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What Is a Literature Review Outline and Why Do You Need It

Before revealing core information about writing such a paper, it’s essential to understand what is a literature review outline and its purpose. An outline is a plan that organizes your materials after research for further work. Consider this as a roadmap for your future paper. You write a short description for each structure part, focusing only on the important points. You divide it into a few structural points and briefly describe what you need to place there.

Outlining creates a skeleton for your work and helps organize collected materials. This way, you can use it to manage all your thoughts properly and present an original literature review in the appropriate format. Moreover, the outline is the best place to consider paper requirements, which you should remember when writing the main paper.

The Structure of a Literature Review Paper Outline

Since each part of the outline performs its own role, you must separate the information and show what is included in the introduction, body part, and conclusion. People usually don’t pay attention to the outline at the beginning and then struggle trying to create a review. We will avoid these difficulties and discover how to write a literature review outline so you’ll understand what every part should include.

The plan identifies three main sections of the future writing: introduction, body part, and conclusion.

  1. An introduction is aimed to open the topic and set the context for the reader. Also, you point out the central question of the literature analysis. Moreover, an opening point hooks attention to make people keep reading.
  2. The body part of an outline aims to analyze and interpret information about literature sources. The section should be organized appropriately so the data is in a logical sequence. Also, remember to mention the strengths and weaknesses of the sources. Create the outline carefully and mention all the points that should appear in your literature analysis.
  3. The conclusion section summarizes all thoughts and presents the final evaluation. It should include the main themes you discovered and identify whether you answered research questions. You should provide a logical explanation of what you found and, if possible, recommendations for future studies.

How to Write a Literature Review Outline?

There’s a detailed guide for writing an outline.

  • Begin by selecting a topic that piques your interest or one in which you have substantial knowledge.
    Expert advice. Ensure your chosen topic is relevant and extensively researched to ease the collection of materials.
  • Search for literature on the chosen topic through your institution’s library or using reputable databases like JSTOR, NCBI, or EBSCO.
    Expert advice. The number of sources will depend on your task’s requirements. Prioritize recent and relevant publications, typically not more than five years old, unless your topic or given guidelines suggest otherwise.
  • Develop a structure of your outline using one of four approaches.
    Expert advice. You can start by pinpointing the key arguments to include and then move to the main paper’s sections.
  • Identify core themes and ideas to understand what literature you will use and what arguments you need to get from sources.
    Expert advice. From the start, focus on sections such as abstracts, summaries, discussions & conclusions. Take notes on essentials. This will help you identify appropriate sources for your writing. We recommend considering the full text of the chosen literature only after this stage.

Now, you can expand your notes. Your task at this stage is to adhere to and flesh out your established structure and draft your outline.
Expert advice. Don’t forget to revise your outline to correct any errors.

If the task looks complicated and you don’t feel like creating an outline yourself, feel free to ask us for help. Our literature review writing service offers assistance from experienced professionals. Thus, you can forget about your writing issue and focus on something else while writers will make your outline from scratch.

Four Approaches for Making a Literature Review Outline

There are three main approaches to preparing an outline: chronological, theoretical, methodological, and thematic. These approaches allow you to combine your ideas and ensure you present your thoughts correctly. Let’s examine each in more detail.

A theoretical approach means you analyze the chosen literature through a specific theoretical framework. Use a theory that suits your topic to understand your research question better and identify patterns and mismatches that couldn’t be identified otherwise. A theoretical approach is very helpful for the outline for a literature review if you must deal with multiple perspectives. You can divide them using subheadings, describing one theory after another. Look at the example below:

  • Theory I. Brief description of this theory.
  • Theory II. Brief description of the theory.

A chronological approach seems to be the simplest one to create an outline. You mention the oldest studies first and then move to the newest. You streamline the analysis of your studies over time and identify what impact these sources made on the topic. Organize your literature chronologically so it will be easy to move between them when working on an actual text.

With a methodological approach, you build your outline based on particular methodologies applied in the studies. This model will be a good decision when you need to investigate research questions related to some methods (for example, qualitative or quantitive study). With this method, you can more easily determine each method’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as discover areas that should be investigated further. When using the methodological approach, you start with research questions. Then, you define a type of study and identify the study design. You should consider the data collection methods used in the research and the data synthesis approach. Finish your work with the study implications.

In a thematic approach to the outline for literature review, you need to group your sources by themes to determine specific patterns or subjects. Once identified, these themes could be used as headings and subheadings. After that, organize the discussion for each source so it will be easy for readers to follow your thoughts. You put all the sources related to a similar topic together and make it easy to identify the differences in opinions or perspectives.

Relying only on explanations may make it challenging to use one of the approaches the first time. Consider using a literature review outline sample as a visual. It lets you see how others structure the information and point out the mentioned things.

Get Competent Assistance With Your Outline of a Literature Review

Writing literature review outline can be challenging and problematic, but expert assistance is always available. Asking competent specialists for help can save you time and effort. Whether it’s a separate task or an addition to a literature review, writing experts will highlight the topic’s main points and format them in the needed format. Our qualified writers will deliver a well-written outline just on time. So, place your order right now!

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