A Three-Step Guide to Writing a Successful Literature Review for a Scholarly Paper
Step 1: The Thorough Research
Conducting thorough research is a necessity for writing any serious scholarly paper and it is always the first step when preparing a literature review. The researcher’s goal should be to find previously published scholarship that is related in important or meaningful ways to his or her current topic, so a keyword search through reference lists, library catalogues, scholarly databases and other bibliographical resources is in order. This search usually begins when the research project itself does, so it is likely that the researcher will already be familiar with many of the key publications long before sitting down to write the literature review. It is always a good idea, however, to ensure that no significant studies have been missed, particularly new publications that are closely related to the current work but may not have been available when the research began. Focussing on peer-reviewed research written by experts in the field and published by reputable journals and presses is a sound strategy for discovering and selecting useful sources for a literature review.