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How To Write A Literature Review Introduction: A Quick Guide

By Laura Brown on 5th July 2023

When it comes to writing an introduction to a literature review, there are a few key steps to keep in mind. Start by clearly stating the purpose and scope of your review. Then, provide a brief overview of the main themes or concepts you will address. It’s important to engage your readers from the start with a compelling opening paragraph that hooks their interest. Lastly, establish the background and context of your research and outline the objectives of your review. So, these components can be summarised as,

  • Background and context
  • Objective and purpose
  • Scope and inclusion/exclusion criteria
  • Research questions or hypotheses
  • Organisation and structure
  • Signposting
  • Methodology (optional)

Now, if you’re a student or researcher diving into the world of literature reviews, you’ve come to the right place. Crafting an effective introduction is crucial to engage your readers and set the stage for your review. In this guide, we will walk you through ten essential steps to help you create a captivating introduction with perfection. From understanding the purpose and scope to presenting the background and context, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s embark on this journey together and unlock the secrets on how to write a good introduction for a literature review that grabs attention.

How To Write A Literature Review Introduction In 10 Steps With Perfection

Step 1: Clarify The Purpose And Scope Of Your Literature Review

Before diving into writing, it’s essential to gain a clear understanding of its purpose and scope and be aware of how to start it. Begin with defining the overarching goal of your review. Are you aiming to provide a comprehensive overview of existing primary and secondary research on a specific topic? Or perhaps you’re focusing on a particular aspect or gap in the literature?

Additionally, determine the scope of your review by identifying the timeframe, geographical area, or specific disciplines you will cover. Clearly defining the purpose and scope will not only help you stay focused, but also ensure that your introduction sets the right expectations for your readers.

Step 2: Identify The Main Themes Or Concepts You’ll Address

To create a good literature review introduction structure, it’s crucial to identify and articulate the main themes or concepts that will be the focus of your review. Take some time to analyse the body of literature you have gathered and identify recurring ideas, theories, or key areas of discussion.

These themes or concepts will serve as the foundation for organising your review and guiding your readers through the subsequent sections. By clearly identifying and introducing these main themes or concepts in your introduction, you provide readers with a roadmap of what to expect and demonstrate your understanding of the existing knowledge within your field.

Step 3: Conduct A Comprehensive Search For Relevant Academic Sources

To ensure the credibility and depth of your literature review, embark on a thorough search for relevant academic sources. Utilise scholarly databases, online libraries, and search engines to locate articles, books, conference papers, and other reputable sources related to your research topic.

Cast a wide net to gather a comprehensive collection of materials that provide diverse perspectives and insights. Pay attention to keywords, use advanced search techniques, and explore bibliographies of relevant sources to uncover hidden gems. Conducting a comprehensive literature search will let you lay the groundwork for a well-informed and robust review.

Step 4: Evaluate And Select The Most Appropriate Sources.

Once you have accumulated a substantial number of potential sources, it’s essential to critically evaluate their quality, credibility, and relevance. Assess the authority of the authors, the reputation of the publishing journals or organisations, and the rigour of the research methodologies employed.

Scrutinise the relevance of each source to your research objectives and discard any that do not align with your focus. You should aim for a balanced mix of seminal works and recent publications to ensure the inclusion of both foundational knowledge and the latest advancements in your field.

Step 5: Organise Your Sources Based On Identified Themes Or Concepts

Now that you have a curated selection of relevant sources, it’s time to organise them based on the main themes or concepts you have identified. For this, look for common threads, recurring ideas, or distinct categories within the literature. Furthermore, create a system, such as using digital tools or physical note cards, to sort and categorise your sources accordingly.

Consider how each source contributes to each theme or concept, and make strategic decisions about their placement. By taking these steps, as suggested by Literature Review Writing Service, you can lay the groundwork for a coherent and cohesive literature review that flows seamlessly from one theme to another.

Step 6: Develop An Outline For Your Introduction

With a clear understanding of your literature review’s purpose, themes, organised sources and sufficient understanding of how to introduce a literature review, it’s time to develop an outline for your introduction. Firstly, consider the key points and sub-points you want to address. For this, begin with a concise overview of the main themes or concepts you will cover, followed by a logical progression of the sub-points that support and introduce each theme.

This outline will serve as a roadmap, ensuring that you can do it in a well-structured and coherent manner, effectively guiding your readers through the upcoming sections.

Step 7: Craft An Engaging Opening Paragraph

The opening paragraph plays a crucial role in capturing your reader’s attention and setting the tone for the rest of the review. It will take two simple steps to come up with a solid introduction.

  1. Start with a thought-provoking question, a captivating anecdote, or a surprising statistic related to your research topic.
  2. Provide a clear and concise overview of the purpose of your literature review, highlighting its significance and relevance to the field.

By creating an opening paragraph that piques curiosity and conveys the purpose, you set the stage for a captivating literature review. Still, if you find it difficult, you can ask Crowd Writer for literature review introduction examples.

Step 8: Provide Relevant Background Information And Context

After hooking your readers, it’s important to provide them with the necessary background information and context to understand the topic and its significance. This step involves introducing key concepts, theories, or historical developments that are relevant to your literature review.

In the 8th step on how to write an introduction for a literature review, briefly explain any terminology or jargon that may be unfamiliar to your readers. Additionally, highlight the gap or problem in the existing literature that your review aims to address.

Step 9: Clearly State The Objectives Of Your Literature Review

In this step, it’s important to explicitly state the objectives of your literature review. Clearly articulate what you aim to achieve through your review. You should identify gaps in the existing literature, synthesise and analyse the findings of previous studies, or propose new research directions.

State these objectives in a concise and focused manner. By doing so, you will be able to provide a roadmap for your readers and set expectations for the insights and outcomes they can expect from your literature review.

Step 10: Provide A Brief Preview Of The Main Sections

As you conclude your introduction, offer a brief preview of the main sections or themes that you will cover in your literature review. This serves as a roadmap for readers, giving them an overview of the content they can expect in the subsequent sections.

Provide a concise summary of the main points or sub-points you will explore, highlighting the significance of each section and how they contribute to your overall review. By providing this preview on the structure of a literature review, you create anticipation and guide readers through the logical flow of your literature review, ensuring they understand the structure and organisation of your work.

Dos & Don’ts Of Literature Review Introduction

Dos Don’ts
Clearly state the objective and purpose Be vague or ambiguous about your objectives
Provide background and context Overwhelm the reader with excessive details
Present research questions or hypotheses Include unrelated information or anecdotes
Outline the scope and inclusion criteria Exclude relevant studies from the scope
Establish a logical organisation Present information in a disorganised manner
Use signposting to guide the reader Neglect to provide a clear roadmap
Consider including the methodology Overemphasise the methodology section

Summing Up The Blog

Crafting a compelling and effective introduction for your literature review requires careful planning and attention to detail. By following the above-mentioned steps outlined in this guide, you can create an introduction that engages your readers, provides context and background information, and clearly communicates the objectives and structure of your review.

Remember, whenever you write a literature review introduction, first come up with an outline and have your research complete before you begin to write. By implementing these steps, you can set the stage for a successful literature review that captivates your audience and lays the foundation for a comprehensive exploration of your chosen topic.

Author Bio:
Laura Brown

Laura Brown, a senior content writer who writes actionable blogs at Crowd Writer.