Similar to primary research, development of the literature review requires four stages:
Problem formulation—which topic or field is being examined and what are its component issues?
Literature search—finding materials relevant to the subject being explored.
Data evaluation—determining which literature makes a significant contribution to the understanding of the topic.
Analysis and interpretation—discussing the findings and conclusions of pertinent literature.
How is a lit review organized?
Broad Issues & Background
Begin by establishing context, or background, for the argument explored in the rest of the paper. Convey to your reader what knowledge and ideas have been established on a topic.
Theme/s of Your Research
Next, narrow the focus: Discuss literature that aligns with the specific focus of your paper. Give an overview of literature that relates to the theme/s of your research.
Spend the most time discussing the sources which are most directly relevant to your research. This lets the reader see what came before, and how you will contribute to the field by moving research forward.
Reid, M., Taylor, A., Turner, J., & Shahabudin, K. (n.d.). Undertaking a literature review. Retrieved from: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/studyadvice/StudyResources/Essays/sta-undertakinglitreview.aspx
Reid, M., Taylor, A., Turner, J., & Shahabudin, K. (n.d.). Developing your literature review. Retrieved from: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/studyadvice/StudyResources/Essays/sta-developinglitreview.aspx
The Writing Center, University of Wisconsin - Madison. (2012, July 2). Learn how to write a review of literature. In UW-Madison writer's handbook (Common writing assignments). Retrieved from: http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/ReviewofLiterature.html