Why Write a Literature Review in Research

Why write a literature review in research? Every student thinks about this question at least once, what are the benefits of writing a literature review?  Before writing the literature review one must understand the significance of reviewing the literature and writing it in your research paper. The significance of the literature review is twofold, it benefits you a lot as you will conduct the research and it will also benefit the readers who want to know about your research. Therefore, a literature review in research should not be taken as just a formality that you have to go through but a necessity that is significant for the success of your research paper.

According to Hart (1998), the aim of the literature review is to demonstrate skills in library searching, to show command of the subject area and understanding of the problem; to justify the research topic, design, and methodology. He further states that review of the related literature is more than just a stage to overcome and hurdle to be overcome.

Benefits of the literature review in research

  • Understanding of the topic

    To understand the topic area of your research the researcher needs to know the current and previous work done by the notable people. After studying the specific work done by these people in the past you will be able to understand your topic in depth. The student will be able to present his proposal and support it in front of the jury when he has spent enough time reading and understanding the work done by other researchers in his field, their methodologies, and research framework.

  • Provides justification for your research

    A major requirement of your research proposal is to justify that the research topic you have chosen is worthy of research. Your literature review provides justification of your research topic. On the basis of this justification, the jury will approve your topic. You will always need to submit sufficient amount of literature review to prove that your research will add to the available body of knowledge. Your research might be an assertive type and your aim will be to provide more evidence for the available knowledge in your subject area. On the other hand, you want to use a new methodology to study the topic in a new way. In both cases, you need to study and present available literature

  • Ensures researchability of your research topic

    when the researcher studies other researches done in his field and topic area he understands different methodologies and methods of conducting such research. He is better able to ensure the researchability of his research topic. There are many pressing issues in our society that one might want to study but their significance depends also on their researchability. A researcher can ask a question that “Is there a God?” but is it a researchable topic. When it comes to the selection of the research topic one can say that sky is not the limit. A researcher is bound with many limitations: time, man power, other resources like his budget, availability of sources to collect data etc. The review of literature helps him understand whether it is possible to conduct the research that he is thinking about with in the limits of the available resources or not.

  • Progressively narrows your research topic

    Most often students make a mistake of selecting a broad topic and in their point of view, the broad topic will add to the value of their research. In reality, it’s far from true, a research topic needs to be narrowed down as much as that you can conduct the research in the given time frame. It also makes it easier for the researcher to bring focus and clarity in his research. There are so many benefits of having a precise, concise and specific research topic. When the researcher reviews a lot of literature related to his topic area he is able to narrow down his own topic and reach to the final research topic. This will help the researcher make a practical, specific and not an ambitious proposal.

  • Saves your time in future

  • While the researcher studies and reviews literature related to his topic he has to sacrifice some time. Though it seems like this time-taking process of literature review delays the research process but that is not the case. A research that begins with a thorough review of the literature makes the next steps in the research easier. It makes the research well-planned and well-thought. It helps the researcher spend less time and effort in deciding about the research methodology. The researcher may become acquainted with the pros and cons of using different methodologies for this kind of research.
  • Helps you in deciding about the research methodology:

    And yes when you have already studied other notable writers work about your topic area you will have enough knowledge about their methodologies. You can now make a better decision about the research methodology that you want to use for your research.

A well-done literature review makes the researcher knowledgeable in his topic area and makes him confident to take decisions about the essential steps of the research. In short literature review provides direction to the researcher to conduct the research.


  • Hart, C. Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination, Sage Pub, UK. 1998, Pp-13-15
  • Atilano, M. Conducting a Literature Review, Thomas G. Carpenter Library, Univ of North Florida



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