Writing a literary review outline is a serious job. This work, if done right, should show how committed you were to your topic. The goal of the assignment as such is to analyze, compare, and combine a lot of academic works so that eventually they will make a beautiful and cohesive text. However, to achieve that, you need to outline first. This part of the job is not the easiest one. Though, writing it is surely crucial to the success of your paper.
Often students tend to prioritize research over any other stages. It may be a mistake. Surely, you will need to go through a lot of materials. Though, that’s not all you need to do. It is not enough to have relevant references. You also need to place them well. Hence, you should comprehensively structure your future paper. This is why you need to learn how to write a literature review outline. This is the stage where you map out your future paper.
It should include all the arguments, references, and opinions that you want to see in the final literature review. It can also show you the possible gaps in your narrative.
How to Research for an Outline Literature Review
For this kind of paper, research must be the main course. This procedure is what holds your text together in the first place. Thus, to come up with a full review of literature outline, you need to dig deep. However, you can follow a few simple tips to ease this process for yourself.
First, you need to form a clear thesis statement and the purpose of your writing. As long as you have it, you are good to start your research. Follow your assignment’s instructions to find the appropriate materials. You can get in trouble if you use journal articles instead of requested books or old pieces instead of recent ones.
Next, be sure that you can find enough resources to complete your review. For example, you may face difficulties if you pick a rather fresh topic. In such a case, there may not be much written about it yet. You also don’t want a paper on issues where you can’t add anything new on your behalf.
Finally, don’t be shy to add some controversy to the mix. You should have only those authors who agree with your opinion on the matter. You should also add some opposite opinions that you can criticize and challenge. This way, you can have a balanced discussion and add more volume to your opinion.
How to Outline for a Literature Review
An outline is a crucial part of any writing assignment. This is the stage where you draw a map of all your future work. Thus, if the map is wrong, you will have to start all over again. If your map is right, you should have no issues with finishing the paper right on schedule and with no surprises.
A perfect example of a literature review outline will consist of the following parts:
- Research question
- Several subjects for the further analysis
- Studies (material) to analyze
- Comparison of different studies
Your goal here is to provide a full revision of your thesis. Thus, you need to have as many studies as necessary to include every perspective on the matter. Each study that you have in your text must either confirm or challenge your main statement. Be sure that your cases don’t repeat themselves. Each citation you bring should add something new to your paper.
Chicago, MLA, or APA Literature Review Outline
Last but not least, you have to follow the exact formatting style you were assigned to do. Now, for the most part, students write in these three citation styles: APA, MLA, or Chicago. Each of these styles has its own rules and specifics you need to follow. Before you start your work, you can sample literature review outlines in different citation styles, just for practice.
The main difference between Chicago vs. APA and MLA is that the former exists only in footnotes when the latter should be inserted in the body of the text.
With MLA, you cite the author and the page number of your citation. It is convenient in case your readers want to find the given references themselves.The references in APA style consist of a writer’s name and the year of publication. Writing a lit review outline in APA is particularly convenient when you cite several works by the same author but released in different years.