Friday, September 13, 2019

How to Write the Review of Related Literature

Review of Related Literature

A literature review consists of a collection of pertinent readings of published or unpublished studies. The literature review provides a discussion of facts, results, trends, and practices to which the present study is related. The review of related literature can help a researcher identify and develop a research problem, formulate a research framework, and identify the use of appropriate research methodologies and tools.

alt="stacks of books to write review of related literature"

Sources for Literature Review
1. Primary sources. These are the articles coming from published journals. In writing the literature review, it is essential to use journals coming from scientific sources. Scopus is one of the largest databases in peer-reviewed journals. It also contains abstracts and citations for an academic journal. Sciencedirect is subscription-based access to a large database of scientific and medical journals. Meanwhile, PubMed is an open-access journal which consists of a database of references and abstracts on life and biomedical journals. The difference between a subscription journal from an open-access journal is that in subscription journals, you have to be subscribed, mostly in a form of payment, personal or institution-based. Some education institutions are subscribed in most subscription journals to help the faculty members and the students with their assignments or research. On the other hand, an open-access journal is a freely downloadable journal on the web. 
      Several Sources of Published Journals
ScienceDirect - indexes scientific and medical journals
Scopus - largest indexes of scholarly literature
Google Scholar - free access journals that index scholarly journals across an array of publishing formats and disciplines
JSTOR -  a non-profit organization which aimed at helping the community use digital technology to preserve academic scholarly records to advance research 
EBSCO- indexes scholarly journals for multidisciplinary studies
Project Muse - humanities and social sciences
Medline -life sciences and biomedicine
PubMed -open-access on life and biomedical journals
EconLit -economics
Inspec - physics, engineering, and computer science
Enago- journal finder with short-lists high quality and non-predatory open-access journals

2. Secondary sources. These sources refer to publications where authors cite the sources of others. Examples are theses, dissertations, reviews, encyclopedia, yearbooks, surveys, government reports, and etc.

Note: Though including unpublished studies in your manuscript is acceptable, it is important that the majority of your sources for your literature review should come from published journals, subscribed or open access.  Take into consideration that some reputable journals do not accept grey literature as references. Grey literature is unpublished articles like conference papers, thesis, dissertation, surveys, government reports, newsletters and bulletin, and etc. Scientists oftentimes give more trust in published journals because these journals undergo a peer-review process. The peer-review process helps in maintaining the scientific standard of a journal.

Steps in Writing the Review of Related Literature
The researcher should already start reading literature while the research problem is still being conceptualized. In identifying the problem, the researcher must be able to support that the problem exists and is worth investigating. Information with regard to the existence and relevance of the study is evident from the literature. Indeed, writing for a review of related literature can be time-consuming but it is worthwhile once you have completely grasped the direction of the study and you can give more focus on what literature to read. Below are the steps to guide you on how to write for the review of related literature. Also, make it sure to do your best, otherwise, your research professor will just return it and you may have to start over.

1. Read multiple works of literature to have a better understanding of the chosen study. Also, by reading different studies you will be able to identify similarities and contrasting results from the previous studies. Make a literature review to organize your references as shown below. This will help in writing for your review of related literature because this will prevent you from copying the majority of the study. Moreover, this will help during the proposal or final defense wherein the panel of judges will test how much you have read and understood the literature in your study. For example:

alt="how to write review of related literature"

2. Write a brief introduction or history of the chosen study. Start from the earliest to the most recent publication to trace the development of the study being presented.

3. Organize the topics by using level headings or subheadings. This way the readers will be guided on the flow of the review of related literature presented. Observe proper citations and the previous studies presented should be relevant to your research. For example:

Review of Related Literature
Job Satisfaction
Job satisfaction is ……As mentioned by Francis (2014) growth opportunities, pay and social interactions are several ways to measure job satisfaction.....

Growth Opportunities
Growth opportunities are also known as career advancement, is one of the most important elements for employee satisfaction and retention in a certain organization (Abdul,  2015)…..
Pay, or sometimes called as compensation is one of the indicators discussed in this study. It is the total amount an employee can expect to receive when working for an organization  (Akar  &  Sarvan,  2011)...
Social Interactions
Social interactions are exchanged among individuals and are building a block of society (Castillo & Cano, 2004)…....

4Paraphrase multiple studies from previous research. Paraphrase materials to be included in the review and weave them together to make a well-organized presentation.  In presenting previous studies, include the author of the study, title, year, purpose, findings, conclusions, and recommendations. Discuss and make recommendations based on the review of related literature.

5. Make a synthesis, and conclusion in your review of related literature based on the presented materials.

Below is an excerpt of a Review of Related Literature (taken from the Writing Center) with the title Use of Propofol and Emergence Agitation in Children: A Literature Review. Take note that this is only one example of how to write a review of related literature. Your institution may have a different way of requiring you to write for the literature review.

             Review of Related Literature

In 1961, Eckenhoff, Knealeand Dripps described the phenomenon of emergence agitation (EA)reporting signs of hyperexcitation in patients emerging from ethercyclopropane, or ketamine anesthesiaEA during recovery from general anesthesia has been identified as a frequent problem in the pediatric population. The overall rate for EA in children is in the range of 10% to 67% (Aouad & Nasr, 2005), which includes a period of severe restlessness, disorientation, and/or inconsolable crying during anesthesia emergence (Cole, Murray, McAllister, & Hirschberg, 2002).
The increased use of sevoflurane and desflurane in recent years habeeassociated with a higher incidence of EA compared with isoflurane and halothane. It is suggested that substituting sevoflurane and isoflurane for maintenance of anesthesia significantly reduces the incidence oEA in preschool children (Bortone et al., 2006) and that the use of adjunctive agents such as propofol added to sevoflurane careduce the incidence of EA compared with sevoflurane alone (Abu-Shahwan, 2008 & Aouad eal., 2007) Uezono et al., 2000). The goal of this literature review is to compare three categories of anesthesia techniques and their associated incidence of EA in children.Uezono et al., 2000).ThegoalofthisliteraturereviewistocomparethreecategoriesofanesthesiatechniquesandtheirassociatedincidenceofEAinchildren

The review of related literature focused on the agitation of children in using Propofol as anesthetics. The review of related literature started with the introduction and the introduction ends with the purpose of the literature review. 

Sevoflurane Inhalational General Anesthesia
Sevoflurane was released in 1994, and has beneficial anesthetic properties such as a rapid onset of anesthesia, non-pungent odor, and rapid emergence from anesthesi(Baum, Yemen, Baum, 1997)……..

Propofol and Sevoflurane General Anesthetic
Propofol is an intravenously administered general anesthetic released for use in 1989. Propofol has been studiein adult populations as well as in pediatric surgical, ophthalmologic, urologic, radiologic, gastrointestinal endoscopy, and dental procedures (Kaddu, Bhattacharya, Metriyakool, Thomas, & Tolia, 2000.

Propofol Total Intravenous Anesthesia
Propofol total intravenous anesthesia (TIVA) techniques have also demonstrated a reduction in EA in children. In the study by Cohen, Finkel, Hannallah, Hummerand Patel (2003) of sevoflurane inhalational anesthesia versus a propofol TIVA technique, there were discussing significantly higher rates of EA in the sevoflurane group compared with the propofol group.....

   In the above section, the authors synthesized the review of related literature by presenting multiple findings and adding their point of view. Use the level headings to organize your review of related literature so the readers will be able to follow the flow of topics. Also, take into consideration that the topics are related to your chosen study, otherwise, the review of related literature becomes irrelevant and may confuse the readers. You may add sub-headings to organize the topic.

A thorough review of the literature revealed the incidence of EA to be reducewith the use of a propofol TIVtechnique compared with a sevoflurane inhalationageneral anesthetic. We conclude, based on the current evidence, that the use of propofol is associated with a reduction in the incidence of emergence agitation…..
 Aouad and Nas(2005) recommended that the PAED scale can be useas a reliable and valid tool that would minimize measurement error in the clinical evaluation of EA. If future studies use the same validated assessment scale (sucas the PAED), results can be more easily compared and strengthened.

     In this section, the authors make a thorough review of the related literature and came up with a discussion. In this paragraph, the author made a recommendation for future studies based on the literature review.

EA is an important issue in pediatric anesthesia and has increased in occurrence with the use of sevoflurane inhalational anesthesia. The goal of this literature review was to compare three general anesthesia techniques in children and their associated incidence of EA. The three techniques were (a) sevoflurane inhalational general anesthetic, (b) propofol as aadjunct to sevoflurane inhalational general anesthetic, and (c) propofol TIVA techniques.....

     In the last paragraph, after the literature has been presented, the authors have tied together the review of related literature to make a conclusion.

Techniques in Writing the Review of Related Literature
Dr. Ronnie V. Amorado, author of Literati (2015) developed techniques in writing the Review of Related Literature. His book focuses on helping students, researchers, and writers on how to write the literature review which adheres to the scholarly standards. This article will only cover two of the techniques which are the Inventory and Compare & Contrast. The following are those mentioned techniques in writing for the literature review with an example for you to understand and easily apply it to your own research paper.

1. Inventory is the enumeration of literature with a storyline in a paragraph. Below is an example of a review of related literature using the Inventory technique:

Stress can contribute to the development of a disease. Chronic overactivity or under-activity in cardiovascular and metabolic systems in relation to prolonged stress has been found to be an aetiological factor for cardiovascular disease (Gass, 2016 & Yonah, 2018) and hypertension (McEwen, 2012; Teracotta, 2013; & Peters, 2017). Prolonged stress at work may also contribute to psychiatric disorders (Beliksi, 2011; Letski, 2013, & Carpio et al., 2017), including depression (Reyes, 2016 & Ramon, 2019). When representing a major chronic stressor, workplace bullying can be hypothesized to increase the victims’ vulnerability to these stress-related diseases (Ernazie, 2014; Tezlophie, 2015; & Sanchez, 2018). Testing this hypothesis requires repeated measurements of victimization for the establishment of continuous bullying, a measurement strategy that has not been applied in prior occupational studies (Eckhart, 2017).
The focus of the review of related literature is the implications of workplace bullying to health. Therefore the inventory of factors are the effects of workplace bullying to physical and mental health. As you noticed, citations are in place along with the flow of the sentence. This is done creatively because the author was able to prove his/her point through the enumeration of studies while maintaining the flow of statement.

2. Compare and Contrast is the process of citing similar literature as well as opposing literature related to the study. In this technique, you are presenting the similarities and contrasting results from the previous studies. Notice the use of transition words to identify the supporting conjunctions such as and, also, in addition,   or the opposing conjunctions such as although, but, however, on the contrary, nevertheless, on the other hand, still, whereas, and yet. Below is an example of a review of related literature using the Compare and Contrast technique:

Several researchers (San Miguel, 2009; Choney 2010; & Enriquez, 2010) stated that students’ use of social media sites revealed a negative effect of the use of social media sites on students’ academic performance. The American Educational Research Association conducted research and declared at its annual conference in San Diego California (2009), that social media users study less and generate lower grade (Abaleta et al, 2014). However, studies of Harrath and Alobaidy (2016) revealed that there is a positive impact of this technology at their academic level through the useful and optimal use of social networking sites. In addition, social networks have helped students to join educational networks, interact with colleagues and access e-learning resources (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010 & Zabarath, 2017).
 From the given example above, the focus of the review of related literature is the effect of social media on the academic performance of the students. On the first few statements, the first two sentences presented the negative findings of the impact of social media on academic performance. On the other hand, in the third and fourth sentences, the positive findings of the impact on social media.


1. David, F. (2002). Understanding and Doing Research: A Handbook for Beginners. How to Write A Theoretical Framework. Philippines. Panorama Printing Inc.
2. Tan, E. (2006).  A Research Guide in Nursing Education. How to Write A Theoretical Framework. Third Edition. Philippines. Visual Print Enterprise.
3. Amorado, R. (2015). Literati. Literature Review in Contemporary Purview. Malabon City. Mutya Publications, Inc.
4. Literature Reviews. The Writing Center. How to Write A Theoretical Framework. Retrieved on September 14, 2019
5. Scribbr. How to write a Review of Related Literature. Retrieved on September 14, 2019.




  1. Thank you so much, my supervisiory team are putting pressure on as if any of them thought me this.they should consider the work done.

  2. This article has captured everything on writing systematic and comprehensive literature review. It has broaden my knowledge on the subject. I am highly grateful to the author.

    1. thanks so much for your feedback. I greatly appreciate it. this means a lot :-)

  3. Now I know how to start my RRL. thanks for this, this is awesome.

  4. Very important piece. Thanks for your research to guide other researchers!!

  5. This is the easiest way to learn RRL. it clarified many things for me. thank you. you deserve more research followers :-)


Be sure to check back again because I do make an effort to reply to your comments here.