Writing a Literature Review

All literature reviews are important when writing essays. This is especially true when writing about social care. Legislation changes all the time and as health care and social care are a real hot potato for politicians, frequent reviews and reports are undertaken.

So what is a literature review? Simple – it is a comprehensive write my literature review study and interpretation that relates to a particular topic. Why is a literature review so important? A literature review makes sense of a body of research and presents you with an analysis of all available literature so that you don’t have to research each one individually – perfect!

How do I search for literature?

Thankfully times have changed and no longer to you have to trudge to the library and wade through hundreds of documents to try to find your evidence. No longer do you have to try to find that one book that supports your argument, only to discover that someone else has ‘borrowed’ it before you got there! In today’s world you can do most of your searching from the comfort of your own home – the Internet! However, electronic searching on its own is usually not sufficient to undertake a comprehensive literature review.

However, before you start there are some practical parameters you should set yourself. It is essential that you identify as much of the literature relevant to your review as possible to help you address your question.


Develop a systematic approach to searching for literature – Without this your searching will be disorganised and random and this will be obvious to the reader.
Exactly what are you trying to find out in your literature review? Be clear about the focus of the literature you are searching for; keep you focussed on the question.

Define inclusion and exclusion criteria – develop criteria that are focussed on the wording of your essay question. Normally you will be looking for primary research.

Decide on your search method – you can search electronically, you can search reference lists, you can hand search through journals or you can contact the author directly. It is entirely up to you which approach you take. Whichever one you choose, ensure you have some sort of back up mechanism in place. Either back up your references on the computer or make a note of them as you go along. It is incredibly frustrating and time consuming to have to retrace your steps and search out references again or not be able to find that one important reference that you found before!