Here are the main steps to follow when writing a literature review for a thesis or research paper:
Search for relevant literature - Conduct a thorough search of the existing literature in your area of research. Use databases, search engines, journals, conferences papers, etc to identify the existing knowledge base.
Review and analyze the literature - Carefully read through the literature you have collected and evaluate each source. Assess the strengths and weaknesses, methodologies, findings, and conclusions. Take detailed notes.
Organize the literature into themes - Look for common ideas, concepts, methodologies, debates, gaps and disagreements emerging across the literature and organize the sources into coherent categories or themes.
Synthesize the literature - Write an overview that describes, analyzes, integrates, and synthesizes the main themes or categories you identified. Highlight important findings, gaps in knowledge, conflicts in perspective or methodology.
Develop a theoretical framework - Outline the key theories, concepts, models, definitions, and assumptions that will guide your own research. Show how your study builds on and relates to previous research.
Write the review - Craft a well-organized review that summarizes, evaluates, and links the existing literature to your research purposes and questions. Ensure to properly introduce, cite, and reference all sources.
The goal is to show familiarity with the body of knowledge and provide a firm grounding for the methods and significance of your own study. Update as needed to reflect new developments.