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Literature Review Conclusion: Your Helpful Guide

Why the Literature Review Structure Is Important

literature review structureA literature review is a critical analysis of what has been published on a particular topic by scholars and researchers in the field. The literature review can be a standalone paper but is often a part of a larger work such as a dissertation. The reasons for writing literature reviews will vary but most often they are written so that the reviewer can justify the need for their own research and/or demonstrate their knowledge of the subject area. The literature review structure refers to how the material being presented is organized. How the information is presented is important in creating an effective argument for a particular stance as well as to demonstrate that the reviewer understands the existing literature by providing an effective analysis.

How to Structure the Literature Review

Literature review structure will use one of two main methods of organization. You can structure a literature review chronologically by grouping your sources based on when they were published, and focus on research advances over time. The other main choice is to write a thematic literature review. A thematic structure of literature review papers is a structure based on some theme that can include the following:

  • Methodology – Group sources based on how their research was conducted.
  • Theory – Sources grouped together based on different theories the authors based research on.
  • Results – The findings or results of your sources can serve as a way to group sources

If it makes sense, any method/theme can be used as long as you can show why you chose to organize the information in that particular way. Sources that are used should be relevant, up to date, and have been written by authorities in the field.

writing literature review structure in line with requirements

It is also important to include works that don’t necessarily agree with your position and show why you disagree. The following outline is an example showing structure of literature review based on the methodology used:

Title of Literature Review

  • Introduction – Introduce the topic, establish thesis/argument, describe the organization of the paper and what will be covered.
  • Body – Analysis and evaluation of literature organized by theme:
    • Theme 1 – Studies conducted using method A:
      • topic sentence
        • point 1
        • point 2
        • point 3
      • transition sentence
    • Theme 2 – Studies conducted using method B:
      • topic sentence
        • point 1
        • point 2
        • point 3
      • transition sentence
    • Theme 3 – Studies conducted using method C:
      • topic sentence
        • point 1
        • point 2
        • point 3
      • transition sentence
  • Conclusion – Summarize and explain the significance of the analysis and evaluation

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Writing the Literature Review Conclusion

literature review conclusionFor many people, one of the hardest parts of writing a paper is the conclusion. Literature review papers are no different. There is no one specific way for writing a literature review conclusion. However, there are some basic do’s and don’ts that can be used as literature review guidelines for conclusions.

Things that you should do include:

  • Restate your thesis
  • Summarize the main points
  • Pose questions that still remain unanswered or that require further study
  • Point out the implications and their importance to your field of study

What Not to Do in Your Literature Review Conclusion

  • Don’t introduce any new thoughts or ideas
  • Don’t wait till the conclusion to introduce your thesis statement
  • Avoid over used statements such as ” in conclusion” or “in summary”
  • Don’t include evidence such as figures and statistics that should have been in the body

literature review conclusion your helpful guide

Sample of a Literature Review Conclusion

On occasion, it can be helpful to see how somebody else has written their conclusion. This can give you an idea of how to write your own. The following is an example of a literature review conclusion:

“Stigmatization of the mentally ill is caused by peoples belief in myths about the danger of the mentally ill, and exposing those myths can reduce stigmatization. At least one-third of the people sampled in one study said that they would reject socially and fear violence from someone displaying behaviors associated with different mental illnesses. Other research discovered lack of contact with the mentally ill was the cause of this rejection and increased contact with the mentally ill reduced fear of them. The relationship between fear and rejection seems to be that fear (possibly based upon myths about mental illness) causes rejection. It appears that exposing these myths as unfounded increases acceptance of the mentally ill and that staged contact with a mentally ill person to expose myths has an even more powerful effect. However, the studies of Frankel (2000) and Lewis (2002)and the first study of Mason (2002) were based upon paper and pencil methodologies. And while Mason’s (2002) second study involved staged presentations, it was conducted in a college setting with a college sample. Future research should attempt to duplicate these findings with different populations in more natural settings.”

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