Practical Tips on How to Write an APA Literature Review

Literature reviews can be written in different formats. The most common styles being APA and MLA. But, can you craft a literature review that features all the expected details or ideas and has it well-formatted in APA style? If uncertain, this guide will illustrate the steps to take to compile an outstanding review paper.

What Is a Literature Review APA? Simple Description Along with the Purpose of the Paper

If you ask students, ‘what is a literature review APA?’ you can expect to receive varying answers. Nonetheless, an APA literature review is a paper that highlights and summarizes the research work undertaken in writing an academic paper (mostly a dissertation or thesis) with a focus to demonstrate grasp in a particular topic. Your main goal will be to assist the audience to gain a deeper perspective on the subject matter.

Another critical role of a literature review is to develop answers to questions derived from your literature. Besides, by delving on the background of your research, you can effectively analyze the various concepts and facts to show how your work relates to the research study conducted. Also, you can evaluate the materials and come up with a new interpretation of the topic. Depending on the findings, you can also give suggestions to the need for further research.

How to Write a Literature Review APA: Tips and Key Steps to Follow

One thing to note is that literature can be written in different format styles. Whether you chose MLA or APA, correct guidelines should adhere. Since you want to end up with an outstanding review piece, your writing must be organized and logical. Below are outlined steps to take inclusive of enlightening tips to help guide you on how to write a literature review APA:

Understand APA Guidelines

Scrutinizing the APA formatting guidelines should come as the initial step before writing the paper. Make sure you are accustomed to the special instructions that will inform the format techniques to apply. More on literature review format will be discussed later.

Locate a Topic and Evaluate Source Materials

We have endless topic ideas you can cover in a literature review. Even better, you can choose a subject matter of interest from a favorite theme. It is normally common to end up with a wide topic which makes it hard to analyze. This is where you will have to narrow down the topic to a more precise idea within the broader subject matter. Again, the sources should be subject to review. Weigh in on the information contained in all source to determine how they contrast with each other.

Examine the Literature

Sources necessary to formulate your paper can be obtained from credible online databases. From the database, identify the literature that relates to your field of study. Additionally, reviews written by other students can be checked to enhance your understanding of the topic.

After gathered the source materials, you can now embark on analyzing it. In this particular section, you are supposed to briefly read the materials and take note of how the central ideas are defined. Also, take notes of statistical data that will be instrumental in making your review resourceful. At the same time, examine the research methodology used, trends or gaps in the literature that could assist you in developing an overview of how to address inconsistencies and limitations of research in your review.

Synthesize and Outline Your Literature

Having a well-organized framework will key to writing a compelling review. It is important to note that a review should convey new concepts developed from ideas contained within materials or literature. When it comes to your topic outline, it should clearly state your argument. That should be followed by a statement to support the arguments. Besides, you can use the jotted notes to organize your review from introductions to conclusions and the points and theories that should fall under each category.

Write Your Review

When writing the review, keep in mind that a review main objective is to showcase an understanding of a particular aspect of a defined topic that falls under your area of study. But how do you effectively convey the key concepts of literature in your review? As seen from our literature review example, the introduction should capture the background of your topic and the main idea being highlighted. Within the body, state the problem and describe arguments based on research findings. End your paper with a conclusion by emphasizing the importance of review and the implications the readers should expect.

Standard Literature Review Format Guidelines

APA literature review format should be informed by standard guidelines as stipulated by the American Psychological Association. Your margin, font, spacing, and heading will have to comply with APA formatting style and citation guidelines. For detailed instruction, be sure to consult APA publication manual. These are some of the main APA formatting rules that you should follow:

  • Use formal academic language.
  • Margins should be 1″ throughout.
  • Times New Roman font of 12 points.
  • Double-spacing within texts.
  • In-text citations in the format- author, year of publications, and then page.
  • The reference list should include all the sources of your study.

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