Overview | Abstract | Introduction | Literature Review | Materials & Methods | Results & Discussion | Conclusion & Future Work | Acknowledgements & Appendix

The literature review should clearly demonstrate that the author has a good knowledge of the research area. Literature review typically occupies one or two passages in the introduction section. A well-written literature review should provide a critical appraisal of previous studies related to the current research area rather than a simple summary of prior works. The author shouldn’t shy away from pointing out the shortcomings of previous works. However, criticising other’s work without any basis can weaken your paper. This is a perfect place to coin your research question and justify the need for such a study. It is also worth pointing out towards the end of the review that your study is unique and there is no direct literature addressing this issue. Add a few sentences about the significance of your research and how this will add value to the body of knowledge.

The literature review section of your research paper should include the following:

  • Previous literature
  • Limitations of previous research
  • Research questions
  • Research to be explored

1. Previous literature

The literature review shows that __
Previous research showed __
Seminal contributions have been made by __
A series of recent studies has indicated that __
Several theories have been proposed to __, some focusing on __, others on __
There has been numerous studies to investigate __
This has been used in several studies to assess __
Previous studies have shown __
Several studies suggest that __
This has also been explored in prior studies by __
Prior research suggests that __
Previous studies have emphasized __
The majority of prior research has applied __
Most early studies as well as current work focus on __
For instance, the following studies were conducted on __
Studies of __are well documented, it is also well acknowledged that __
A number of authors have recognized __
Some authors have also suggested that  __
Some authors have driven the further development of __
This has been discussed by a great number of authors in literature.
For example, research has provided evidence for __
The authors bring some information about the background of the problem, __
As has been previously reported in the literature, __
A large number of existing studies in the broader literature have examined __
The literature review shows that __
There exists a considerable body of literature on  __
In short, the literature pertaining to __ strongly suggests that __
Over time, an extensive literature has developed on __
This section presents a review of recent literature on __
This paper begins with a short review of the literature regarding the __
Several methods are reported in the literature to address this issue.
There is a wide choice of __ available in the literature.
This section reviews the literature related to __
It was reported in literature that __
A recent study by __ concluded that __
In the light of reported __ it is conceivable that __
The method introduced by __ has the advantage that __
One method employed by __ is __
A more comprehensive description can be found in __
For example, recent research suggests that __
This was successfully established as described by __
The author employed a __ methodology which prescribes the use of __

2. Limitations of previous research

A number of questions regarding __ remain to be addressed.
A closer look to the literature on __, however, reveals a number of gaps and shortcomings.
This question has previously never been addressed because__
Most studies have relied on __
Previous studies by __ cannot be considered as conclusive because __
Previous studies have almost exclusively focused on __
This has been previously assessed only to a very limited extent because __
In the present studies __ were constrained to __
In previous studies were limited to __
Although results appear consistent with prior research, they appear inconsistent with __
These are previously unstudied because __
As far as we know, no previous research has investigated __
Moreover, although research has illuminated __ no study to date has examined __
Despite decades of research, this continues to be debated among __
This section points out some of the problems encountered in the extant research.
Although there are many studies, the research in __ remains limited.
However, the existing research has many problems in representing __
The literature on __ is less consistent
Historically, there has been a great deal of confusion in the literature regarding __
This approach remains briefly addressed in the literature.
These are rarely analyzed in the literature as __
There are key questions and notions that are still not discussed in the literature __
This is not clearly presented in the literature because __
This paper addresses the need for __, so far lacking in the scientific literature.
To fill this literature gap, this paper identifies __
Only a few works in literature demonstrate __
Although studies have been conducted by many authors, this problem is still insufficiently explored.
To our knowledge, no prior studies have examined __
However, the existing research has many problems in __
Therefore, important issue in the literature is __
However, we argue that previous literature suffers from certain weaknesses: __
Previous research can only be considered a first step towards a more profound understanding of __
The previous studies reveal that __ are usually the most problematic to __

3. Research questions

More specific research questions will be introduced and investigated in __
A further question is whether __
Finally, another promising line of research would be __
The study addresses several further questions on __
Some of the interesting questions in this context are __
In order to address the questions outlined above, we report here __
These questions are of central interest as much recent research in __
Furthermore, __ is arguably an important question to be addressed.
The question now is how __ can be used to explain __
Study addresses the research question __
In order to properly address this question, we __
An important question associated with __ is __
A critical open question is whether __
A still unsolved question is whether __
This remains an open question as __
This question has previously never been addressed because __
This study offers a test of __ research question
Study addresses the research question __
Even in general __ research strategies is needed to explain __
The researcher should be interested here in __
Many questions remain unanswered __
There are some potentially open questions about the validity of __
The question that then naturally arises is __
The question then becomes how best to define__
This was an important question to study as __

4. Research to be explored

A more systematic and theoretical analysis is required for __
As the authors note earlier, more work is necessary to__
Additional studies to understand more completely the key tenets of __ are required.
The unexpected findings signal the need for additional studies to understand more about __
This paper addresses __, so far lacking in the scientific literature.
A new approach is therefore needed for __
One of the tough challenges for all researchers in this domain is __

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  1. Thank you for this site, it helps me a lot when writing my literature reviews for my Research Module

  2. Thank you Sir,

    This is invaluable. I will study it closely and incorporate as per guidance.

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