How to write the Review of Related Literature and Studies


We are going to discuss review of related literature and studies or otherwise known as literature review. With this, I would like to establish the difference between literature and studies.

So, literature includes textbooks, newspapers, magazines, journals, manuals, that is relevant to the research being written, while studies include previous researches done relevant to the research being conducted by the writer.

To facilitate the discussion on how to write the review of related literature and studies, we can summarize the discussion into four parts and these are;

  1. Survey
  2. Synthesis
  3. Analysis
  4. Presentation

Now, that we have established the objectives of writing the review of related literature and studies, we are now going to go to the first stage which is survey.

  1. Survey: So, before any writing can be done, we need to as writers read, read and read, this is how we survey. This is how we establish the relevance of the materials that we are going to use, if they are genuinely related and relevant to the research that we are creating or writing.

    So, whether it is literature or studies, or researchers, or journals, manuals, newspapers, magazines, in order to establish this connection, or the connection of the content that we are reading to our research, we really need to religiously read the contents and the ideas behind the literature that we are going to use.
    The second stage of writing the review of related literature and studies is synthesis.
  2. Synthesis: This is the combination of two ideas, in this case, the idea of contained in the research that you’re doing, the objective of your research, what you want to establish in your research, and other part would be the idea behind the reference that you are using.

    Establishing the connection and the relevance of these two ideas would solidify the foundation of your research in the area or in the aspect of the argument that there is really a need to conduct the research.

    SIDENOTE: Before we proceed in review, we have already discussed two areas on how to write the review of related literature and studies. So number one is to survey to read, read and read. And the other one is to synthesize to combine these two ideas referring to the idea contained within your research and the idea contained within the reference.

    So, if you’re going to observe in the first stage, which is survey, you go through the materials that you find relevant to the research that you are doing.
    While on the second stage, which is synthesis, this is the time that you are going to start writing not only quoting the references that you use, but also discussing what idea, what theses that you have arrived at while reading the reference material.

    So, usually what we do when writing the review of related literature and studies is to cite the reference. So, this would include the name of the author or the year, if it is included in the format that you are using and then the idea contained in this reference, and then after the citation. That’s the time that you are going to write the inference that you have arrived in reading this particular idea from the reference that you got. So, this is called the synthesis.

    So, this is where you arrive at a new idea or establishing the relevance of the reference to the research that you are doing. So, again if I may, I would like you to observe while writing the pattern of citation and synthesis in your research paper.
    Okay, so, the third element in our discussion of writing the review of related literature and study is analysis.
  3. Analysis: We have to establish the relevance between the second element and the third element and try to develop a continuity on the discussion. So, the second element is synthesis, after synthesizing the references, whether it be literature or studies to the research that you are conducting, the third element which is analysis would fall under the following criteria.

    So, when you say analysis, we try to discuss the following;
  • Identification of gaps or the limitations of your study: So, relating this with the previews element, which is synthesis, after going through the process of synthesizing, citing and reflecting all of the references that you were able to go through.

    In the analysis stage, you now try to present an idea where in your establish areas that were not covered by the previous references that you gone through. So, maybe you identify something that was not included in the study of this particular person, and you will be able to fill that particular gap or limitation of that study.

    So, that’s what you call identifying the gaps, identifying the gaps and assuring that in your study, this particular gap would be addressed.

    Okay, so, in cases where these gaps cannot be filled in with the research that you are currently writing, then part of the analysis would be the discussion or the presentation of further studies.
  • Discussion or the presentation of further studies: So you would just state in this part of your research that this particular area that was not covered by your research in the research of other references could be the subject of further studies. And another area that you can look into, on the part of analysis would be reviewing areas of controversy.
  • Reviewing areas of controversy: So there were studies that were conducted, but the results of that particular study was not conclusive. Therefore, controversy by the use of that term, arose and therefore you can further investigate on that particular controversy that was not answered by that particular research.
    Okay, so the last element in writing the review of related literature will be the presentation.

    4. Presentation: Under this element we have to establish as writers the organization of your references.
  • Organization of your references: organization does not just refer to how you arrange the references. So, it should be in a way that it reflects the deductive method of writing. So, you start from general information, the background, you can also include a bit of history and then after that you try to develop the coherence and relevance of your discussion by citing another reference that would slim down the discussion.

    So, from general to a more specific area, it may be from another country going to your continent, discussing the background the effect of the problem that you are writing in your research, and then moving on towards the more specific area of your study.

    So, it is a paragraph development where in you start from a general idea or information and then move on to a more specific up to the point where you reach the specific research problem that you are trying to present.
    This is what we mean by organization, not the literal ‘organization’ of your references, but the organization of your ideas.

I hope you were able to get the basic ideas on how to write and what to write in this part of your research.