3 tips for writing a literature review

Source: Wikipedia

Literature reviews are some of the most common documents students write. Nevertheless, writing a literature review can be daunting. Literature reviews are great because they help support your research or essay, tell your readers the scope of your research, and tell how applicable your research is or can be. Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, they bring validation to your research.

We’ve edited our fair share of literature reviews and we’ve noticed one common theme. Most students approach the literature review as a list of sources and not much more than that. Its importance is not often considered—it becomes just another thing to do.

Because literature reviews bring value to your work, here are the three main things to consider while writing a literature review.

  1. Use reputable sources
    This is possibly the most important point. ALWAYS use reputable sources! You need your research to have a strong backing. This can be easily provided if you cite scholars who support your point. Not only is a reputable source trusted, but using reputable sources tells your professor that you take your research seriously.
  2. Don’t rephrase.
    When writing a literature review, try not to simply rephrase what you cite. This is a common error but a detrimental one. Rephrasing is repetitive, and repetition, in this sense, devalues your writing. What you want to do is cite your source and discuss what you cite while making links to your own research.
  3. Use a variety of sources
    Using various sources is important if you want to give your research credibility. If you can source several different studies, papers, books, or other material, it adds value to your paper. A low number of sources tells your professor you have not done enough background research, your topic needs further developing, or you are studying a new area and will possibly produce breakthrough results. If you have few sources, let’s hope your research falls in the last category!


Take time when writing a literature review. It gives your readers a good understanding of your focus and helps them determine whether your research is worth investigating. Use Skylight Editorial’s academic editing services so you can produce a well-written literature review.

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