No More Struggling when Writing a Successful Literature Review

Vector illustration of open book with speech comics bubbles on blue background. Line art design for web, site, advertising, banner, poster, board and print.

Writing scientific reviews is a separate branch of writing skills, which requires the ability to quickly search and analyze information, to critically summarize the material from different sources, taking into account their importance and novelty, and also to present complex and voluminous topics using relatively simple language. Successful reviews await reincarnation in the form of books and textbooks, and no one will read or quote weak or simply badly written works. Here are some rules that will help your review worth reading.

Save Everything Relevant

If after viewing the article for several minutes you are convinced that it is on your topic — save it to disk. Put the name of the file so that it matches the title of the article and the author’s surname. This rule will significantly reduce your time for preparing the final text of the literary review. Keep in mind: some articles may disappear from free Internet access! Reasons: the transfer of rights for the article to the publisher, the closure of the author’s site, the dropping of the article from the index of search services, well, anything. It can happen in a few years, that is, for a period comparable to the period of study in graduate school.

Don’t Neglect Note-Taking

Don’t use for your abstract and abstract of the article or an annotation to the article made by another independent reviewer. You have a specific dissertation topic, and you should write an annotation for your needs, looking from where you stand. Also, select those keywords from the article that are important to you personally when working on your own literary review. There is a wonderful free program used for maintaining bibliographic records. It’s called JabRef. Its main purpose is to maintain a database of bibliographic records. The database is stored in the bib format, which describes the bibliography for the LaTeX system. For those who use LaTeX for a dissertation, we recommend installing JabRef.

Make Your Literary Review Complete

You need only two or three articles found by random search which will become the entering wedge of your high-quality custom literature review and help you get started. The whole secret is that there is no secret here — you must pedantically download and read the articles. To start, you need only two or three articles found by random search. After that:

  1. From the list of literature, which is in each article, write down interesting links for you. Make a brief record of why they are interesting to you.
  2. Look for articles in the Internet and with them repeat the actions in paragraph 1.

The number of articles will grow like a snowball! You will quickly reach “saturation” — new articles and new names will cease to appear. The main sign that it’s time to stop is the ability to build articles into a hierarchy.

Create a Logical Structure

Literary review, as a rule, contains approximately four identical in volume subdivisions:

  • an outline of the main stages and turning points in the development of scientific thought on the chosen problem;
  • the most precise definition of the place of your research among others;
  • critical coverage of works by predecessors dedicated to solving your problem;
  • summary of those specific tasks that you want to deliver and resolve throughout the work.

Describe the general picture of the development of the scientific direction within which you carry out the research. As a rule, in this part it is said that this area of ??science is one of the oldest (or vice versa, very young), about how many great scientists are known for their work in the field of this science (do not forget to refer to their works from your list); how much in the framework of this scientific direction was done (again links), how much more to be done (again links) and stuff like that. The more luminaries you remember, the better.

You will have to work with literature from the moment you enter the graduate school until the time of dissertation defence. If you follow our advice, you will save a lot of time and energy. The most important secret is to believe in yourself and inspirefully shovel the entire volume of literature. Read all the most relevant articles on the particular topic only seems an impossible mission.