A standard literature review for your research work, thesis or dissertation should be made up of the following:


Theoretical Review/Framework

Conceptual Review/Framework

Empirical Review of Literature


Note: The structure may differ considering various formats of some higher institutions. However, a well written literature review should be made up of these components that are listed above.


A short and straight to the point introduction in your literature review will allow readers to be acquainted with all what the chapter is made up of. Not only that, it will also bring you good grades. The introduction for your literature review segment should be brief and it should emphasize all the items to be discussed. Preferably, it should be about one standard page but not more than that.


‘’ This chapter contains the review of literatures that are related to the concerned variables in this study on the effect of building materials cost on private developers housing delivery in Lagos State. It majorly dwelt on the conceptual review of the related variables in this study. Meaning of building material, concepts of building materials cost, causes and effects of high cost of building on private developers housing delivery, examples of building materials, housing need and delivery in Nigeria will be reviewed within the conceptual framework.’’

Theoretical Review/Framework

This part of literature review is very essential and should be incorporated in order to score good grades in your research project. To ensure good performance in your research project, good study is needed here in order to write appropriate contents here. Student researchers are required to bring up theories relevant to their study. These theories must therefore constitute the basis on which your study is built upon. For better understanding, if a student is writing on the relationship between violent cartoon and antisocial behaviour in children; the Social learning theory,       Information processing theory,  Cognitive developmental theory etc., should be included and reviewed here.

Conceptual Framework

One other compulsory part of the Literature Review is the conceptual review/framework. The conceptual framework includes all terminologies/concepts connected with the variables in the research. For higher degree programmes like the Masters and PhD, conceptual framework is presented with smart art in form of a diagram or a figure revealing how the different variables interrelate in a manner that the identified research problem can easily be solved.

As explained above, a conceptual review should describe all the variable that are present in the research. For instance, considering a topic “effects of advertising on consumer patronage” two main words stand out,

Advertising                                     Independent variable

Consumer patronage                  Dependent variables

Explaining with the independent variable (Advertising), a standard conceptual framework will include sub-variables in the form of sub-headings such as:

Types of advertising

Forms of advertising

Categorization of advertising

Platform of advertising etc.

This should also be repeated for the dependent variables

Empirical Review

What has other researchers done relating to your study?

What researches already carried has relationship to your work?

Curious knowing how to go about this? Ok! …this is where you write them out.

The empirical review of literature section is mainly where you bring into the fore previous research and studies carried out in your field of research or studies. It could be a similar study or exact previous study on your research area. The empirical review will includes the outcomes and recommendations on the subject area probably in Malaysia, America, Lagos, Ekiti, Oshogbo, China etc. This empirical evidence is brought in logically by proper documentation of the researcher’s name, year of study, sample population/location, sample size, finding as well as recommendations. The researcher is further meant to provide a personal critical observation about the study. For instance, the comprehensiveness, adequacy of the study and identifiable shortcomings in the study etc. Good observations about the study should also be brought up. The student researcher is expected to describe how the present study will cover up these research gaps that has been identified.


‘’ Adekoya (2011) carried out a study with the major aim of demonstrating the impact of advertising on the sales and profit of a business organization taking Starcomms Plc as a case. At the completion of this study, the impact of advertising at Starcomms was clearly defined and it should have become a continuous practice for Starcomms. The results revealed a significant relationship between advertising and sales volume in the organization. The researcher is however of the critical opinion that the study should have incorporated interview in the methods for collecting qualitative data. This would improve the adequacy of the outcomes’’


This part describes the various content of the chapter. It further showcases your view on various related literatures reviewed in the chapter. This section should also contain the gaps identified in the research work, your view on empirical and theoretical facts should be established.

Sources of material for the literature review section

  1. For conceptual review, student researchers can get quality information from textbooks; research journals and the Internet (e.g. search engines like and bing, also helpful research site like
  2. For empirical review and theoretical framework, it is very important to read research journals. Published research journal will offer a solid groundwork to get the needed reliable facts that relates to your study. The methodology, findings and recommendation section of a research journal will enable the student to create good critical empirical framework for his/her study.

Examples of research journal sites are:





Important Tips:

All headings, sub-headings, diagrams and tables should be neatly arranged in logical format.

Copy and paste from the journal published, textbook, internet, etc must be reduced.

Journal, text books, magazines, etc used in developing contents for the literature review should be related to your study

Literature review must be linked or connected to the variables present in the research.

References must not be too old, preferably references should not be more than a decade (i.e. 2007). This should be arranged according to the specified/requires styles i.e Harvard style, APA style, etc.


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