Writing a Literature Review
Writing a Literature Review
You are not writing a report. That is the first thing you must remember if you have been assigned a literature review – whether of fiction or non-fiction. While a report is a rather objective presentation of the content of a piece of literature, writing a literature review means going deeper and speaking to other things. Writing a summary of a plot is not part of a review and never should be.
Elements of a Literature Review
The following things are usually addressed in the review of any piece of literature:
- A brief statement of the plot or purpose, in the case of non-fiction writing. You might, for example begin a fiction piece as follows:
Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment is a psychological novel about a young man who commits a horrible crime, attempts to live with the guilt, ultimately confesses, and is redeemed by that confession and dealing with the punishment for his crime.
A non-fiction piece might be introduced in the following way:
Wayne Dyer, in his book, The Faces of Intention, presents 7 beliefs and practices that will result in a productive, successful, and spiritual life.
- You may provide brief analyses of the major characters if the work is fiction; if not fiction, then you will want to describe one or two of the major points made by the author.
- You will address the theme(s) of the work. You have alluded to them in your introduction of the work, but now you will need to state them and to give specific examples from the work that promote those themes.
- Style and tone are important parts of writing literature review too. The author’s style may be formal, casual, dismissive, etc. Tone is the overall mood projection of the author. In Crime and Punishment, no one really has any fun or positive energy. It is “dark.” Dyer’s tone, on the other hand, is one of optimism.
A Literature Review Outline Template
There is no set template for constructing an outline for a literature review essay. Like all other essay you write, you will have an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Each of the elements above could be a sub-topic of your review and therefore be given a paragraph.
If You are Not Practiced
If you have not written many before, you may want to look at a sample literature review – they can be found online through a google search. Often colleges will post helpful suggestions for writing various types of essays, and they usually will provide a literature review sample for students to study. These can be quite helpful, because you can see how such an essay is developed and try to mimic it as you write your own. You may even be able to find a literature review of the book you have read. This will give you great ideas, but be cautioned here – professors take a very dim view of plagiarism, and it is easy to even inadvertently “steal” someone else’s words and thoughts.
Should you be really concerned about your ability to write a solid literature review, because you have not had enough experience or because you are simply out of time, a professional essay writing service can assist you.
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