Understanding Literature Reviews

Have you ever encountered a challenge distinguishing different categories of literature review? Let us simplify the concept by classifying them into 2:

  1. Systematic Literature Review

A systematic literature review is a technique of reviewing relevant works of literature in a particular field. Based on this study approach, researchers conduct a highly rigorous and well-defined scientific investigation. Unlike primary research, through which scholars collect data directly from participants, a systematic literature review is a secondary research involving the analysis of previous works of literature. Specifically, while undertaking a systematic review, researchers rely on studies already conducted, government publications, or other reliable sources of information to study a particular phenomenon. A systematic literature review may have key sections such as the introduction, literature review, methodology, data analysis, results, and conclusion.

  1. Literature Review as a Chapter of a Standard Research Paper

We analyze “Literature Review” as a section/component/chapter of a standard research paper. We can now consider three approaches researchers commonly take to organize literature reviews. The organization techniques include chronological, thematic, and methodological approaches.

Chronological Approach

Researchers can organize a literature review section based on publication dates or sequences of events. Inversely, researchers might also organize the works of literature based on specific trends. For instance, one might conduct a literature review on the history of democracy in the United States. In such a case, it may be relevant to review the articles chronologically or based on time.

Thematic Approach

Regarding this technique, researchers may organize the literature review section largely around topics or issues rather than the progression of time. Specifically, the investigators might consider different literature sources based on topics, theoretical concepts, or concepts that are relevant to the investigation. The technique requires researchers to demonstrate the linkage between different studies or findings.


Based on this organizational technique, investigators analyze the literature based on the study methodologies adopted. The strategy becomes crucial when approaching research from different disciplines or perspectives. In addition, researchers use this model to critique various methodologies. Therefore, the methodological approach allows researchers to organize the chapter analytically.

Freelansa’s experts have mastered the concept of “Literature Review.” Consequently, we believe that knowing exactly how to analyze other scholars’ work is a major boost towards developing an outstanding research paper.


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