Structure Of A Literature Review
A literature review should be structured like any other essay: it
should have an introduction, a middle or main body, and a conclusion.
The introduction should:
define your topic and provide an appropriate context for reviewing
establish your reasons - i.e. point of view - for
reviewing the literature;
explain the organisation - i.e. sequence - of the review;
state the scope of the review - i.e. what is included and what
isn’t included. For example, if you were reviewing the literature
on obesity in children you might say something like: There are a large
number of studies of obesity trends in the general population. However,
since the focus of this research is on obesity in children, these
will not be reviewed in detail and will only be referred to as appropriate.
The middle or main body should:
organise the literature according to common themes;
provide insight into the relation between your chosen topic and the
wider subject area e.g. between obesity in children and obesity in
move from a general, wider view of the literature being reviewed to
the specific focus of your research.
The conclusion should:
summarise the important aspects of the existing body of literature;
evaluate the current state of the literature reviewed;
identify significant flaws or gaps in existing knowledge;
outline areas for future study;
link your research to existing knowledge.