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What to include in your literature review

A literature review is an overview of any published literature that analyses it and gives an honest and professional opinion of the literature under concern. The word literature means the published sources including books, dissertations term papers, research papers, theories and conference proceedings etc. To be more precise, it is a critical analysis of the resource. It can address to the whole dissertation or thesis or in another case it may be only about a specific chapter or portion of the thesis. It is aimed to do the following about the written material under concern.

  • Explain how different aspects of the topic are related
  • Identify the areas that lack any details
  • Point out the new aspects the previous author has missed
  • Point out the contradictory parts and justify why they are contradictory
  • Identify if the idea is stolen or copied
  • Provide strong references to each objection
  • Point out how it can be improved to contribute in future research

Parts of the literature review

The review of a literature should include the following things.


An overview is the portion that addresses to the core purpose of the literature under discussion. It gives an overall brief about the thesis, dissertation or theory that is being reviewed.


The review must divide the literature into different sections. These sections are supposed to be two different viewpoints of the same subject. One of them is the parts which provide support to a certain aspect and the ones that are against it. Moreover it should have a separate section for alternate ideas and solutions.


The description should explain how different aspects relate to each other and where they lack coherency. It must also be able to explain how different aspects contradict.


Conclusion is the part where you have to identify the best part of the thesis. It means those areas and pieces of information that are most relevant and help the reader most in getting a clear understanding of the topic under discussion.

These are the key portions of a literature review. One cannot miss any of these while writing a review of any thesis, dissertation or research paper. The review must be objective and should provide enough information in understanding the credibility of the paper. These all areas are a must to include and while composing them you have to keep in mind that they are well-written, structured and to-the-point.

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