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Literature Review Chapter Template

If you’re preparing to write your literature review, our free literature review chapter template is the perfect starting point. In it, we cover each section of the literature review chapter step by step, along with plain-language explanations and examples.

Download: Literature Review Template

What’s Included In The Literature Review Template

This template is structure is based on the tried and trusted best-practice format for formal academic research projects such as dissertations and theses. The template includes the following sections:

  • Before you start – essential groundwork to ensure you’re ready
  • The introduction section
  • The core/body section
  • The conclusion/summary
  • Extra free resources

Each section is explained in plain, straightforward language, followed by an overview of the key elements that you need to cover. We’ve also included practical examples to help you understand exactly what’s required in each section.

The cleanly-formatted Word document is fully editable, so you can use it as-is for your dissertation or thesis, copy over the contents to a fresh document, or convert it to LaTeX.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What format is the literature review template (DOC, PDF, PPT, etc.)?

The template is provided in a fully editable MS Word document (.DOCX). You’re welcome to convert it to whatever format works best for you, such as LaTeX or PDF.

What types of literature reviews can this template be used for?

The template follows the standard format for academic literature reviews, which means it will be suitable for the vast majority of academic research projects (especially those within the sciences), whether they are qualitative or quantitative in terms of design.

Keep in mind that the exact requirements for the literature review chapter will vary between universities and degree programs. These are typically minor, but it’s always a good idea to double-check your university’s requirements before you finalize your structure.

Is this template for an undergrad, Master or PhD-level thesis?

This template can be used for a literature review at any level of study. Doctoral-level projects typically require the literature review to be more extensive/comprehensive, but the structure will typically remain the same.

What structural style does this literature review template use?

The template assumes a thematic structure (as opposed to a chronological or methodological structure), as this is the most common approach. However, this is only one dimension of the template, so it will still be useful if you are adopting a different structure.

Does this template include the Excel literature catalog?

No, that is a separate template, which you can download for free here. This template is for the write-up of the actual literature review chapter, whereas the catalog is for use during the literature sourcing and sorting phase.

How long should the literature review chapter be?

This depends on your university’s specific requirements, so it’s best to check with them. As a general ballpark, literature reviews for Masters-level projects are usually 2,000 – 3,000 words in length, while Doctoral-level projects can reach multiples of this.

Can I share this literature review template with my friends/colleagues? 

Yes, you’re welcome to share this template in its original format (no editing allowed). If you want to post about it on your blog or social media, all we ask is that you reference this page as your source.

Can Grad Coach help me with my literature review?

Yes, you’re welcome to get in touch with us to discuss our private coaching services, where we can help you work through the literature review chapter (and any other chapters).

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