Literature Review Outline

Literature Review Outline

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We share ideas to build consensus and generate action points. But where do our ideas come from? In our times, knowledge is managed mainly in written form. Hence, when we want to acquire ideas, we refer to the written word. But how do we form new ideas and communicate them effectively?

So we read other people’s work, create new ideas from them, and present them to our audiences. The literature review essay is one important way of communicating new ideas. This kind of essay has the advantage of showing your audience how current and extend our knowledge is and collectively moves to a new idea. The collecting together of the diverse minds has been achieved through structures and forms like the APA literature review outline. In this article, we’ll create a sample following the APA literature review outline and learn more about how we can use it to elicit understanding in our audiences.

Read on for more on how to write literature review outline.

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Preparing For a Literature Review

The first thing in all circumstances is to know who you are. Then how this identity is connected to other people helps to come up with the problem or issue we may want to address. So we are empathic thinkers, to begin with. We are aware of the things happening around us.

Awareness of what is happening around us translates easily into an opportunity to be investigators of pertinent issues and it’s now only a matter of acquiring the right tools and techniques that can be deployed to make our work more fruitful and effective. This is the main aspect of preparation that this article intends to facilitate in the reader.

Audience as Source of the Sample of the Review

We interact with people and organizations and we become aware of common topics, disciplines, ideologies and the like. That when it comes to research, we confine ourselves to the interests of the society we serve. One may need to ask a few audiences related questions:

  • Who is my audience? This could be about locating people in hierarchies and interest groups

  • What are some of the critical issues affecting them? A good place would be finding a database of events and publications that are given attention

  • How do you know that these are the critical issues affecting them? Try posing questions around among the members and also try to verify the reality of what you are told

  • Why do you want to intervene and create a solution? How the culture of the group appreciates knowledge changes and innovation is an important matter to consider. One could also consider the cost-benefit implications of the task at hand

  • What questions do you want to be answered? Issues regarding framing and resource prioritization should be considered as important when identifying areas for research and development.

Sources for Your Audience

Once you’ve answered these questions and probably more of your own, and found that in fact, it’s important to engage the audience you can now look at the sources that your audience would deem as credible. Then:

  • Make good use of search engines to find references with relevant information to the issue(s) at hand

  • Check out what the library has on the queries that you may have

  • Find out if your investigation part of ongoing work. If it is then:

  • Get acquainted with previous research by members of the target audience

  • Try and engage some of the members who’ve participated in the previous research and find out what they think about your concerns

  • Find out how the topic you intend to broach will affect the working of the whole group

  • What scenario(s) are likely to happen if you share the ideas and get the backing of the society?

  • Or if it’s about a new subject get to know how the audience would receive and perceive it.

  • Know how extensive your research needs to go in order to keep your audience’s support.

Representing the Survey of the Sources for the Sample Literature Review

You are now ready to start reading and recording any relevant information from the pool of resources that you gathered. The APA literature review outline specifies how references need to be made. It’s therefore important that one is acquainted with the conventions at the relevant websites.

As you read, look out for the following:

  • Any common ideas that is recurring

  • Emergent categories

  • What is the quality of the references? Is the information relevant and unbiased?

  • Determine if you are moving towards a methodological or chronological review of ideas

Discovery of Themes

  • The ideal method to follow now is to develop themes from the categories that you’ve established. Using index cards you can now write down references and their paraphrases, and arrange them according to the categories.

  • From the index cards arranged according to categories, derive the relevant themes

  • Compile the list of themes and derive how they are connected

  • Once you derive the connection then it is possible to answer the initial problem statement

  • Therefore you can now derive a thesis statement that can be justified in an APA literature review outline compliant essay.

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Presenting the Findings in Your Sample Literature Review Essay

Now you have 3 important components: you have the support and clarity of your audience, you know what the thesis of your argument is, and you have the evidence to back your ideas up. All that is remaining is to share what you have to the audience.

As we’ve noted, the best convention to follow in this case is the APA literature review model and our literature review outline example will follow this type of literature review outline. The convention is mostly related to the allusion of references. In this case, references are to follow the sequence of Name of the writer, Year of publication, Country- state of the publisher, Name of publisher.

The sample literature review essay will be made up of three parts like other kinds of essays. It has 3 main divisions:

  • The introduction

  • The main presentation

  • The conclusion


Here’s where one identifies the matter to be dealt with, describes the importance of the review and the investigations preceding it. One also presents the thesis at this point and introduces the main themes that will be dealt with in the main presentation.

Main Body

The main presentation entails introducing the themes that you discovered in a sequence and linking them to form one whole argument that supports the thesis.

To do this then one needs to arrive at the main points through induction by studying the references related to a theme. This generalization is then stated at the beginning of a paragraph and the evidence supporting it from the references is then written to support the main idea in the argument.

After the evidence has been presented, we follow up with a fusion of the concepts and ideas presented by the evidence to arrive at a conclusion. This is done through deductive logic.

Counter-arguments are then noted after the synthetic conclusion above and finally, each paragraph is ended with a statement that advances the idea in the paragraph best.

Each paragraph is then linked to each other successive paragraph in the same manner till in the end there’s one cogent and well-considered argument that has been presented.

The Conclusion of the Sample APA Literature Review Essay

Once the main argument has been properly derived and presented, it is time to conclude the essay. The important thing to do here is to present a summary of the personal findings that you’ve derived from the reading and ultimately the entire work process.

State what you are led to conclude from the findings and tie any loose ends. Then complete the essay by showing the probable next steps that may need to be taken.

Things to Remember For Your Audience

It’s always important to think about your thinking and critique it for the sake of your audience. What are some of the important questions that have arisen in the course of your following of the sample literature review outline?

Look back and check how persuasive your argument has been, and how the quality of the evidence is regarding the matter at hand.

Finally, consider the kind of language style that you have used in the paper. Is it reported? How is the grammar, have you used more passive statements than is necessary? How about the diction; does it fit in with the target audience?

It’s also good to think about some of the action points that may be demanded by your conclusions and whether progress in the next steps of your work may be hindered by the implications of your conclusions capture all this in your outline for literature review.

Summarizing the APA literature Review Outline

This article has been about how the researcher is supposed to prepare and write a sample APA literature review with the aim of first and foremost considering the needs of his/her respective audience. It is a description of how the literature review is also an integral part of the sociology of knowledge and how it facilitates optimal communication of ideas. We hope that going through the processes and methods you will be able to create your own outline easily and conveniently.

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