57 Best Literature Review Topic Ideas

Mike russel.

Making a choice on a good literature review topic might be a great challenge for many of us. What should it be like? Interesting for you and your audience, profound, covering a gap in the previous research on a specific theme. This is just an approximate list of primary criteria. The perfect topic should be neither too broad nor too narrow. There always must be some meaningful data on the theme, covering a range of basic scientific issues. Yet, a good literature review topic should contain a gap, which you can investigate, or the space for a wider interpretation. But if you pick a topic having plenty of research done on it, does it really make sense to get further investigations?

The first sign of a good topic is your personal interest in a field. As a rule, the final result of each literature review comes down to the complex research paper. This is an assignment you are submitting to your professor and other students, or even to the commission. So, that is something you should live through during a semester. And you have to feel comfortable while doing research on it.

The most obvious way to select a theme is to look through print publishing. Or you can pick the first idea on the professional web-sites that sounds good enough. Although it could turn to be the waste of time because there is no guarantee it is relevant for your field.  And when you find it out it might be too late. There are always a lot of literature review topic examples. But to come up with a final decision on it, you need to do some preliminary research on the corresponding, authoritative sources. A bit of brainstorming can also be helpful.

But still, sometimes you might turn to be short for good literature review topic ideas. How to choose a proper one and make truly good research out of it? Let’s look into the following options.

What is a literature review? 

Reading for literature review

According to the direct definition of the term, the literature review is an overview of appropriate sources on a particular theme. It points out core fundamentals, specific features, and controversial aspects of the topic. The lit review consists of three main parts – introduction, body, and conclusion. In order to provide a comprehensive paper of this type, you need to summarize the most relevant academic works. Then you should come up with some conclusions, highlighting the gaps, where additional study should be conducted.

Another significant element of the lit review is an evaluation of the contribution made by authoritative experts to the area of study. Also, you need to provide your audience with a critical analysis of the existing theories and methodologies. The literature review may include journal articles, scientific publications, books, investigations, and so on. It is acceptable to present some rethinking of the subject, reshuffling of the basic arguments. New interpretations and major debates can also help to convey the state of knowledge.

The reason for writing a research review is the improvement of some crucial skills as:

– Critical thinking;

– Writing and proper reading;

– Analyzing;

– Summarizing;

– The ability to investigate the topic, and so on.

What is important while presenting a lit review?

– To define a methodology and theoretical framework of your research;

– To demonstrate the way your research contributes to a debate on a theme, and how it helps to cover an existing gap;

– To show your awareness of the context;

– To state your position in relation to the previous research.

How to choose a topic for a literature review

Topics for a literature review. Infografic

Choosing a literature review topic can be a challenging task. Even if you have an idea that seems to be good, you still need to check it for strength. What could be helpful?

– Brainstorming;

– Writing down some ideas you came up with;

– Choosing the most interesting one;

– Searching for some data, publications, and cases on your topic (Are they relevant and sufficient for your work?);

– Refining a selected theme.

Anyway, if you still cannot catch up on a hot topic for a lit review, there are plenty of sources where you can find a proper, up-to-date theme, or inspiration. For example, there are academic journals in your field, annual reviews of publications on a subject, dissertations’ abstracts, and so on. Also, you can apply to specific lists of conference opportunities such as “Call for Papers” or “Call for Proposals”.

The sign of a good literature review topic is a contradictory issue you succeeded to find out in the area you investigate. If you have this it will be quite easy to provide your audience with the arguments why an additional survey is necessary.

Supposing you have an excellent theme to explore, but it is too narrow. What should it mean? There are no sufficient information and a comprehensive pool of publications you can rely on. So you will have to collect this data by yourself, and it takes much time. In the end, there will be a risk to miss the deadline. Thus, before coming up with a final decision on a topic, you should make sure sufficient research has already been done.


Libraries, databases, encyclopedias, and free guides can also provide you with some ideas for a lit review topic. For example, Gale Virtual Reference Library has a great many resources in various fields.

Topics examples for different fields

There are many possible examples of lit review topics you can find out on the net. But how to figure out if they are good or not? What makes a good literature review topic? First of all, it is analytical – you should be able to get to the point and analyze the data on it. Secondly, it contains a gap in existing literature, giving you a chance for further interpretations. Thirdly, there has to be a controversial issue, provoking a debate in the academic community. 

Now let’s look into some precise examples for different fields.

1. Counseling psychology practices for LGBTQ-teenagers

2. The effects of child abuse within the family 

3. Disadvantages of home education and its effects on socialization

4. Methods of counseling psychology for children with the post-traumatic syndrome

5. Memory dysfunctions and their impacts on perception

6. Attention-deficit syndrome and its impact on academic performance of undergraduate students

7. The impacts of cyberbullying on teenagers

8. Preconditions for Compulsive sexual behavior 

9. Treatment methods for patients with postnatal depression

10. Social representation practices of people with dissociative disorders

11. The psychological perspective of self-representation in the digital world

12. Methods to indicate school children behavioral disorders

1. World Intellectual Property Organization: evaluation of the effectiveness

2. The evolution of International Criminal Law Court practices and tools

3. The US Copyright Office and its practices from the digital perspective

4. The analysis of the European Court of Human Rights impact on local governments’ law enforcement

5. The problems of legal enforcement in Eastern Europe

6. Environmental law and its downfalls in Asian countries

7. “The rule of law” and “the rule of reason”: comparative analysis and perspective

8. The comparative case study of Insurance Laws in European countries

9. The Free Movement of Goods and its limitations in the Member States

10. The approaches to harmonize the conflict of laws between the EU and the Member States

11. The misuse of the Law of rape in rightful victims’ protection: the examination of cases and practices


1. Globalization impact on advertising

2. Niche-business and its benefits for local authorities

3. The minimum wage dynamics in developing countries

4. The welfare reform effects on local businesses

5. Economic resources and social needs: the analysis of the fair distribution

6. The redistribution of wealth during a recession and economic crisis

7. The benefits for the government economy from healthcare reforms

8. The socio-economic effects of the large charity

9. The obstacles to overcome poverty in industrial countries

10. The role of proper infrastructure in the elimination of the world food crisis

11. The privatization effects on markets and businesses

12. The regulation of government spending: does it really contribute to economic growth?

Political Science

1. Comparative analysis of European countries foreign policies

2. The role of public opinion in authoritarian states

3. Legislative pressure of the European Union on the Eastern Member States

4. Modern forms of Communism ideology

5. The reasons for political absenteeism in authoritarian states

6. Amnesty International practices for refugees’ rights protection

7. Human Rights in Islamic governments: change prospects

8. The most effective practices for global poverty eradication

9. Non-profit Organizations and their role in human rights improvement in Post-Soviet Space

10. The analysis of cybersecurity policies in European countries

11. Government policies during the transition

12. The importance of political ethics in election campaigns

1. Managerial techniques and evaluation of their effectiveness

2. State regulation of small businesses and its impact on the quality of life in the region

3. Pros and cons of franchising

4. Advantages of outsourcing services for large companies

5. The role of corporate culture in the improvement of business efficiency

6. The influence of charity on the development of brand loyalty

7. The effectiveness of marketing campaigns in IT-startups: evaluation and analysis

8. The development of business culture from an economic perspective

9. The recession impact on small businesses: strategies of survival

10. Digital tools in maximizing marketing campaigns effectiveness

Writing a literature review

Selecting a literature review topic might turn out to be a long process. To write a really good review you need to read and analyze many sources, which can be a bit boring. But the final result you are going to present should be complex and sophisticated. Your review gives you an opportunity to demonstrate the contribution you can make on the subject or the innovative approach which occurred to you. And that is why choosing a topic makes so much sense.

Having great work done takes a long time, and it also can seem frustrating in many ways. The easier way out is to apply to a professional custom writing service, which can provide assistance from experts in your area of study, such as Cheap Paper Writing .

Confidently choose the ideal literature review expert with the help of our insightful essay writer reviews . Don’t miss the chance to collaborate with the best in the business. Browse through our extensive selection of vetted professionals and start your project today!

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120 Fresh and Thought-Provoking Topics for Literature Reviews in Different Disciplines

A literature review is an account of the scholarly works published on a topic. It is different from an annotated bibliography – and far more interesting at that. Instead of being just a list of summaries, a literature review synthesizes the information from all available sources in an overall relationship to your guiding concept. This may be the problem you are discussing, a statement you are arguing, a theory you are verifying, etc.

The goals of a literature review may vary:

  • giving a historical overview of the research in the field
  • summarizing the existing state of the topic
  • finding a problem or a gap in the research field
  • developing a new theory, etc.

That is why good literature review topics are often formulated as research questions. This type of paper is not an easy writing. You will need to parse immense volumes of information, synthesize and summarize coherently. You also need to devote plenty of time to reading.

This post contains a list of literature review topics suggested for various subjects. However, when choosing the most fitting one to dig into, ask yourself, what are the passions that you can apply to this research? This assignment will take a while, so you will need more than just a good study discipline to soldier on. A bit of enthusiasm and intrinsic motivation will get you much farther.

Literature Review Topics Examples on English and World Literature

Some of the suggestions in this post are linked to literature review examples in our free database. By clicking on a title, you get to a corresponding sample page, where you can read the entire text. If the topic you like isn't linked, but you would like to read an example, you can order it. We will arrange the most qualified paper writer to prepare it for you exclusively.

Ready? Let's start with topics for literature review papers on English and World Literature.

  • Phoenix as a symbol for endurance in a worn path
  • The novel Intuition by Allegra Goodman
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Birthmark through Girard's Lens
  • Ender's Game by an Orson Scott Card
  • Depiction of freedom and happiness in Brave New World
  • Feminism and Post-Colonialism in Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake and Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games
  • Rationality, logic, and mathematics in the novel The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
  • Victims of their time as a character type in the World literature
  • The last days of Judas Iscariot : a play by Stephen Adly Guirgis
  • The use of symbolism in Kafka's prose
  • Naturalism in American literature
  • Grotesque and Sublime in the prose of Edgar Allan Poe

Lit Review Topic Ideas on Science and Technology

Next are some literature review topic ideas on science and technology.

  • Electronic library and effects of its implementation
  • Benjamin Franklin: scientist and inventor
  • Virtual Reality, science fiction, and society today
  • Science, Technology, and Society as a field of knowledge
  • Frederick Winslow Taylor and the principles of scientific management
  • What is the future of work
  • Concepts of science and technology
  • The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis and influence of technological advancement on man and nature
  • Types of machine learning
  • Internet of Things and biometrics: implications, benefits, threats
  • Emotional intelligence and natural language processing
  • SmartCity projects that have already been implemented and their lessons

As the field is vast, we can barely scratch the surface with these suggestions. To help you with brainstorming, here are a few tips on how to choose good topics for a literature review yourself:

  • Make sure the topic ties nicely with class requirements as well as your interests
  • Do some preliminary research to see if there is enough literature on your topic
  • Scale up if the information is scarce or down if there are too many sources to handle
  • Use sources recommended for reading in the class materials
  • Supplement the list with only trustworthy scholarly sources

Follow these guidelines, and you are on a path to some great ideas!

Psychology Literature Review Topics

When brainstorming topics on psychology, don't forget about the subdisciplines: biopsychology, social, educational, organizational, etc. If the suggestions below won't be enough, try looking for inspiration in Biology, Sociology, Education, or Business. The most exciting topics are often at the intersection of different areas of knowledge!

  • Tricyclic antidepressants vs. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) in treatment of depression
  • Stress, its causes, effects, and coping strategies
  • The family system and psychology
  • Tibetan compassion practices: working with terror, trauma, and transcendence
  • Behaviorism psychology
  • Culture and psychopathology
  • Correlation between diet and cognitive functions in primary school students
  • The evolutionary role of phobias and intrusive thoughts
  • Popular psychology and its implications
  • PTSD in mass disasters survivors: immediate relief and long-term assistance
  • Cults and vulnerable populations
  • False memories and gaslighting

Nursing Literature Review Topics

Nursing lit review topics are probably the most diverse in scale, as you can see from the examples below. They can describe a larger issue or a concrete solution applied to a narrowly defined problem. Following this principle, you can modify our lit review topics suggestions zooming out or in on the subject material.

  • Legalization of medical marijuana and its effects on the youth
  • Health effects of fiber: research findings
  • Achieving higher levels of education and training for nurses
  • Organic foods and cardiovascular disease
  • The importance of Central Venous Line (CVL) and Central Venous Access Devices (CVAD)
  • What effects do different types of music have on humans and their mental health?
  • The use of laboratory-grown organs for transplantation
  • The role of xylitol in alleviating dry mouth
  • The detection of tar and nicotine content of cigarette smoke extract using HPLC
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: etiology, diagnosis, vulnerable populations
  • Mobility aids for the elderly and quality of life
  • The role of play in the recuperation of hospitalized children

Education Literature Review Topics

To get more ideas from these literature review topic examples, try isolating an issue and put it in another educational context. For instance, student motivation in primary school vs. middle school or sleep deprivation in high school vs. college. This should give you plenty of material for brainstorming.

  • Simulation education for crisis prevention program
  • A critical consideration of the new pedagogy in its relation to modern science
  • Lack of students interest in studying science
  • Discovery-based learning and student-centered learning with a focus on mathematics at a high school level
  • The adverse effects of sleep deprivation on academic performance: a college student's struggle
  • Gender bias in special education programs
  • Higher education for senior citizens: challenges and best practices
  • Significant challenges of the teaching profession in the US
  • Factors contributing to international student mobility
  • Student motivation in private vs. state colleges
  • Benefits and challenges of homeschooling for students and families
  • Correlation between workload, stress levels, and self-esteem in middle-school students

Sociology Literature Review Topics

The best advice on finding current sociology topics is to look at the challenges your community faces. Become the first one to notice and address these issues!

  • Are video games affecting our current and future students ?
  • Ways to prevent social media bullying
  • Spanking of children in the USA
  • The relation of poverty and exposure to crime in adolescent men
  • Transgender discrimination
  • The link between science and Utopia in Utopia and the New Atlantis
  • Effectiveness of group therapy in social work
  • Peer pressure, depression, and causes of suicide in the adolescents
  • Religious separatism social issues connected with it
  • Causes and effects of domestic abuse
  • Physical appearance and social status
  • Race, nationality, ethnicity, and identity

Political Science Literature Review Topics

Political science is one of the more formal disciplines on this list. Being heavy with abstract concepts, it doesn't lend itself easily to casual brainstorming. Well, at least start with these:

  • Electoral College, its functions, and role in public life
  • Why American and the British IPE are so different
  • Contingency planning
  • Effects of political gerrymandering
  • American political parties
  • The present urban regimes in Canada
  • International policies and domestic regulations: precedence and clashes
  • Tolerance as a political virtue
  • Grassroots activism and its impact on state and federal law
  • National security and constitutional freedoms
  • Historical analysis of anarchism
  • The effect of social media on civic engagement

Criminal Justice Literature Review Topics

Criminal justice is a complex field. It's ripe with variance and challenges – which is good for topic ideas at least. And you have state, federal, and international levels to add more variables.

  • Juvenile justice and the Missouri model
  • Car-related crime in the USA
  • An analysis of the impact of sexual harassment/sexual assault in the military
  • The process of the arbitration without the involvement of national courts
  • Serial killers and profiling
  • Policing and criminal justice systems
  • Psychological effects of cyberbullying on adolescents
  • Sexual human trafficking from the Central America region
  • Human sex-trafficking: the Canadian perspective
  • Gender and racial bias in criminal investigations
  • Possible ethical and legal dilemmas of using sniffer dogs
  • Sting operations vs. entrapment: ethics and regulations

Chemistry and Biology Literature Review Topics

Biology is fascinating. It has something for everyone: from biochemistry and genetics to ecosystems and nature preservation. Here are some suggestions to guide your choice:

  • Brain size correlation
  • Haruko Obokata, ethics of stem cells research, and scientific misconduct
  • Genomic and molecular genetics major and its perspectives for students
  • DNA use in mass disasters
  • DNA detection from dried blood spots
  • Captive breeding of marine mammals: pros and cons
  • The Dynamics of ER and mitochondria
  • Biomarkers in gastric cancer treatment
  • The chemistry behind gene splicing
  • Carcinogens and hyper-processed foods
  • Primates and monkeys as potential sources of novel zoonotic infections
  • Natural gases, ecosystems, and the global warming

Business and Marketing Literature Review Topics

Finally, here are some business and marketing topics as well. These disciplines might be relatively new, but they are among the most dynamic and information-rich – which means great fun to explore.

  • Effectiveness of neuromarketing in comparison to traditional marketing methods
  • Green supply chain management
  • Effectiveness of e-marketing to non-profit making organizations
  • The value of information
  • Shareholder engagement/activism and corporate performance
  • The relationship between ethics, stress, and productivity in the workplace
  • The role of integrity in business
  • Client confidentiality and its role in a prosperous business
  • Businesses, their impact on the community, and social responsibility
  • Startup fundraising stages
  • Innovative marketing in the age of instant feedback: risks and possibilities
  • Strategies for staff motivation

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105 Literature Review Topics + How-to Guide [2023]

105 Literature Review Topics + How-to Guide [2023]

A literature review is a variant of curtsy in scientific circles. It presents your acknowledgment that you are not the first to tackle the issue. Your predecessors have made progress in answering your research question, and you plan to start from the point they finished.

The picture contains a definition of a literature review.

This article features examples of literature review topics on multiple knowledge areas. Additionally, you will find exhaustive disambiguation of all the types of a literature review, as well as its purposes, definition, outline, and formatting.

  • 🔝 Top 15 Topics
  • ✍️ Writing Tips
  • Political Science
  • Criminal Justice

🔗 References

🔝 top 15 literature review topics.

  • What does the science say about extraterrestrial life?
  • Redesigning organisms in synthetic biology: Where are we at now?
  • Equality of human rights at the international level.
  • Why do genes happen to be active or inactive?
  • Legalizing physician-assisted suicide.
  • Can an adult person change their native language?
  • The most efficient study programs.
  • The ethics of using surveillance cameras.
  • The effect of reading fiction on your brain.
  • British imperialism in India.
  • What is kindness: A philosophical approach.
  • Modern technologies can sift out fake news.
  • Multiculturalism: A romantic myth or today’s reality?
  • The demographics of liberal worldview in the US.
  • Chronic fatigue: Literature review and hypotheses.

✍️ Literature Review Writing Tips

Speaking of a literature review , the definition is too broad to be used as writing guidance. It is an overview of credible materials on a particular research question. A literature review usually becomes chapter 1 in dissertations and theses , allowing to explore the current knowledge on the topic. It evaluates academic and professional articles, journal publications, books, and web-based resources.

A literature review is an indispensable part of a research paper. It serves many purposes, some of which are not evident.

What Is the Purpose of a Literature Review?

  • To draw the background context;
  • To compare your results with previous research;
  • To justify your research methods;
  • To frame research gaps and show the scientific novelty of your project;
  • To explain the social value of your work;
  • To demonstrate your knowledge of the referenced literature;
  • To train your analytical thinking.

Types of Literature Review

Below you’ll find the 6 types of literature reviews.

The picture lists the 6 types of literature review.

Systematic Review

A systematic literature review is a most comprehensive and data-oriented type. It defines the timeframe of the selected literature and is subdivided into two categories:

  • Meta-analysis ( deductive research through standardized statistical procedures)
  • Meta-synthesis (inductive study by non-statistical qualitative methods)

Narrative Review

It is also called a traditional or critical literature review. The purpose is to summarize the available material, critique it, and identify the gaps and inconsistencies. This type works well for almost any research question, provided it is sufficiently focused and limited in time or subject matter.

Scoping Review

As the name implies, it estimates the scope of available literature on a literature review topic. Unlike a systematic literature review, which aims to find the most specific research question, this type looks for the most general one. It answers the question of what else can be researched in the field.

Theoretical Review

A theoretical literature review explores the pool of theories that have so far accumulated on a concept. It lists the existing ideas, their relationships, and gaps. The purpose is to develop hypotheses to be tested in the experimental section.

Argumentative Review

This type provides the most selective literature review to prove or refute an argument already established in the research literature. However, this is also the most biased review among all types.

Integrative Review

This literature review integrates, synthesizes, and critiques the available secondary data to develop new research frameworks and perspectives.

Systematic Review vs. Literature Review vs. Annotated Bibliography

Literature Review Outline

How long should a literature review be? It depends on the assignment requirements and your outline.

A literature review is often used as a part of a more general research paper. In such a case, you can limit yourself to the standard introduction –main body – conclusion formula.

In all the other situations, use the following literature review outline.

The picture lists the 5 components of literature review.

  • Introduction Trace the scope and highlight the importance of your review. Why did you choose the given topic or research question? How does it contribute to the previous study?
  • Methodology We have listed the types of literature review above. Depending on your purposes, select one and explain why your choice is the best. You can also specify which logic you used while choosing the sources for your review.
  • Discussion It is the central part of the text which compares, contrasts, and explains the relationships between various ideas you found in the bibliography items.
  • Conclusion Are you satisfied with the result of your work? How will it help further research? Which gaps have you spotted, and which hypothesis could you generate?
  • List of references As in any research paper, this is an indispensable part of your literature review. Be sure to follow the format requirements as provided below.

Literature Review Format

All citation styles require you to indicate the author’s name, book title, publication year, number of pages, and volume or issue number. This data is available in any printed edition, as publishers use it to identify their products.

It may sound simple until you discover that each citation style has a multi-page list of nuanced details specific to this format and inapplicable to any other.

Browse the guides for each of the most popular types below.

APA style is a format for scholarly documents. It is particularly popular in the fields of social and behavioral sciences. APA is well-known for its simplicity in source references. Thus, a vast majority of American universities and colleges prefer this format.

MLA style manual is an abridged version of the MLA Handbook published by the Modern Language Association. It was created for students to assist in their research aspirations. Its 8 th edition is addressed to secondary-school and undergraduate university and college teachers and students. The style is popular in humanities (modern languages, literature, cultural studies, and related disciplines).

Chicago style (also called CMS or CMOS) is a style guide for American English. The University of Chicago Press first published it in 1906. Since then, it has had 17 editions and has become one of the most popular citation styles in the US. The guide instructs on editorial practice, grammar, document preparation, formatting, and even the use of the singular “they.”

💡 Literature Review Topics

Literature review topics in education.

  • How can we make classrooms more inclusive ?
  • Flipped classroom approach.
  • Waldorf schools and their concept.
  • How do ADHD symptoms affect a student’s learning abilities?
  • Educational leadership.
  • Methods of tracking the performance of schoolchildren.
  • How can token economy diminish off-task behavior in students with autism?
  • Resegregation in US schools.
  • Is bilingual education realizable in contemporary schools?
  • Growing violence incidents in educational institutions.

Political Science Literature Review Topics

  • Gender cosmopolitanism in Sweden .
  • Security policy is based on political ideology .
  • The emotional effect of populism .
  • The theory and classification of political speeches.
  • Global measures in COVID-19 response.
  • The international politics of the Arab world.
  • How do we select our leaders ?
  • Officials in politics: Emotional labor .
  • Relational peace between countries.
  • The invisible force holding countries together.

Criminal Justice Literature Review Topics

  • The problematic issues of prosecution and legal enforcement in Eastern Europe.
  • Track the evolution of international criminal justice practices.
  • Crime prevention methods.
  • The evolution of criminology as a social science.
  • The cycle of domestic violence : Theory and statistics.
  • The patterns in child abuse perpetrators.
  • Randomized experimental designs in criminology .
  • Current measures to stop human trafficking in the US.
  • How should we punish environmental crimes?
  • Terrorism : Approaches to its definitions.

Sociology Literature Review Topics

  • Does coded language help us fight racial inequality ?
  • Workplace bullying.
  • International conflicts in terms of social representation theory.
  • Gender and sexual activity.
  • Is our society liberal or conservative ?
  • Single African American parents.
  • Racial salary gap in the US.
  • Substance abuse and health care costs for employers.
  • Does federal aid succeed at fighting urban poverty?
  • How does hate speech spur desensitization?

Nursing Literature Review Topics

  • Practice in the field of healthcare.
  • Evidence-based nursing practice.
  • Traumatic brain injury.
  • Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Pressure ulcers study.
  • Post-operative readmission rates.
  • Nursing ratios and nosocomial infections.
  • Patient fall prevention study.
  • Emergency room wait time.
  • Electronic health records.

Psychology Literature Review Topics

  • Parents’ experiences of caring for a child with ASD
  • The long-term consequences of child abuse
  • The neurology of depression .
  • Explore the psychological effects of loud noise.
  • Why is it so hard to accept what contradicts our beliefs?
  • The psychological mechanisms of compulsive eating.
  • Why are some people more prone to discrimination and prejudice?
  • Self-protection against grief .
  • Non-verbal communication rates in different cultures.
  • Love : Chemistry or feeling?

Biology Literature Review Topics

  • Camouflage in plants. 
  • Color differences in male and female bird species. 
  • Acceptability of genetic engineering.  
  • Natural reforestation: Too long to wait. 
  • Why are domestic plants weaker than wild ones? 
  • Hepcidin: importance, production, regulation.  
  • How can we edit DNA sequences ? 
  • Which anti- COVID vaccines are the most effective and why? 
  • Cancer : An umbrella term for many diseases. 
  • Species that are important to our ecology. 

Easy Literature Review Topics

  • Sustainable agriculture : Our future reality.
  • Vegetarianism.
  • The scientific background behind music therapy .
  • Stono revolt.
  • The latest findings in stopping brain aging.
  • Articles on cyber security of young children.
  • Data-driven personalization : Prospects and achievements.
  • Importance of the literature review in research.
  • Critical literature review of digital signature.
  • Reviewing quantitative academic literature and data.

❓ Literature Review Topics FAQ

❓ what is discussed in literature review.

A literature review discusses the texts that are the most relevant to your research question. It summarizes, compares, evaluates, and critiques the available literature to find the points of intersection and blind spots. As a result, you will develop a specific topic for further research or pose a hypothesis.

❓ What are the 3 parts of literature review?

The three parts of this academic genre are the same as those of any other research paper. The introduction explores the background and importance of the topic. The main body analyzes the selected texts. It may also contain a methodology section that explains why you chose such or another literary review type. The conclusion outlines the perspectives of your research.

❓ What are the four stages of literature review?

  • Formulating the problem (which topic is under study and what are its constituent parts?);
  • Searching the literature (making up the preliminary bibliography list to be described in the literature review);
  • Evaluating the data (which sources are the most significant in our understanding of the topic?);
  • Analyzing and interpreting the essential findings.
  • Literature Reviews – UNC Writing Center
  • Learn how to write a review of literature
  • Writing a Literature Review // Purdue Writing Lab
  • Types of Literature Reviews – Systematic Reviews
  • How to Conduct a Literature Review
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Are you looking for an engaging literary research paper topic? Whether you're writing a college-level essay or a master's thesis, the right literature research paper topics can make all the difference. They range from exploring particular genres or authors to examining the use of language in literary works. By researching these topics, you will gain a greater understanding of the ideas, improve your critical thinking skills, and learn to appreciate the nuances. This article will explore such literature topics for research and open up endless possibilities for analysis and interpretation, ranging from classic to modern-day texts. Are you ready to choose a trending topic and write a paper that will win your professor’s heart? 

What Are Literary Research Paper Topics?

Literary research paper topics focus on a particular literary work, such as a book, poem, novel, play, or story. They provide a great starting point for researching the specific aspect you're planning to explore for a better perception of the idea and help to eliminate any artificial facet. Literary research topics may analyze a single text, compare different writings by the same author, or contrast different authors' styles.  Common literature topics for research papers comprise symbolism, characterization, themes, plot structure, historical context, point-of-view analysis, biographical contexts, and intertextual connections. These research paper topics may also focus on how an author has been interpreted or evaluated over time, analyzing the critical reception of their works and examining any changes within literary canonization. Additionally, these topics can explore how literary works intersect with other disciplines, such as philosophy, psychology, sociology, politics, or economics.

Characteristics of Good Literature Research Paper Topics

Literary research paper topics are usually considered good when they are:

  • Relevant They should be engaging, thought-provoking, and appropriate to the academic work.
  • Specific Similarly, good literature research topics must have a narrow focus and not be overly broad.
  • Interesting They should pique your interest and encourage you to explore and aspire to know more about the literary work.
  • Challenging Deep analysis, thoughtful reflection, and creative thinking are also vital.
  • Unique They should be memorable and offer new insights into academic work.

With these important characteristics of literary topics for research papers in mind, you're ready to start writing!

How to Choose a Literature Research Paper Topic?

Choosing a literature research paper topic can be daunting, but with careful thought and planning, you're sure to find the perfect one. In order to do this, you need to complete the following:

  • Brainstorm: First, start by brainstorming topics that interest you. Think about the works you've been studying, authors and genres you enjoy reading, and themes that have resonated with you.
  • Narrow it down: Once you've identified a few research topics that intrigue you, narrow them down to one that is most relevant and specific.
  • Research: Explore if it is relevant. This will guarantee that you have enough material to work with.
  • Refine: Once you have researched, refine your topic to ensure it is specific and engaging. Consider the most interesting aspects and how they can be explored further.
  • Choose: Finally, choose the title that best reflects your interests and passions for an enjoyable research experience!

With these tips, you can find the perfect literary research paper topic! Don’t have time for reading piles of books? Get professional help with research paper writing from StudyCrumb and have your study completed by a real pro.

List of Literature Research Paper Topics

A list of literature topics for research offers a wide range of literary-related issues that can be explored and studied for your project. It includes ideas that could spark your creativity and help you choose the best title. Whether you're interested in exploring the works of Shakespeare or examining modern literature, this list of literary research paper topics has something for everyone!

  • Use of symbolism in romantic poetry.
  • Importance of technology within cyberpunk genres.
  • Impact of fantasy on contemporary culture.
  • Representation of male or female authors as represented by classic literary works.
  • Postmodernist views of time and space in literature.
  • Representation of race and ethnicity within contemporary fiction.
  • Representation of LGBTQ characters in literary works.
  • The role of mythology during the era of ancient works.
  • Social media impact on modern texts.
  • Classic and contemporary literary criticism.

Interesting Literary Research Paper Topics

If you are interested in classic books or modern trends, these ideas can be a fascinating starting point for your project. They include theories, criticism, comparison, and specific authors or genres. Besides providing an analysis of the work, a literary research paper topic could also comprise examining different themes. Explore the following interesting literature topics for your project:

  • Literary influences of Jane Austen's works.
  • Symbolism as represented by gothic texts.
  • Relevance of classic mythology within contemporary fiction.
  • The role of magic or fantasy in children's literature.
  • The role of women in Victorian literature.
  • Representation of race and ethnicity in early 20th-century literature.
  • Themes of love and loss in romantic poetry.
  • The use of horror genres in contemporary fiction.
  • Postcolonialism's impact on literary works.
  • Nature in 19th-century literature .
  • Representation of LGBTQ characters as represented by contemporary fiction.
  • Technology's impact on modern literary works.
  • Classic and contemporary interpretations of gothic texts.
  • The role of magic and fantasy in modern literary works.
  • Representation of death and loss in 20th-century works.

Great Literature Research Paper Topics

A list of great literature research topics provides a variety of ideas related to literary works. These research topics in literature can offer an exciting starting point for your English paper:

  • Rebellion themes in Shakespeare's tragedies.
  • Class and economic status in Victorian texts.
  • Symbolism in romantic poetry.
  • Impact of British imperialism on literary fiction worldwide.
  • Gender and sexuality representation in early 20th-century writings.
  • Postcolonialism in 19th-century fiction.
  • The literary influence of WWII on modern writings.
  • Vampires' role in gothic literary texts.
  • Use of fantasy in childhood writings.
  • Technology's impact on contemporary literary works.
  • Race and ethnicity as represented by postmodern fiction.
  • Religion in romantic poetry.
  • Themes of love and loss in 20th-century texts.
  • Horror genres in literary fiction.
  • Postmodernism's impact on contemporary literary works.

Unique Literature Research Paper Topics

Unique literature topics for research papers can help students explore new concepts and gain a deeper understanding of their subject. Below are rare literature paper topics for you to review:

  • The role of jealousy in 17th-century literary works.
  • Gender identity as represented by reformist fiction.
  • Mythological figures as portrayed by Greek and Roman poetry.
  • The relationship between gender and power in Shakespeare's plays.
  • Themes of isolation in 20th-century British poetry.
  • Metaphors in the works of Gabriel García Márquez .
  • Themes of rebellion and revolution in African American literary texts.
  • The role of women in medieval romance literature.
  • Poverty representation in Victorian novels.
  • Themes of oppression and freedom in colonial Latin American texts.
  • Use of metaphor and allegory in Dante's divine comedy.
  • Influence of industrialization on 19th-century fiction.
  • Dystopian settings within modern literature.
  • Religion in contemporary fiction.

Spotted any ideas for your literature research paper? Now it’s time to compose your study. Leave us ‘ do my research paper ’ notice and get a professional writer to work on your project. 

Controversial Literary Research Paper Topics

Controversial literary research topics can provide students with an opportunity to explore complex and sometimes contentious issues related to literary texts. Find below a controversial literary research paper topic for your dream English project!

  • Racial stereotypes during 19th-century English literature.
  • Themes of sexuality and desire in ancient Greek poetry.
  • The relationship between political power and language in Shakespeare's plays.
  • Conflict representation during 20th-century English fiction.
  • English role in colonial Indian literature.
  • Gender and racial representations within African American autobiographies.
  • Themes of justice and control in Victorian English novels.
  • Themes of oppression and resistance in feminist texts.
  • The role of English in modern Japanese fiction.
  • Themes of identity and belonging in postcolonial Indian literature.
  • Censorship, free speech, and social responsibility in 19th-century English novels.
  • Politics and power representations in Latin American poetry.
  • Gender, race, and class representations in English renaissance drama.
  • English as a tool for political ideology within the works of George Orwell.
  • Language used to defy authority during modern fiction writing.

Fresh Literature Research Paper Ideas

Coming up with fresh ideas for literature research topics can be daunting. Students may want to look at the works they have studied or venture outside the traditional reading list and explore different authors and genres. Some literature research paper ideas comprise studying how certain authors influenced the literary movement, analyzing how language has been used throughout history, or examining gender, race, and class representations from a literary text. Here is a perfect list of fresh ideas!

  • Aesthetics as presented by postmodern fiction.
  • The theme of loss as portrayed by African authors .
  • Use of language throughout history.
  • Identity and belonging representation in contemporary young adult fiction.
  • The intersection between art and literature in modern poetry.
  • Themes of authority, rebellion, and revolution in medieval epic poetry.
  • Role of fantasy in horror fiction.
  • Gender, race, and class representations within British romanticism.
  • American literary realism and naturalism.
  • Influence of symbolism on French modernist poetry.
  • Construction of memory within African American autobiographies.
  • Representation of narrative time in Latin American fiction.
  • Social injustice theme during early 20th-century American drama.
  • The relationship between social identity and language during postcolonial fiction.
  • Values and beliefs representations as presented by ancient Greek mythology.

Literature Research Paper Topics for Students

For students looking for research topics in literature for study, there is a wide variety of options available. Depending on the level and course, they might focus on analyzing particular authors, literary movements, or genres, exploring the use of language throughout history, or examining representations of gender, race, and class in books. You also need to study literary devices and their effects on readers when exploring literary topics for a research paper . Below are examples of literature topics for different students:

Literature Research Paper Topics for High School

These are literature topics to research, specifically tailored to high school students. They involve exploring the influence of literary work on culture, analyzing a single author's literary movement or genre, or investigating language use throughout history. This list of research topics in literature for high school provides an original starting point for your literary project!

  • Racism as presented during early 20th-century works.
  • Social criticism within contemporary dystopian young adult fiction.
  • Folklore's impact on contemporary poetry.
  • Representation of nature in modern literature.
  • Spirituality as portrayed by reformist literature.
  • Social class representation within postmodern novels.
  • The theme of environment in romantic works.
  • Colonialism representation during postcolonial works.
  • Effects of pop culture on modern fiction.
  • Mental illness representation during 19th-century poetry.
  • The role of music and art in early 20th-century literary texts.
  • Literature's influence on identity building in minority cultures.
  • Family dynamics in postmodern poetry.
  • Family and community representations during gothic fiction.
  • Literature as a tool for social change.

Literature Research Paper Topics for College Students

These titles entail more serious and in-depth scrutiny than a high school literary paper. A college-level literary research paper topic provides students with a broader range of analysis. It encompasses looking at literature as a form of political commentary to get its relationship with other art forms. Below are literature research paper topics for college students:

  • Identity construction during postmodern poetry.
  • Alienation themes within modern fiction.
  • Gender role representations in Shakespearean tragedies.
  • The relationship between narrative and memory within Holocaust literature.
  • Nature's role in contemporary American fiction.
  • Authority and subversion themes during the early 20th-century drama.
  • Race, class, and gender representation within African American autobiographies.
  • Social media influence the literary language.
  • The relationship between social identity and language in postcolonial fiction.
  • Values as presented by ancient Greek mythology .
  • Psychological distress during 20th-century war narratives.
  • Attitudes towards mental illness as portrayed by gothic texts.
  • The relationship between science and literary imagination.
  • Social hierarchy within Victorian novels.
  • Religion's role in southern American literature.

Literary Research Paper Topics by Categories

Research paper topics for literature by category offer an exclusive and stimulating perspective on literary analysis worldwide. They can be grouped into literary movements, authors, and genres, as well as topics related to language and history. If you are interested in European, American, and English literature topics, these ideas will help you find the perfect literary research paper topic for your project.

World Literature Research Paper Topics

Research paper topics for world literature allow students to explore literary works from any part of the world, including texts written in English, Spanish, and other languages. Below is a list that provides original world literature research topics for any project:

  • Impact of colonialism on native literary traditions.
  • Gender representation within French literature.
  • Religion's role within literary works from Latin America.
  • Symbolism in English poetry from the 19th century.
  • Themes of nationalism within modern Russian fiction.
  • Power and politics in Spanish plays.
  • Conflict as portrayed by African literature.
  • The role of folklore within Chinese fiction.
  • Themes of cultural identity in Japanese drama.
  • Family ties in Italian poetry.
  • Symbolism in Arabic literature.
  • Social class representation in Indian novels.
  • Impact of globalization on middle eastern fiction.
  • Human rights themes by contemporary Australian poets.
  • Western representations of other cultures in modern literature.

American Literature Research Paper Topics

In research paper topics for American literature, you examine the works of early American writers and poets, as well as those from later periods. Here is a list of American literature topics for your paper!

  • Attitudes towards race in early American novels.
  • Colonialism during 19th-century poetry.
  • Freedom and rebellion themes within revolutionary literature.
  • The emergence of gothic horror in American fiction.
  • Impact of transcendentalism on American writing.
  • Gender representation during pre-civil war literature .
  • Themes of morality in post-World War II American fiction.
  • Role of religion during 19th-century American novels.
  • Slavery and its abolition by American poets.
  • Social class representation during early American drama.
  • Themes of identity in postmodern American fiction.
  • Industrialization of 20th-century literature.
  • War and conflict representation by contemporary American playwrights.
  • Racism in 20th-century American novels.
  • Assimilation and immigration themes in post-World War II American literature.

British Literature Research Paper Topics

In British literature research topics, you explore works from early British writers to contemporary authors. Ideally, research topics for British literature should encompass works written by authors from all eras, including Medieval, Renaissance, and modern. Here is a list of English literature research paper topics for your perfect essay!

  • Gender representation during medieval English literature.
  • Colonialism's effects on British literary works during the 18th century.
  • Influence of British writers on modern literature.
  • The role of nature in 18th-century British novels.
  • Interpretations of classic British literary works.
  • Social class representations during 19th-century British fiction.
  • Themes of love and romance within Victorian literature.
  • Industrialization's impact on 20th-century British novels.
  • Patriotism and nationalism during post-World War II literary work.
  • Multiculturalism representations in postmodern British fiction.
  • Effects of censorship on British authors during the 20th century.
  • Mental health representation in modern British poetry.
  • Representation of historical events in British works throughout time.
  • Technological representations in 21st-century British Novels.
  • Intersectionality by contemporary British playwrights.

Did you know that you can generate a bunch of title ideas using our Research Paper Topic Generator ?

European Literary Research Paper Topics

European literature research paper topics offer an excellent opportunity to explore the works of European authors. They allow you to study and analyze the academic traditions and cultures of some of Europe's most influential writers. You can find such literary research paper topic ideas in the list below:

  • Representations of the European monarchy in classic novels.
  • Censorship effects on European authors during the 20th century.
  • Impact of World War II on European authors.
  • Gender representations within Victorian poetry.
  • Literary works from different countries and cultures in Europe.
  • Use of language, symbolism, and imagery to explore themes in European texts.
  • Themes of nature and environment within German short stories.
  • Technology representations in late Victorian poetry.
  • Popular culture's influence on European literary movements from the 20th century to modern times.
  • Impact of European literary works on people's perceptions of other cultures.
  • Use of supernatural elements within European gothic writings from the 18th to 19th centuries.
  • Identity representations in French social realism texts.
  • Technology's impact on contemporary European literary works.
  • Family and community representations during post-war theater.
  • Themes of justice and injustice within European dystopian texts.

Literature Research Paper Ideas by Periods

You may aspire to find literature topics for research papers from different historical periods. This involves studying literature from various cultures or eras, such as ancient, medieval, or modern ones. These ideas also cover the examination of themes and symbols used in writings and scrutinizing characters and their development through various works. Other topics include the exploration of texts from a political perspective in relation to their historical contexts. These ideas contain some literary research topics from various periods:

Ancient Literary Research Paper Topics

There are many exciting options to consider if you're looking for ancient literature research paper topics. They can be studied with regard to history, culture, art, and philosophy. To gain more insight, you could explore the works of Homer, Henry James, Virgil, and the Mahabharata, or old Egyptian writings, such as The Iliad and Odyssey . Below is a list of ancient literature topics for research you can choose from.

  • Gender representations in epic poetry.
  • Role of mythology and religion in ancient texts.
  • Influence of philosophy on ancient literature.
  • Power representations in Greek tragedy.
  • Heroism by early epic authors.
  • Love and marriage in ancient texts.
  • Ancient narratives of war and conflict.
  • Slavery representations in Roman poetry.
  • The role of music and art in classical literature.
  • Nature representations in ancient texts.
  • Politics' influence on Greek comedy.
  • Family and community representations in roman narratives.
  • Characters' representation in epic poetry.
  • The role of technology in early literary works.
  • Representations of the divine in ancient texts.
Read more: History Research Topics for Students 

Medieval Literature Research Paper Topics

The medieval literary study provides a unique opportunity to explore literature research topics of the Middle Ages. From Beowulf to The Canterbury Tales , these works offer insights into this era's cultural beliefs and values. Here are such literary topics for research papers to focus on:

  • Representations of medieval chivalry in literary works.
  • Religion's influence on medieval works.
  • Gender representation in medieval texts.
  • The role of magic in medieval narratives.
  • The impact of feudalism on medieval texts.
  • Honor and loyalty representations by chivalric texts.
  • The role of courtly love in medieval works.
  • Knights and warriors' representations in literary works.
  • Warfare representations in medieval texts.
  • The role of education and learning in medieval literature.

Renaissance Literary Research Paper Topics

The Renaissance literature research paper ideas explore works of literature during the Renaissance era, which spanned from the 14th to the 17th century. They focus on the themes, authors, and literature of this period to provide a better understanding of how literary works have evolved within this timeframe and their impact on our current literature. Some of the most influential figures who contributed immensely to writings during this era were William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes. If you are interested in researching this period, you can consider a literature research paper topic from the list below:

  • Love and romance representations in Renaissance texts.
  • Science and technology in 16th-century literature.
  • Class and social status representations in Renaissance literary works.
  • Classical mythology in Renaissance poetry.
  • Representations of family and community in Renaissance narratives.
  • Effects of humanism on Renaissance literature in Europe.
  • Imagery role by William Shakespeare .
  • Representations of art, music, and theater in Renaissance texts.
  • Politics' role in 16th-century literary texts.
  • Nature representation by John Milton or Torquato Tasso.
  • Exploration influence on Renaissance narratives.
  • Influence of Renaissance literature on modern writing.
  • Women's representation in literary texts by Anne Bradstreet or Aphra Behn.
  • Magic and supernatural representations in literary works of Renaissance.
  • Humanism and individualism themes within Renaissance literature.

Romantic Literature Research Paper Ideas

Romantic literature emerged during the late 18th century and flourished throughout the early 19th century in Europe. It is characterized by its focus on emotion and depictions of nature. This movement had a lasting impact on literary works and has been highly influential. Research topics in literature can explore the writings of authors such as Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and William Wordsworth. Here are some ideas related to romanticism:

  • Nature representations in Romantic texts.
  • The role of emotion as depicted in 19th-century literature.
  • Influence of Romantic authors on modern literature and culture.
  • Women's representation in Romantic narratives.
  • Industrialization impact on 19th-century texts.
  • Influence of religion and superstition in early Romantic texts.
  • Use of technology to discuss themes in Romantic texts from the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
  • The role of education as portrayed by Romantic narratives.
  • Character analysis and plot structure in gothic fiction.
  • Nationalism and patriotism as represented by post-Napoleonic war poems.

Modernist Literary Research Paper Topics

Modern literature emerged during the early 20th century until the end of World War II. It is characterized by a rejection of traditional conventions and focused on experimentation with form. This movement had an unprecedented impact on literature research topics and is highly influential today. If you are looking for literary topics for research papers that focus on modernism, consider exploring the following:

  • Nature representations by modern texts.
  • Social inequality in 21st-century novels.
  • Modernism's influence on current literature and culture.
  • Climate change within contemporary fiction.
  • Impact of social injustice on 20th-century literary works.
  • Urbanization representations by modern literary texts.
  • Education's influence on modernist narratives.
  • Wealth and power in early modernist texts.
  • Themes of urban life by Ezra Pound or Wallace Stevens.
  • Modernism's impact on classical literature.
  • Globalization themes within postmodern poetry.
  • Multiculturalism themes in contemporary literary works.
  • Mental health representations in modern British novels.
  • Global conflict representation in modern fiction.
  • The influence of psychoanalysis on modernist literature.

Current Literature Research Paper Ideas

Current literature paper topics can look at the latest trends. They include exploring contemporary works such as Harry Potter by J.K Rowling and Stardust by Neil Gaiman. These topics may also involve analyzing social media's effects on literary writings. If you are looking for current literary topics for a research paper, consider the following:

  • Technological impact on literary works in the 21st century.
  • Art, music, and theater in modern texts.
  • Impact of conflict on recent literary works.
  • Social injustice in 21st-century narratives.
  • Racism, ethnicity, and slavery in contemporary texts.
  • Wealth and power in recent literary works.
  • Globalization themes in postmodern poetry.
  • Urbanization in modern writings.
  • Immigration within postmodern British novels.

In case you need more paper topics, feel free to browse our blog. We have a wide arsenal of ideas starting from philosophy research paper topics to education research paper topics .  

Bottom Line on Literature Research Paper Topics

Literature topics for research can explore a wide range of themes and works. Whether you are looking for visionary ideas about poetry, fiction, or books from different eras, there is no shortage of literature paper topics to choose from. To narrow down your focus and find the best idea for your project, consider researching literary movements, reading widely, and thinking about the areas that interest you most.  Literature topics for research papers should be chosen based on students' interests and areas of expertise. By conducting in-depth research, you will gain a greater appreciation for literary work and its impact on society. With this article as a guide, you can take the time to find a topic that speaks to you and create an engaging research paper.


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Education Research Topics

Resources for First-Year Writing


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Topics For Literature Based Research Paper

1. Tragedies of Ancient Greece

Sophocles� Oedipus Rex :

� The Concept of the �Divine Right of Kings� in Oedipus and in America (see various presidential speeches which invoke God or speak of divine sanction for an administration�s actions � ex. See inaugurals of Harry Truman and 2nd speech of George W. Bush.)

� Community: Private lives of heroes and their effect on the community in Oedipus and in modern America

� The Plague of Thebes: Punishing the city to punish the King (discuss how it operates in Oedipus and perhaps in the Bible or in our lives as citizens today)

� The Role of Advisors to the Leader then and now: in Oedipus and in modern politics

� The Truth Teller (�soothsayer�) and the Leader: Speaking Truth to Power in Oedipus and in modern politics

� Punishment of the Leader in Oedipus and in American politics

� Fathers and Sons: Sins of the Father (explore the concept from the Greek perspective); also, see topic under Fences.

Sophocles� Antigone :

� Polarities: Explore one or two of the contrasts in the play ( i.e., youth vs. age, gods vs. humans, pride vs. wisdom, freedom vs. bondage). Discuss them as public issues.

� Gender Conflicts: (choose one)

o woman vs. man = the family vs. the state

o woman vs. man = divine law vs. human law

o woman vs. man = conscience/morality/religion vs. pride/power

� Civil Disobedience (bringing in Thoreau�s essay as well)

� Antigone as a Feminist play: women vs. patriarchal power

� Antigone as a play that speaks to homosexuals (their feelings of marginalization)

� Antigone and modern politics: (choose one and connect to a situation in America or elsewhere)

o Concept of unchallenged/unquestioned political forces vs. our own freedom

o Polarization: �You�re either with us or you�re with the terrorists� mentality (do research on current political rhetoric)

� Desecration vs. Burial: (for various possible way to look at this, see class notes in Course Documents; concerning religious/spirituals beliefs about death and the dead). Research the value of burial ceremonies for the grieving family and for society.

2. Concerning Cultural Myths About Women �

Eavan Boland�s “Anorexic”:

� Anorexia and Eve�s Sin: How myth shapes culture (take a feminist view of the Adam and Eve story and include explication of the poem in these terms)

� Misogyny in Organized Religion: using the poem as a jumping off point, look at how religion (you can limit it to Christianity or include other faiths as well) has or has not contributed to the oppression of women over the centuries

� Look at the poem as an expression of the societal effect of the story of Eve. Discuss the illness of anorexia, as portrayed in the poem, as a disease created by a society based on a patriarchal religious construct.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman�s “The Yellow Wallpaper”:

� Using the story as a jumping off point, explore the medical community�s approach to treatment of �women�s illnesses� in the late 1800�s early 1900�s (include information about the infamous �rest cure�)

� Research what life was like for women in the late 1800�s. Explore the image of the woman behind the wallpaper as symbol of women�s position in society then and now (or just then, of you wish)

� Use the story to help you explore women and depression in turn of the century America. Do research into the prevalence of the disease, society�s attitude toward those afflicted and the treatments used.

� Gilman�s story and the struggle of women writers in late 19th century America

� The concept of the wandering uterus (originated in ancient Greek medicine and persisted into the 19th century)

3. Concerning Cultural Stereotypes of Women

Susan Glaspell�s Trifles (also includes various other pieces on syllabus):

� Women in �turn of the century� America (note: before they obtained the right to vote) � choose one

o How does the play reflect the realities of their lives as women, as wives?

o Homesteading: what was life like for homesteading women and how does that affect our understanding of the women in the play, of Minnie Wright?

o What was it like to be a wife in rural, turn of the century America? Connect that to the characters and plot of the play.

� Being a Wife � Through a comparative literary analysis look at whether or not the power of women in public and private life grows stronger in modern times? (address issues of relationships with husbands, position in marriage, duties/responsibilities, societal expectations, or hidden resentments) — choose one of the following —

o Compare the wives in Trifles and one of the following: Fences, �Story of an Hour,� or �Woman Hollering Creek.�

o Husbands: compare how the husband is characterized in Trifles and one of the following: Fences, �Story of an Hour,� or �Woman Hollering Creek.�

� How does either Trifles or Fences illustrate playwright Henrik Ibsen�s idea of �two kinds of conscience, one in man and another in woman� as defined in his �Notes for the Modern Tragedy� (Di Yanni p. 2123). Note that this excerpt refers specifically to his play A Doll�s House, but the non-specific statements can be applied to Trifles or Fences as well.

Sandra Cisneros� “Woman Hollering Creek”:

� Women and Ethnic Beliefs: Using the story as a jumping off point, explore the Mexican Legend of La Llorona and what it says about the public perception of women and marriage.

� Explore how Cisneros creates a modern re-working of the Legend of La Llorona in the story.

Sandra Cisneros� “Pumpkin Eater”:

� Discuss the poem in terms of the children�s rhyme that inspired it. Research the old English nursery rhyme of �Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater� and look at it from a feminist perspective. What did the rhyme say about women�s place in public life and what is Cisneros saying about the nature of male-female romantic relationships today?

� Do research into the images and these used in both poems. Compare the image of women in Cisneros� poem and Marge Piercy�s poem �A Work of Artifice�. How do they reflect the public perception of women in society, in relationships?

Marge Piercy�s “A Work of Artifice”:

� How does the metaphor of the bonsai tree work to explain how patriarchal society has historically treated women?

� Discuss the poem�s references to how women are �shaped� and how male-dominated society imposes its will on women�s physical selves.

� Compare the concepts in this poem to Cisneros� �Pumpkin Eater� or �Woman Hollering Creek,� or to Gilman�s �the Yellow Wallpaper,� or Boland�s �Anorexia,� or Chopin�s �Story of an Hour�.

Kate Chopin�s “Story of an Hour”:

� Explore the story and the typical life of the American wife of the late 1800�s. How is Louise Mallard�s marital experience typical of her time?

� Discuss marital life in the turn of the century in terms of this story and Gilman�s �The Yellow Wallpaper�.

� Point of View: What is unusual about Louise Mallard�s response to the news about her husband? How did or might the reading public respond to such a view of marriage? Discuss typical public expectations about marriage and about women in the late 1800�s.

4. Faith and the Human Spirit:

� Compare �Ecclesiastes� (Di Yanni p. 792) to the writing of Lao Tzu (AWOI p. 24). Do some research into the influence of eastern religious thought on western Christianity.

� Explore the concept of the Christian and Muslim believer�s need to �Battle with God� through an explication of John Donne�s �Batter my heart, three-personed God� and Chairil Anwar�s �At the Mosque�. Include references to specific beliefs the two faiths have about man�s relation to God.

� Discuss the Victorian Age�s battle between faith and science using Matthew Arnold�s �Dover Beach� to frame the discussion.

� Use Arnold�s poem �Dover Beach� as a jumping off point to address the idea that the violence created an unhealed wound in Victorian society. Discuss how the crimes of Jack the Ripper, for example, affected the public psyche of England at that time.

� Discuss William Butler Yeats� poem, �The Second Coming,� in terms of the biblical passage that discusses the coming of the Antichrist (see Matthew 24 and I John 2: 18-25 of the Book of Revelations). Are there beliefs in the public forum that correspond to this concept of the dawning of a new age, or of the end of times?

Re. August Wilson�s Fences:

� Explore the biblical references in the play and discuss how they are used in characterization. How do the characters use them to understand where they fit in in society, in their families?

� Explore the �Sins of the Fathers� theme in biblical terms and in terms of this play (you could also include Oedipus, if you wish). Sometimes the following inscription is printed with the play:

When the sins of our fathers visit us.

We do not have to play host.

We can banish them with forgiveness

As God, in His Largeness and Laws.

How does this poem (written by Wilson) affect your understanding of the play? Does this play seem to be about foregiveness?

� Discuss how we each use faith differently, focusing on Troy and Rose and how faith plays into their lives. You can consider applying this to some present day public figure and discuss similarities or differences in the way her or his faith is a public issue.

� At the end of the play Wilson seems to contend that Christianity, the faith of the white man, does not serve African Americans well? Consider this idea in terms of the way African slaves were �brought to� Christianity in America? Research the intentions of white society to Christianize them.

(Note the following topics do not pertain to faith, per se.)

� Use the play as a jumping off point to discuss common perceptions (misconceptions) about marriage or infidelity or parenthood in the African-American community. Do research into studies that have been done on the subject.

� On Athletic Scholarships: Are they exploitative? In the play Troy refuses to let his son Cory accept a football scholarship. Wilson once said in an interview that athletic scholarships are often exploitative. Athletes �were not getting educated,� he said, they �were taking courses in basket weaving. Some could barely read.� Universities, he continued, �made a lot of money off of athletes.� Do you agree or disagree? Do research to find data that enables you to answer this question.

Flannery O�Connor�s “A Good Man is Hard to Find”:

� Explore O�Connor�s Catholicity in terms of one of the following aspects of the story :

o �Redemption through Catastrophe�

o �Grace� � her perception of how it comes to mankind

o The Public Enemy and Salvation

o Social Standing: blood lineage and the aristocracy of the American south

o Christian Culture�s paradigm of �the good man� � many are Christian but few are Christ-like. How does this pertain to the story?

o The Misfit: agent of God or the Devil? Look into the origins of Christianity�s beliefs about their relationship and relate it to the role of The Misfit.

o Contrast the Grandmother (as symbol of superficial belief) vs. The Misfit (as symbol of profound, but unconventional, belief)

� Discuss the family in the story as representative of a typical (Godless) American family. Are they a bleak depiction of the family that has lost touch with God, belief, the value system of religion?

5. American Culture: Its Roots in Racism

John Edgar Wideman�s “Damballah”:

� How is this story about the person caught between American slave culture and African roots pertinent to African American�s today? What aspects of African American culture that are strongly connected to African heritage have become part of mainstream culture?

� Using the story as a jumping off point, discuss the African American�s struggle to retain some of his African identity in our culture today.

� Discuss the story�s theme of the values of the slaveholder vs. the values of the slave and connect it to the life of Gandhi or some other important figure in public life.

Ralph Ellison�s “Battle Royal”:

� Use the story to discuss the difficulties of the African Male as he comes of age in America. Discuss what sociologists, psychologists, or other scholars say about the challenges they face

� Discuss the exploitation of the African Male in our society, beginning with the scenario set up in the story and then extending to life in America today. Do research to find information that enables you to respond.

� Beginning with the story and expanding the discussion to the public sphere, discuss how racism and sexism go hand in hand in America.

� Is the type of racism we see in the story typical of the southern response to the Civil Rights Movement of the 60�s? Look into how culture and politics worked to make the American Dream a fleeting thing for African Americans.

  • How we work

Worthy Literature Review Topics for Presenting a Cogent Work

examples of topics for literature review

What Topics for Literature Review to Consider to Outshine

Studying at college or university, planning to build up a final research paper, preparing for classes, creating a graduate project, or working on a capstone project always involves dealing with plentiful literature and analyzing reports on many topics. A literature review is an academic writing that unites a student’s knowledge of a defined topic, and it’s up to them to pick winning literature review topics to prove their expertise in the chosen field, as well as show the ability to analyze and compare several sources.

As usual, a literature review presents a consistent overview of the used material, the main points of the research, the author’s critical assessment of the topic, covers the existing theories, fills the informational gaps, and expresses a personal point of view. It can be a standalone piece of academic writing based on the literature on a specific topic or be an integral part or separate section of a paper or research project.

Speaking about the intentions in a political science literature review or another, a source report on the topic is designed. It’s important to remember a student should present a well-reasoned scientific review on the topic or a debate but not enlist all literature they use, so it looks like a library collection. When dealing with a dissertation or a term paper, creating a decent review that will summarize the whole literature is one of the most important tasks after selecting a fitting topic.

So, it’s up to a student to submit a well-reasonable, cogent literature review to evidence their knowledge of the chosen topic. There are several purposes why you should prepare a review of the used literature:

  • Provide a critical analysis of a topic and define a frame of questions that should be resolved.
  • Showing your familiarity with the topic and understanding of the state of research in the field.
  • Determining the gaps compared to the prior investigations you can cover in your research.
  • Know the previous literature regarding the chosen topic, summarize theories, making outcomes to present your groundwork and exploration.

When writing your literature review, it’s necessary to concentrate on your literature review and pick proper sources to cover the topic fully by focusing on the gaps that weren’t presented before by other writers. To gain the needed results of a literature review, a student should highlight scientific controversies and try to solve them by offering their solutions and viewpoints on the topic.

Worthy Literature Review Topics Psychology: Cover Issues Rationally

For a vast majority of students choosing good literature review topics for psychology research can be even more difficult than writing it. Indeed, making the first step in the research process is always daunting and can waste time greatly without gaining particular results from the literature review on a specific topic. Therefore, when thinking about a topic for your literature review in the psychology field you’d like to investigate, you should consider the previous works to avoid repetition and demonstrate your interest in the field.

Since there are diverse branches of psychology, you need to think about what field is more interesting to you than others and then consider literature review topic ideas. Are you interested in a literature review on topics related to health psychology, developmental, or occupational psychology? Can’t determine what topic you want to investigate in your literature review? Then our service offers you a list of topics for a literature review to choose from. Nevertheless, for your literature review, consider those topics that appeal to you most, and you have a good background in:

  • The effect of praise and reward on a person’s motivation and achievements.
  • Addiction to social media: that’s why children become aggressive and rude.
  • Frequent anxiety attacks as the first sign of a psychological disorder.
  • Gender role in modern society: is there any discrimination?
  • How to manage stress and relax in a stressful environment?
  • Sports influence human behavior and psychological state.

So, finally, you choose the literature review topics psychology offers and can move further with your investigation. Now it’s important to arrange a research paper wisely to cover the maximum possible questions by following the correct structure. Like other academic works, a good literature review on psychology should have an introduction, main part, and conclusion.

A literature review should be well-structured, logical, and cover the topic wholly. Its parts should be interconnected by preserving a single and unique idea and outlining a strong thesis statement showing your final attitude to literature review topics in education or other fields.

List of Literature Review Topics Examples That Are Worth Attention

No matter what area you deal with in your literature review: education, economics, medicine, sciences, philology, architecture, or engineering, you should define a topic for your research to create a decent review that will include all aspects that matter and cover these issues.

Numerous topics make sense to people. There are endless questions regarding each of them. So, it’s vital to define what aspects haven’t been explored yet, and you can use this opportunity to fill the gap and conduct a well-grounded investigation. Let’s have a look at some of the current literature review topics examples you can find worthy:

  • Bulimia and anorexia: are these eating disorders a consequence of psychological issues?
  • The relationship between economic prosperity and unemployment rate.
  • Applying 3D technology in modern civil engineering & construction.
  • Blood donation process: what you should know before the donation.
  • Data mining technology in boosting business processes.
  • The benefits of installing solar panels.

All in all, it’s a challenging task to select good topics for literature review, so it’ll depict the critical issues of your research and highlight the most prominent works in the chosen field. When selecting a proper topic, take into account it shouldn’t be too broad or narrow. There should be aspects that haven’t been discussed before in literature reviews.

A perfect review of the literature should interpret the existing research and explicate your own idea, so together, they create a unique cogent text. Another highly important aspect of a literature review is using authoritative sources that can back up your statements. This is an integral part of a high-quality research review because you show what contributions were made before and apply them to your critical analysis.

Literature Review Topic Examples to Build Your Work Easily

A standard review of sources consists of the same parts as an ordinary essay or a term paper: first, you introduce the chosen topic by enlisting points you’ll discuss in your work. Second, you prepare a critical assessment of the key issues, mention ways to resolve and provide your alternative to fix them, and finally, you summarize your statements with a persuasive thesis statement.

It’s necessary to say there’s no defined formula on how to build a literature review correctly. The structure of the literature review on your topic depends on the scientific area a student investigates. It also relates to the scientific aims and arguments a writer displays to support or disprove.

It’s recommended to include the following patterns to organize the literature review:

  • Chronological development of the examined topic.
  • Concepts that were used primarily to cover the gaps.
  • Key definitions that were mentioned in the research.
  • Outline the debates around the raised issue.
  • Provide statements for and against the major problem.
  • Key authors and works that focus on the topic selected.
  • Mention the methodology used to conduct research.

Remember, the most important thing about a literature review on any topic is to present your stance based on the works of reputable researchers and scientists. So, concentrate your attention on the literature that fits your viewpoints and thereby strengthen your review on the topic you’ve chosen.

Consider Good Literature Review Topics to Stand Out From the Rest

If a student hesitates about what theme to choose for their term paper, nowadays, there are lots of literature review topic examples that are worth attention. To determine what topic is more relevant to the studying field and a student’s major, they should do a detailed preliminary literature review of sources and define whether it’s enough to conduct an elaborate and robust work.

Struggling with finding literature review essay topics? Our literature review writing services will gladly help you brainstorm the most appropriate ones to get high grades and prove your competence in the specialization field. To pick a good theme and succeed in writing a literature review, it’s also important to possess specific skills that facilitate the whole writing process. Hence, it’ll be easier for students with a particular skill set to compose a reasonable and measurable review of the used literature on the topic:

  • Ability to think critically.
  • Analyze the information deeply.
  • Outline main tasks, goals, and proofs.
  • Be detail-oriented and pick up the most vital info.
  • Define key points of the research to render the core sense.

Additionally, to find good topics for a literature review, it’s possible to visit some online libraries, guides, and databases with diverse scientific works and publications that will back up your exploratory studies.

To show up against others, it’s better to pay attention to the topics that relate to the advanced technologies that can be applied in numerous areas, i.e., topics for literature review in education, medicine, business, engineering, science, etc. The IT sector is rapidly spreading throughout the entire area and facilitates better and stronger competition rates. Thus, your literature review will have success at least by choosing a highly competitive topic.

Top Literature Review Nursing Topics: Meet Demands Without a Hitch

Being one of the most expanded studying areas, a research paper on nursing requires sufficient time to build up a well-structured & thought-out paper and a consistent report of literature sources accordingly. To impress tutors and scientific supervisors, we offer you to select one of the following literature review topic examples that can relate to the next issues:

  • Cyberbullying and the tendency to commit suicide among teens.
  • Teamwork as a motivator for achieving greater results at work.
  • Parental separation: its harsh effect on a child’s mental health.
  • Meditation as a useful way to fight depression and stress.
  • Depression and its influence on working efficiency.
  • How to handle pressure and stay cool-headed?
  • Abusive relationships between teenagers.
  • Autistic children and their socialization.

It’s a well-known fact that preparing a literature review on psychology means sleepless nights for the majority of students. Choosing fitting literature review nursing topics takes lots of time and effort to arrange a paper correctly without losing the key idea. Although, selecting and writing a review of the used literature on the topic isn’t as complicated as you may think.

The biggest problem with nursing literature review topics selection is to tune in the process and analyze tens of publications and articles on the related topic. Sure, it’s impossible to read all the literature on the topic you’ve picked. You’d rather prepare a list of the most fitting topics and make notes about the major points mentioned there. By reviewing the main concepts and methods and outlining topics and outcomes, you’ll be able to formulate your final results and then compare them with the prior literature.

To conclude, selecting appropriate topics for literature review of the paper, a student should have a solid background in the chosen subfield to know where and what to search to compile a persuasive and facts-based review. The truth is that choosing a good topic is half of success, and the last thing you need to do is to write it considering the requirements for the literature review.

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15 Literature Review Examples

literature review examples, types, and definition, explained below

Literature reviews are a necessary step in a research process and often required when writing your research proposal . They involve gathering, analyzing, and evaluating existing knowledge about a topic in order to find gaps in the literature where future studies will be needed.

Ideally, once you have completed your literature review, you will be able to identify how your research project can build upon and extend existing knowledge in your area of study.

Generally, for my undergraduate research students, I recommend a narrative review, where themes can be generated in order for the students to develop sufficient understanding of the topic so they can build upon the themes using unique methods or novel research questions.

For more advanced students and scholars, literature reviews like systematic and meta-analyses may be more fitting, especially if the review is not to identify potential areas of research but to present practical and clinical recommendations based directly upon a reading of the literature.

Literature Review Examples

For the following types of literature review, I present an explanation and overview of the type, followed by links to some real-life literature reviews on the topics.

1. Narrative Review Examples

Also known as a traditional literature review, the narrative review provides a broad overview of the studies done on a particular topic.

It often includes both qualitative and quantitative studies and may cover a wide range of years.

The narrative review’s purpose is to identify commonalities, gaps, and contradictions in the literature .

I recommend to my students that they should gather their studies together, take notes on each study, then try to group them by themes that form the basis for the review (see my step-by-step instructions at the end of the article).

Example Study

Title: Communication in healthcare: a narrative review of the literature and practical recommendations

Citation: Vermeir, P., Vandijck, D., Degroote, S., Peleman, R., Verhaeghe, R., Mortier, E., … & Vogelaers, D. (2015). Communication in healthcare: a narrative review of the literature and practical recommendations. International journal of clinical practice , 69 (11), 1257-1267.

Source: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/ijcp.12686  

Overview: This narrative review analyzed themes emerging from 69 articles about communication in healthcare contexts. Five key themes were found in the literature: poor communication can lead to various negative outcomes, discontinuity of care, compromise of patient safety, patient dissatisfaction, and inefficient use of resources. After presenting the key themes, the authors recommend that practitioners need to approach healthcare communication in a more structured way, such as by ensuring there is a clear understanding of who is in charge of ensuring effective communication in clinical settings.

Other Examples

  • Burnout in United States Healthcare Professionals: A Narrative Review (Reith, 2018) – read here
  • Examining the Presence, Consequences, and Reduction of Implicit Bias in Health Care: A Narrative Review (Zestcott, Blair & Stone, 2016) – read here
  • A Narrative Review of School-Based Physical Activity for Enhancing Cognition and Learning (Mavilidi et al., 2018) – read here
  • A narrative review on burnout experienced by medical students and residents (Dyrbye & Shanafelt, 2015) – read here

2. Systematic Review Examples

This type of literature review is more structured and rigorous than a narrative review. It involves a detailed and comprehensive plan and search strategy derived from a set of specified research questions.

The key way you’d know a systematic review compared to a narrative review is in the methodology: the systematic review will likely have a very clear criteria for how the studies were collected, and clear explanations of exclusion/inclusion criteria. 

The goal is to gather the maximum amount of valid literature on the topic, filter out invalid or low-quality reviews, and minimize bias. Ideally, this will provide more reliable findings, leading to higher-quality conclusions and recommendations for further research.

You may note from the examples below that the ‘method’ sections in systematic reviews tend to be much more explicit, often noting rigid inclusion/exclusion criteria and exact keywords used in searches.

Title: The importance of food naturalness for consumers: Results of a systematic review  

Citation: Roman, S., Sánchez-Siles, L. M., & Siegrist, M. (2017). The importance of food naturalness for consumers: Results of a systematic review. Trends in food science & technology , 67 , 44-57.

Source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S092422441730122X  

Overview: This systematic review included 72 studies of food naturalness to explore trends in the literature about its importance for consumers. Keywords used in the data search included: food, naturalness, natural content, and natural ingredients. Studies were included if they examined consumers’ preference for food naturalness and contained empirical data. The authors found that the literature lacks clarity about how naturalness is defined and measured, but also found that food consumption is significantly influenced by perceived naturalness of goods.

  • A systematic review of research on online teaching and learning from 2009 to 2018 (Martin, Sun & Westine, 2020) – read here
  • Where Is Current Research on Blockchain Technology? (Yli-Huumo et al., 2016) – read here
  • Universities—industry collaboration: A systematic review (Ankrah & Al-Tabbaa, 2015) – read here
  • Internet of Things Applications: A Systematic Review (Asghari, Rahmani & Javadi, 2019) – read here

3. Meta-analysis

This is a type of systematic review that uses statistical methods to combine and summarize the results of several studies.

Due to its robust methodology, a meta-analysis is often considered the ‘gold standard’ of secondary research , as it provides a more precise estimate of a treatment effect than any individual study contributing to the pooled analysis.

Furthermore, by aggregating data from a range of studies, a meta-analysis can identify patterns, disagreements, or other interesting relationships that may have been hidden in individual studies.

This helps to enhance the generalizability of findings, making the conclusions drawn from a meta-analysis particularly powerful and informative for policy and practice.

Title: Cholesterol and Alzheimer’s Disease Risk: A Meta-Meta-Analysis

Citation: Sáiz-Vazquez, O., Puente-Martínez, A., Ubillos-Landa, S., Pacheco-Bonrostro, J., & Santabárbara, J. (2020). Cholesterol and Alzheimer’s disease risk: a meta-meta-analysis. Brain sciences, 10(6), 386.

Source: https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10060386  

O verview: This study examines the relationship between cholesterol and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Researchers conducted a systematic search of meta-analyses and reviewed several databases, collecting 100 primary studies and five meta-analyses to analyze the connection between cholesterol and Alzheimer’s disease. They find that the literature compellingly demonstrates that low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels significantly influence the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

  • The power of feedback revisited: A meta-analysis of educational feedback research (Wisniewski, Zierer & Hattie, 2020) – read here
  • How Much Does Education Improve Intelligence? A Meta-Analysis (Ritchie & Tucker-Drob, 2018) – read here
  • A meta-analysis of factors related to recycling (Geiger et al., 2019) – read here
  • Stress management interventions for police officers and recruits (Patterson, Chung & Swan, 2014) – read here

Other Types of Reviews

  • Scoping Review: This type of review is used to map the key concepts underpinning a research area and the main sources and types of evidence available. It can be undertaken as stand-alone projects in their own right, or as a precursor to a systematic review.
  • Rapid Review: This type of review accelerates the systematic review process in order to produce information in a timely manner. This is achieved by simplifying or omitting stages of the systematic review process.
  • Integrative Review: This review method is more inclusive than others, allowing for the simultaneous inclusion of experimental and non-experimental research. The goal is to more comprehensively understand a particular phenomenon.
  • Critical Review: This is similar to a narrative review but requires a robust understanding of both the subject and the existing literature. In a critical review, the reviewer not only summarizes the existing literature, but also evaluates its strengths and weaknesses. This is common in the social sciences and humanities .
  • State-of-the-Art Review: This considers the current level of advancement in a field or topic and makes recommendations for future research directions. This type of review is common in technological and scientific fields but can be applied to any discipline.

How to Write a Narrative Review (Tips for Undergrad Students)

Most undergraduate students conducting a capstone research project will be writing narrative reviews. Below is a five-step process for conducting a simple review of the literature for your project.

  • Search for Relevant Literature: Use scholarly databases related to your field of study, provided by your university library, along with appropriate search terms to identify key scholarly articles that have been published on your topic.
  • Evaluate and Select Sources: Filter the source list by selecting studies that are directly relevant and of sufficient quality, considering factors like credibility , objectivity, accuracy, and validity.
  • Analyze and Synthesize: Review each source and summarize the main arguments  in one paragraph (or more, for postgrad). Keep these summaries in a table.
  • Identify Themes: With all studies summarized, group studies that share common themes, such as studies that have similar findings or methodologies.
  • Write the Review: Write your review based upon the themes or subtopics you have identified. Give a thorough overview of each theme, integrating source data, and conclude with a summary of the current state of knowledge then suggestions for future research based upon your evaluation of what is lacking in the literature.

Literature reviews don’t have to be as scary as they seem. Yes, they are difficult and require a strong degree of comprehension of academic studies. But it can be feasibly done through following a structured approach to data collection and analysis. With my undergraduate research students (who tend to conduct small-scale qualitative studies ), I encourage them to conduct a narrative literature review whereby they can identify key themes in the literature. Within each theme, students can critique key studies and their strengths and limitations , in order to get a lay of the land and come to a point where they can identify ways to contribute new insights to the existing academic conversation on their topic.

Ankrah, S., & Omar, A. T. (2015). Universities–industry collaboration: A systematic review. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 31(3), 387-408.

Asghari, P., Rahmani, A. M., & Javadi, H. H. S. (2019). Internet of Things applications: A systematic review. Computer Networks , 148 , 241-261.

Dyrbye, L., & Shanafelt, T. (2016). A narrative review on burnout experienced by medical students and residents. Medical education , 50 (1), 132-149.

Geiger, J. L., Steg, L., Van Der Werff, E., & Ünal, A. B. (2019). A meta-analysis of factors related to recycling. Journal of environmental psychology , 64 , 78-97.

Martin, F., Sun, T., & Westine, C. D. (2020). A systematic review of research on online teaching and learning from 2009 to 2018. Computers & education , 159 , 104009.

Mavilidi, M. F., Ruiter, M., Schmidt, M., Okely, A. D., Loyens, S., Chandler, P., & Paas, F. (2018). A narrative review of school-based physical activity for enhancing cognition and learning: The importance of relevancy and integration. Frontiers in psychology , 2079.

Patterson, G. T., Chung, I. W., & Swan, P. W. (2014). Stress management interventions for police officers and recruits: A meta-analysis. Journal of experimental criminology , 10 , 487-513.

Reith, T. P. (2018). Burnout in United States healthcare professionals: a narrative review. Cureus , 10 (12).

Ritchie, S. J., & Tucker-Drob, E. M. (2018). How much does education improve intelligence? A meta-analysis. Psychological science , 29 (8), 1358-1369.

Roman, S., Sánchez-Siles, L. M., & Siegrist, M. (2017). The importance of food naturalness for consumers: Results of a systematic review. Trends in food science & technology , 67 , 44-57.

Sáiz-Vazquez, O., Puente-Martínez, A., Ubillos-Landa, S., Pacheco-Bonrostro, J., & Santabárbara, J. (2020). Cholesterol and Alzheimer’s disease risk: a meta-meta-analysis. Brain sciences, 10(6), 386.

Vermeir, P., Vandijck, D., Degroote, S., Peleman, R., Verhaeghe, R., Mortier, E., … & Vogelaers, D. (2015). Communication in healthcare: a narrative review of the literature and practical recommendations. International journal of clinical practice , 69 (11), 1257-1267.

Wisniewski, B., Zierer, K., & Hattie, J. (2020). The power of feedback revisited: A meta-analysis of educational feedback research. Frontiers in Psychology , 10 , 3087.

Yli-Huumo, J., Ko, D., Choi, S., Park, S., & Smolander, K. (2016). Where is current research on blockchain technology?—a systematic review. PloS one , 11 (10), e0163477.

Zestcott, C. A., Blair, I. V., & Stone, J. (2016). Examining the presence, consequences, and reduction of implicit bias in health care: a narrative review. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations , 19 (4), 528-542


Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 10 Critical Theory Examples
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  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 71 Best Education Dissertation Topic Ideas
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 11 Primary Data Examples

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Literature Review Guide: Examples of Literature Reviews

  • What is a Literature Review?
  • How to start?
  • Search strategies and Databases
  • Examples of Literature Reviews
  • How to organise the review
  • Library summary
  • Emerald Infographic

All good quality journal articles will include a small Literature Review after the Introduction paragraph.  It may not be called a Literature Review but gives you an idea of how one is created in miniature.

Sample Literature Reviews as part of a articles or Theses

  • Building Customer Loyalty: A Customer Experience Based Approach in a Tourism Context
  • Sample Literature Review on Critical Thinking (Gwendolyn Reece, American University Library)
  • Hackett, G and Melia, D . The hotel as the holiday/stay destination:trends and innovations. Presented at TRIC Conference, Belfast, Ireland- June 2012 and EuroCHRIE Conference

Links to sample Literature Reviews from other libraries

  • Sample literature reviews from University of West Florida

Standalone Literature Reviews

  • Attitudes towards the Disability in Ireland
  • Martin, A., O'Connor-Fenelon, M. and Lyons, R. (2010). Non-verbal communication between nurses and people with an intellectual disability: A review of the literature. Journal of Intellectual Diabilities, 14(4), 303-314.

Irish Theses

  • Phillips, Martin (2015) European airline performance: a data envelopment analysis with extrapolations based on model outputs. Master of Business Studies thesis, Dublin City University.
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November 16, 2023

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  • How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates

How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates

Published on January 2, 2023 by Shona McCombes . Revised on September 11, 2023.

What is a literature review? A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources on a specific topic. It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research that you can later apply to your paper, thesis, or dissertation topic .

There are five key steps to writing a literature review:

  • Search for relevant literature
  • Evaluate sources
  • Identify themes, debates, and gaps
  • Outline the structure
  • Write your literature review

A good literature review doesn’t just summarize sources—it analyzes, synthesizes , and critically evaluates to give a clear picture of the state of knowledge on the subject.

Table of contents

What is the purpose of a literature review, examples of literature reviews, step 1 – search for relevant literature, step 2 – evaluate and select sources, step 3 – identify themes, debates, and gaps, step 4 – outline your literature review’s structure, step 5 – write your literature review, free lecture slides, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions, introduction.

  • Quick Run-through
  • Step 1 & 2

When you write a thesis , dissertation , or research paper , you will likely have to conduct a literature review to situate your research within existing knowledge. The literature review gives you a chance to:

  • Demonstrate your familiarity with the topic and its scholarly context
  • Develop a theoretical framework and methodology for your research
  • Position your work in relation to other researchers and theorists
  • Show how your research addresses a gap or contributes to a debate
  • Evaluate the current state of research and demonstrate your knowledge of the scholarly debates around your topic.

Writing literature reviews is a particularly important skill if you want to apply for graduate school or pursue a career in research. We’ve written a step-by-step guide that you can follow below.

Literature review guide

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Writing literature reviews can be quite challenging! A good starting point could be to look at some examples, depending on what kind of literature review you’d like to write.

  • Example literature review #1: “Why Do People Migrate? A Review of the Theoretical Literature” ( Theoretical literature review about the development of economic migration theory from the 1950s to today.)
  • Example literature review #2: “Literature review as a research methodology: An overview and guidelines” ( Methodological literature review about interdisciplinary knowledge acquisition and production.)
  • Example literature review #3: “The Use of Technology in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Thematic literature review about the effects of technology on language acquisition.)
  • Example literature review #4: “Learners’ Listening Comprehension Difficulties in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Chronological literature review about how the concept of listening skills has changed over time.)

You can also check out our templates with literature review examples and sample outlines at the links below.

Download Word doc Download Google doc

Before you begin searching for literature, you need a clearly defined topic .

If you are writing the literature review section of a dissertation or research paper, you will search for literature related to your research problem and questions .

Make a list of keywords

Start by creating a list of keywords related to your research question. Include each of the key concepts or variables you’re interested in, and list any synonyms and related terms. You can add to this list as you discover new keywords in the process of your literature search.

  • Social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok
  • Body image, self-perception, self-esteem, mental health
  • Generation Z, teenagers, adolescents, youth

Search for relevant sources

Use your keywords to begin searching for sources. Some useful databases to search for journals and articles include:

  • Your university’s library catalogue
  • Google Scholar
  • Project Muse (humanities and social sciences)
  • Medline (life sciences and biomedicine)
  • EconLit (economics)
  • Inspec (physics, engineering and computer science)

You can also use boolean operators to help narrow down your search.

Make sure to read the abstract to find out whether an article is relevant to your question. When you find a useful book or article, you can check the bibliography to find other relevant sources.

You likely won’t be able to read absolutely everything that has been written on your topic, so it will be necessary to evaluate which sources are most relevant to your research question.

For each publication, ask yourself:

  • What question or problem is the author addressing?
  • What are the key concepts and how are they defined?
  • What are the key theories, models, and methods?
  • Does the research use established frameworks or take an innovative approach?
  • What are the results and conclusions of the study?
  • How does the publication relate to other literature in the field? Does it confirm, add to, or challenge established knowledge?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the research?

Make sure the sources you use are credible , and make sure you read any landmark studies and major theories in your field of research.

You can use our template to summarize and evaluate sources you’re thinking about using. Click on either button below to download.

Take notes and cite your sources

As you read, you should also begin the writing process. Take notes that you can later incorporate into the text of your literature review.

It is important to keep track of your sources with citations to avoid plagiarism . It can be helpful to make an annotated bibliography , where you compile full citation information and write a paragraph of summary and analysis for each source. This helps you remember what you read and saves time later in the process.

To begin organizing your literature review’s argument and structure, be sure you understand the connections and relationships between the sources you’ve read. Based on your reading and notes, you can look for:

  • Trends and patterns (in theory, method or results): do certain approaches become more or less popular over time?
  • Themes: what questions or concepts recur across the literature?
  • Debates, conflicts and contradictions: where do sources disagree?
  • Pivotal publications: are there any influential theories or studies that changed the direction of the field?
  • Gaps: what is missing from the literature? Are there weaknesses that need to be addressed?

This step will help you work out the structure of your literature review and (if applicable) show how your own research will contribute to existing knowledge.

  • Most research has focused on young women.
  • There is an increasing interest in the visual aspects of social media.
  • But there is still a lack of robust research on highly visual platforms like Instagram and Snapchat—this is a gap that you could address in your own research.

There are various approaches to organizing the body of a literature review. Depending on the length of your literature review, you can combine several of these strategies (for example, your overall structure might be thematic, but each theme is discussed chronologically).


The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time. However, if you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order.

Try to analyze patterns, turning points and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred.

If you have found some recurring central themes, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic.

For example, if you are reviewing literature about inequalities in migrant health outcomes, key themes might include healthcare policy, language barriers, cultural attitudes, legal status, and economic access.


If you draw your sources from different disciplines or fields that use a variety of research methods , you might want to compare the results and conclusions that emerge from different approaches. For example:

  • Look at what results have emerged in qualitative versus quantitative research
  • Discuss how the topic has been approached by empirical versus theoretical scholarship
  • Divide the literature into sociological, historical, and cultural sources


A literature review is often the foundation for a theoretical framework . You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts.

You might argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach, or combine various theoretical concepts to create a framework for your research.

Like any other academic text , your literature review should have an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion . What you include in each depends on the objective of your literature review.

The introduction should clearly establish the focus and purpose of the literature review.

Depending on the length of your literature review, you might want to divide the body into subsections. You can use a subheading for each theme, time period, or methodological approach.

As you write, you can follow these tips:

  • Summarize and synthesize: give an overview of the main points of each source and combine them into a coherent whole
  • Analyze and interpret: don’t just paraphrase other researchers — add your own interpretations where possible, discussing the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole
  • Critically evaluate: mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources
  • Write in well-structured paragraphs: use transition words and topic sentences to draw connections, comparisons and contrasts

In the conclusion, you should summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance.

When you’ve finished writing and revising your literature review, don’t forget to proofread thoroughly before submitting. Not a language expert? Check out Scribbr’s professional proofreading services !

This article has been adapted into lecture slides that you can use to teach your students about writing a literature review.

Scribbr slides are free to use, customize, and distribute for educational purposes.

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If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility


  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources (such as books, journal articles, and theses) related to a specific topic or research question .

It is often written as part of a thesis, dissertation , or research paper , in order to situate your work in relation to existing knowledge.

There are several reasons to conduct a literature review at the beginning of a research project:

  • To familiarize yourself with the current state of knowledge on your topic
  • To ensure that you’re not just repeating what others have already done
  • To identify gaps in knowledge and unresolved problems that your research can address
  • To develop your theoretical framework and methodology
  • To provide an overview of the key findings and debates on the topic

Writing the literature review shows your reader how your work relates to existing research and what new insights it will contribute.

The literature review usually comes near the beginning of your thesis or dissertation . After the introduction , it grounds your research in a scholarly field and leads directly to your theoretical framework or methodology .

A literature review is a survey of credible sources on a topic, often used in dissertations , theses, and research papers . Literature reviews give an overview of knowledge on a subject, helping you identify relevant theories and methods, as well as gaps in existing research. Literature reviews are set up similarly to other  academic texts , with an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion .

An  annotated bibliography is a list of  source references that has a short description (called an annotation ) for each of the sources. It is often assigned as part of the research process for a  paper .  

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