  • Do not use contractions
  • You shouldn’t write in the first-person point of view
  • When using acronyms use the full name first followed by the acronym in parenthesis
  • There should be two spaces after the end of each sentence
  • Numbers less than 10 should be written out in word form. Numbers 10 or larger use the numeral form. Always use the word form if the number comes at the beginning of a sentence.
  • Papers should be double-spaced.

Unless you have quite a bit of experience in writing papers is going to take quite a bit of time, even with references to verify you are getting everything done as it should be. If you have any difficulties with APA citation literature review and formatting than service we provide can help.
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Because they come from a wide variety of backgrounds, those assigned to work on your particular project will have a degree in the subject field at the appropriate academic level. They will be familiar with subject terminology and jargon as well as the subject itself, ensuring superior headings in APA literature review for the thesis.

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