Writing Literature Reviews in APA Format

Literature reviews are writing assignments that investigate the research conducted on a particular topic. It summarizes what scientific literature has to say about your particular topic. APA format helps us to organize the references in a standardized form. As such, it is most commonly used while writing literature reviews. Knowledge of writing literature reviews in APA format is very essential, especially for students. Students are often assigned the task of writing literature reviews to get them prepared before they take on primary research assignments. Generally, writing literature reviews in APA format is considered to be a complex process. However, you must remember that though writing it might be a complicated task, it is easy for the reader to understand. A few useful tips for writing literature reviews in APA format are discussed below.

Tips for Writing Literature Reviews in APA Format

  • As far as possible, avoid using direct quotes. You can summarize the basic idea in your own words, and give proper author citation for it. In case you have to use a direct quotation, enclose the quoted text in quotation marks, and provide the author name, year of publication, and page number in parentheses.
  • Mention the most fundamental studies first. In other words, the most recent studies should be mentioned at last. In that way, the studies will be listed in a sequence. Therefore, the reader can easily understand the research conducted on a particular topic and what conclusions were put forth. Reading about a research and knowing how and why it leads to another research helps you to get a clear understanding of a particular topic.
  • Based on your topic, try to include as many relevant references in your literature review as possible. That will help in preventing repetitive research. If some significant studies are omitted, readers might assume that research has not been conducted in that particular area and might take up the same. There is no point in people conducting the same type of research again and again. It is just a waste of time and effort.
  • Avoid citing secondary sources as far as possible. It is always advisable to go through the original source yourself and decide whether it is relevant enough to be cited in your literature review.
  • While presenting the sources, make it a point to evaluate them in the context of the topic. Present comparisons, point out flaws or loopholes that help in deciding the course of future research.

These are just a few general tips. For knowing more about the technical specifications of writing literature reviews in APA format, you can refer the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition.


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