Books on How to Write a Literature Review

Books on how to write a literature review

In this post, I share with you a collection of some good books on how to write a literature review. These books cover various topics related to the writing and publication of literature reviews including: systematic review methodology, searching grey literature, APA style guidelines, and more.

Whether you are new or experienced in writing literature reviews, these resources can help guide your work so that it is thorough and effective. If you are new to the concept of literature review and are wondering what it is all about, check out my post What is a Literature Review to learn more.

1.  Published: a guide to literature review, outlining, experimenting, visualization, writing, editing, and peer review for your first scientific journal article, by Thomas Deetjen

Published: a guide to literature review

“Are you feeling frustrated with your research? While many books teach only individual research skills, Published provides the breadth to guide you through your research journey from start to finish. This book organizes the research process into seven clear phases. And it walks you through each phase with step-by-step instruction. Published offers the clarity, direction, and encouragement you need to drive your project all the way to publication.”

2. Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Research Imagination, by Chris Hart

Doing a Literature Review

“The ultimate guide to the “what,” “how,” and “why” of literature reviewing, the Second Edition of the classic text shows how the literature review will unlock the full potential of one′s research with:

  • A thorough exploration of the literature review process from start to finish
  • Two brand new chapters explaining the different types of review and evidence and evaluation
  • Extended examples that show you how to apply key techniques and procedures
  • A new “core skills” framework to help you turn your research experience into employability
  • A critical thinking focus that will help you construct convincing arguments and improve your research decisions 

In combining a critical, philosophical approach with an expertly selected body of practical examples, the Second Edition of Chris Hart′s landmark text provides both the intellectual understanding and the technical skills required to produce sophisticated, robust literature reviews of the very highest standard.”

3. Doing a Systematic Review: A Student’s Guide, by Angela Boland (Editor), Gemma Cherry (Editor), Rumona Dickson (Editor)

Doing a Systematic Review

“Written in a friendly, accessible style by an expert team of authors with years of experience in both conducting and supervising systematic reviews, this is the perfect guide to using systematic review methodology in a research project. It provides clear answers to all review-related questions, including:

  • How do I formulate an appropriate review question?
  • What’s the best way to manage my review?
  • How do I develop my search strategy?
  • How do I get started with data extraction?
  • How do I assess the quality of a study?
  • How can I analyse and synthesize my data?
  • How should I write up the discussion and conclusion sections of my dissertation or thesis?”

4. An Introduction to Systematic Reviews, by David Gough  (Editor), Sandy Oliver (Editor), James Thomas (Editor)

An Introduction to Systematic Reviews

“Focused on actively using systematic review as method, An Introduction to Systematic Reviews provides clear, step-by-step advice on the logic and processes of systematic reviewing.

Stressing the importance of precision and accuracy, this practical text carefully balances a need for insightful theory with real-world pragmatism. The Second Edition features a new chapter on statistical synthesis and introduces a wide range of cutting-edge approaches to research synthesis, including text mining, living reviews, and new ideas in mixed methods reviews, such as qualitative comparative analysis.

Packed with examples from across the social sciences, this book helps students and researchers alike in turning systematic reviews into recommendations for policy and practice.”

5. Introduction to Meta-Analysis, by Michael Borenstein, Larry V. Hedges, Julian P. T. Higgins, Hannah R. Rothstein 

Introduction to Meta-Analysis

“Written by four of the world’s foremost authorities on all aspects of meta-analysis, the new edition:

  • Outlines the role of meta-analysis in the research process
  • Shows how to compute effects sizes and treatment effects
  • Explains the fixed-effect and random-effects models for synthesizing data
  • Demonstrates how to assess and interpret variation in effect size across studies
  • Explains how to avoid common mistakes in meta-analysis
  • Discusses controversies in meta-analysis

Includes access to a companion website containing videos, spreadsheets, data files, free software for prediction intervals, and step-by-step instructions for performing analyses using Comprehensive Meta-Analysis (CMA)”

6. Systematic Approaches to a Successful Literature Review, by Andrew Booth, Anthea Sutton, Mark Clowes, Marrissa Martyn-St James

Systematic Approaches to a Successful Literature Review

“Whether you are new to literature reviews or working with new types of data, this book takes the guesswork out of writing your literature review. From deciding how much literature to include to managing your data, assessing your sources, and writing results, it outlines a step-by-step process that works with any data.

To help you choose best approach for your research, this book includes:

  • Worksheets and decision aids to help you plan and organise your literature review
  • Worked examples and case studies to show you what – and what not – to do in practice
  • Troubleshooting tips and answers to all your frequently asked questions
  • Online access to a literature review starter template, an exercise workbook, project diary template, and a source credibility checklist.

The perfect project support for any social sciences student, this edition also includes a new chapter on analysing mixed methods research.”

7. Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper, by Arlene G. Fink

Conducting Research Literature Reviews

“Providing readers with an accessible, in-depth look at how to synthesize research literature, Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper is perfect for students, researchers, marketers, planners, and policymakers who design and manage public and private agencies, conduct research studies, and prepare strategic plans and grant proposals. Bestselling author Arlene Fink shows readers how to explain the need for and significance of research, as well as how to explain a study’s findings.  

Offering a step-by-step approach to conducting literature reviews, the Fifth Edition features new research, examples, and references from the social, behavioral, and health sciences, expanded coverage of qualitative research, updated and revised meta-analysis procedures, a brand new glossary of key terms, double the number of exercises, and additional examples of how to write reviews.”

8. Systematic Reviews in Educational Research: Methodology, Perspectives and Application, by Olaf Zawacki-Richter (Editor), Michael Kerres (Editor), Svenja Bedenlier (Editor), Melissa Bond (Editor), Katja Buntins (Editor) 

Systematic Reviews in Educational Research

“In this open access edited volume, international researchers of the field describe and discuss the systematic review method in its application to research in education. Alongside fundamental methodical considerations, reflections and practice examples are included and provide an introduction and overview on systematic reviews in education research.”

9. Searching the Grey Literature: A Handbook for Searching Reports, Working Papers, and Other Unpublished Research, by Sarah Bonato

Searching the Grey Literature

“Searching the Grey Literature is for librarians interested in learning more about grey literature. If you have ever been asked for a grey literature search but didn’t know where to start, this book will help you craft your search successfully. If you are an expert searcher but find that your library patrons are unfamiliar with the vast body of grey literature, this book may be a useful teaching aid.

Those that are both new arrivals and established professionals in the field of librarianship will learn much about grey literature from reading this book, and hopefully acquire new search skills and knowledge. Although a wide range of different types of librarians or information professionals may find the content of this book useful, those working in the areas of health or social science will benefit the most from the book’s content.”

10. Publication Manual (OFFICIAL) 7th Edition of the American Psychological Association, by American Psychological Association

Publication Manual (OFFICIAL) 7th Edition of the American Psychological Association

“the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition is the style manual of choice for writers, researchers, editors, students, and educators in the social and behavioral sciences, natural sciences, nursing, communications, education, business, engineering, and other fields.

Known for its authoritative, easy-to-use reference and citation system, the Publication Manual also offers guidance on choosing the headings, tables, figures, language, and tone that will result in powerful, concise, and elegant scholarly communication. It guides users through the scholarly writing process—from the ethics of authorship to reporting research through publication. The seventh edition is an indispensable resource for students and professionals to achieve excellence in writing and make an impact with their work.”

11. The Literature Review: Six Steps to Success, by Lawrence A. Machi, Brenda T. McEvoy

The Literature Review

“This pioneering book has provided countless graduate students and researchers with a road map to a quality literature review. Using its six-step model, you’ll narrow your research topic, focus your literature search, negotiate the myriad of books, periodicals, and reports about your topic―and, of course, write the review. The fourth edition features:

  • New and improved graphics ideal for visualizing the process
  • More explanations and tips, especially for writing in the early stages
  • An expanded range of learning tools
  • Additional reflection sections to direct metacognitive activities
  • Four new reference supplements”