First and above all, one who hopes to learn how to write a literature review must read the target work of literature thoroughly at least once but preferably two or three times. This familiarity with the text will help one write about it with an authoritative voice.
Second, one should make notes about the strengths and weaknesses of the work of literature. Students who are learning how to write literature reviews may begin this analysis by asking a few questions, which will depend largely on the type of literature at hand. If the work is nonfiction, students should ask questions such as why they agree or disagree with a certain premise or whether the writer of the text used the research accurately. If the work is fiction, students should ask questions such as whether the writer's style contributes positively or negatively to the overall reading experience and whether the work is unique or innovative in any way.
A research literature review is a summary and critique of a work of literature that reports the research of a given field. Students who are working on thesis projects may need to write several formal or informal research literature reviews in the course of determining whose work is the most integral and informative to the subject at hand.
Students who are writing research literature reviews should begin by selecting works of research that will make the greatest contribution to their thesis projects or other academic edification. Students may choose such a work of literature by browsing the recent publications of the primary publishers in the field, or they may zero in on a certain work due to its mention in several other sources.
Once a student has located a source to review, he or she should read it carefully as many times as the project schedule reasonably permits. If the student only has time to read the work once, he or she should read very carefully and take copious notes. If the student has time to read the work several times, he or she should read it quickly first and then comb through it more carefully in subsequent readings.
In writing a research literature review, the student should offer a brief, fair summary of the work. The summary portion of research literature reviews must be fastidiously accurate, because the review intends to represent the work justly and critique it based on that representation; if the review writer misrepresents the work, the readers will consider the review completely invalid.
Then the review writer should present a fair critique of the work of literature. He or she should be careful to ascertain through further research that any apparent flaws in the work are actual flaws. While composing the critique, the writer should be careful to remain unemotional and authoritative, offering praises and criticisms in a reserved, academic tone.