A Complete Guide of How to Write the Literature Review in Your MBA/Ph.D. Research Paper

The literature review is considered as the heart of a research paper. Most percentage of words is covered by the literature review in the research paper. An effective literature review is responsible for the significance of the entire research paper. The literature review is sometimes misconceptualized as writing the details about the subject. However, it involves a step by step procedure to be followed while writing the literature review.

What Is Research Paper?

The research paper is a self-explanatory word. It requires a thorough search of the previous authentic and reliable research articles of the same relevant topic. It is not something writing all new about the subject. It demands to use the same relevant information from different previous research papers to be rephrased in your understanding while providing the references for the information. It is a consolidation of old information with the new concepts to develop the best possible outcomes. A research paper helps you to gain deep knowledge about the subject of your interest.

What Is the Literature Review?

The literature review provides you with relevant knowledge about the previously researched information about your selected topic of the research paper. This related information must be gathered from different reliable sources of information. These sources may include, research articles, books, reports and many more. The following points are considered necessary to produce a custom writing of the literature review.

Selecting The Sources

Sources to the different articles are important to focus on the topic for the best results of writing a literature review. Reading the abstract of the article will tell you if the entire article is relevant or not. If it is relevant then go on and read the whole article to grasp the information required for your literature review. The following points should be evaluated while reaching out to the relevant sources.

  1. While approaching the relevant articles make sure that they are scholarly sourced. Check if the references are provided in the text body and if they are mentioned at the end of the article?
  2. Check if it is a primary or secondary source.
    Primary Sources: It is considered as a first-hand report by the author of the article. This can include text related to law, newspaper reports, diaries, interviews, survey data, statistics, etc.
    Secondary Sources: A secondary source covers the same topic of the primary source, it is interpretation and analysis of the primary source. Secondary sources can include, books, articles, biography, dissertation, essay, etc.
    Usage of the secondary sources is allowed in addition to the primary sources. However, it depends on the guidelines provided by the instructor
  3. Check if the provided article suggests the competing theories.

Citation of The Sources

Citations are a way to let the reader know that the provided information is generated by someone else. It is done by providing the details of the source while writing the text. It is also helpful for readers to approach the sources easily and directly. It is very important to credit the authors for their ideas, as they are not your own. The following points should be considered while providing the citations in the text body of the literature review.

  1. The citation should be provided in the first sentence and not at the end of the paragraph as it is an idea of another person.
  2. Do not repeat the citation if you are in the same paragraph.
  3. If you are using the idea of the same author in the paper later, you should provide the citation again.
  4. The citation should include the last name of the author the year of publication of the related article. The title of the provided source is not required in the citation.
  5. It can be provided before or after the sentence, for example,
    => Smith and Jones (1976) have argued that learning is essential to survival.
    => Research has shown that learning is essential to survival (Smith & Jones, 1976).
    Use “and” when citing multiple authors as part of a sentence, use “&” when authors’ names are given at the end of the sentence, as shown above.
  6. If the source includes three or more authors, provide all the names the first time you cite the source, after that use “et al.” every next time in the text. For example, (Doe et al., 1985). “et al.” is a Latin phrase which means “and others”.

Avoid Using Quoted Material

Quotations should be ignored while writing the literature review. However, quoted material is used very rarely in the literature review. Instead of using the same words try to paraphrase the same idea in your own words while providing the credit to the author. In the very rare case of using the quotation, enclose the quoted material with the quotation marks followed by the name of the author and the year of publication.

Avoid Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the biggest hurdle of producing a quality literature review. Plagiarism occurs when you as it copies the idea of the author as your own work without providing the citation of the material. You must credit the author every time while using the idea. Quotation marks are used when you are quoting the exact words of another author within the limit of 40 words. Plagiarism in the research paper is an unethical approach and is considered illegal as well.


Following the above-mentioned required steps will enable you to write an effective literature review for your research paper. However, a professional dissertation writing Service can play an important role in the production of premium and expert quality of your research paper.

A Complete Guide to Write the Literature Review for Your MBA/Ph.D.
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