In order to write the literature review effectively, you will need to understand first the purpose of the literature review. Why is it necessary to write a literature review? The main purpose of the literature review is to provide an overview of relevant literature published on a research topic. It is therefore important that you have a clear idea of the topic or question that you would like to be enlightened on. This is the reason why you need to write your statement of the problem or objective before writing the rest of your paper. This limits the extent of your review that will prevent you from including irrelevant literature or duplicating the work of others. You can ask yourself the question: "What are the findings of scholars or other researchers on the topic I intend to investigate and write about?" Then follow up with the question: "Are these findings supported by facts?" If the arguments are supported by facts, then these are reliable information that will help you come up with your conceptual framework. Your conceptual framework will aid you in the course of gathering the needed data for answering the research question or in meeting the research objectives. If you are now confident and clear enough about the objective of your literature review, then you can go on with the next step in writing the literature review. A step-by-step guide is provided below. The literature review is written just like other forms of expository writing. It has an introduction, body, and conclusion. This means, therefore, that it should follow a logical structure to facilitate the reader's understanding of the topic discussed. 1. Search the literature
With the aid of the internet, it is now easy to search for literature on your chosen topic. Just make sure that the literature you use can be depended upon. This means that you will have to gather those works that are considered scholarly. Thus, these are research articles or references that are reputable and reliable. Your cue is to find out which work has gone through a rigorous peer-review process. A Mozilla Firefox add-on like Zotero can help you compile the literature that you gathered in the internet. You can add PDF files, snapshots of webpages and even images, audio and video files useful to your research. 2. Note the bibliographical details
In the course of writing your literature review (especially those who write on note cards), make sure that you have gathered the necessary bibliographical details of the literature that you have read. You might not be able to come across the same literature again to note down the specific page where the statement was made. At the very least, you will need to note down the following: author, date of publication, place of publication, name of publisher, page number, and number of pages. 3. Read the literature thoroughly and make critical notes or comments Read with understanding. Examine the literature thoroughly for answers to the question or questions you posed before you started off with your review of literature. The mind works better if you ask yourself a question first before reading. Stick the research question in your mind and find the answers in the literature. This will also prevent your mind from wandering about especially when viewing literature online. If you have downloaded the literature and pasted it in MS Word, you can easily make notes using the review menu. Just click the "New Comment" command to insert your comment. 4. Write your review of literature
To facilitate understanding, write your review using subtopics or themes that are relevant to your thesis or research paper. Gather together similar findings and synthesize in one paragraph. Start off the next paragraph with another topic or aspect of your literature review. In reality, writing a literature review takes time, patience and practice. You have to be meticulous, critical and intelligent enough to synthesize a considerable number of published literatures about your topic. This will enable you to come up with your own viewpoint about the complex phenomena that caused you to undertake research.