Steps to Conduct a Thorough Literature Review

A literature review is an essential part of academic research, and it is important to conduct it thoroughly to ensure that your research is sound and up-to-date. Since many students find conducting a thorough literature review a daunting task, here Professor Danielle from online dissertation help discuss the steps involved in conducting a literature review, as well as address some of the most common questions asked of students.


Step 1: Define your research question

The first step in conducting a literature review is to define your research question. This will help you to determine which sources are relevant to your research and which ones are not. Your research question should be specific, clear, and focused. It should also be relevant to your field of study.

Step 2: Identify the relevant literature

Once you have defined your research question, the next step is to identify the relevant literature. This can be done by conducting a thorough search of databases and other sources of academic literature. It is important to use a range of search terms and to be as comprehensive as possible in your search.

Step 3: Evaluate the sources

After you have identified the relevant literature, the next step is to evaluate the sources. This involves reading and analysing each source to determine its relevance and quality. You should consider factors such as the author’s credentials, the publication date, and the relevance of the information to your research question.

Step 4: Synthesise the information

Once you have evaluated the sources, the next step is to synthesise the information. This involves analysing the information from each source and synthesising it into a coherent whole. You should look for common themes and patterns, as well as gaps in the literature that your research can address.

Step 5: Organise your review

In the end, you should organise your review into a clear and coherent structure. This can be done by creating an outline. You should also ensure that your review is well-written and follow the guidelines for academic writing in your field of study.

Students’ Common questions about literature reviews

Q-1 How many sources should I include in my literature review?

Answer- The number of sources you include in your literature review will depend on the scope of your research question and the requirements of your field of study. As a general rule, you should aim to include a range of sources that represent different perspectives and approaches to your research question.

Q-2 what is the difference between a literature review and a systematic review?

Answer- A literature review is a comprehensive summary of the literature on a particular topic, while a systematic review is a more rigorous and systematic approach that involves a specific set of criteria for selecting and evaluating sources.

Q-3 How do I avoid plagiarism in my literature review?

Answer- To avoid plagiarism in your literature review, you should ensure that you cite all sources correctly and use quotation marks when directly quoting from a source. You should also paraphrase information in your own words and cite the source of information.


Conducting a thorough literature review is an essential part of academic research. By following the steps outlined, you can ensure that your literature review is comprehensive, well-organised, and up-to-date. 

Also, remember to define your research question, identify the relevant literature, evaluate the sources, synthesise the information, and organise your review. 

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