Review of Related Literature with Example

Review of related literature example for research paper should give an idea about a close examination of scholarly results on a particular topic.  It portrays an overview of the present knowledge, giving you a chance to identify relevant methods, gaps and theories in the current research.

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On writing a literature review you need to find the relevant publications like journal articles and books.  You need to analyze them deeply and explain all the findings.  Here are 5 major steps:

1. Search for literature that has relevance

2. Evaluate the source

3. Identify debates, gaps and themes

4. Outline the layout

5. Write the review

A well-done literature review of related literature sample for research paper not only summarizes sources but also synthesizes, critically analyzes and evaluates to present a good picture of the knowledge of the subject.

Below is a review of related literature example for research paper conducted by one of our review experts.

This sample systematic literature review discusses the prevalence and economic impacts associated with major road accidents in a Middle Eastern country.

Review of Related Literature Example

Motor vehicles are the main means of transportation in Saudi Arabia within and between major cities. According to Ménoret (2014), over 6 million vehicles are operating on the roads across the country. Most of these cars operate in large cities such as Riyadh. The presence of many vehicles in cities means that cities are likely to report more road crashes and hence a related demand for emergency trauma care in Riyadh. The Ministry of Health SA has shown that patients who are suffering from road traffic trauma or illnesses related to the road accidents occupy approximately 20% of all hospitals. Further, over 80% of deaths in emergency care hospitals have been attributed to RTIs (Ménoret, 2014). Unfortunately, over the past 10 years alone, nearly 611,000 injuries and 86,000 deaths have been reported in Saudi Arabia. Seven percent of all the injuries often result in permanent disabilities (Mansuri, Alz-zalabani, Zalat, & Qabshawi, 2015).

Cities are known to have heavy road traffic, and therefore, urban centers are likely to report more road accidents than other region (Perez, 2007). A study established by Garcia-Altes and Perez (2007) to assess the economic cost associated with road traffic injuries in an urban setting compared the economic burdens of RTIs for different countries. The study considered the economic impacts of RTIs in terms of lost productivity or the total healthcare needed to manage the epidemic. Findings of the study revealed that about 2% of the GDP in high-income countries, one and a half percent for middle-income countries, and 1% of the GPD in low-income countries would be spent on the treatment and management of RTIs. In Portugal, the economic burden of RTIs was approximately €7347 per injury, €119 174 per injury in Sweden, €105 546 per death in the Netherlands, and an outrageous €2 160 000 in the United States. The authors indicated that there are no estimated costs of road traffic injuries in any major city and this is missing despite the knowledge that over 50% of all road traffic crashes occur in urban areas. The researchers concluded that possessing such information for cities would be the most effective strategy in reducing the economic impact of RTIs.

Sargazi et al. (2016) conducted a single-center study in Southern Iran to investigate the economic burden of road traffic accident in the country. The cross-sectional study was conducted for a period of 12 months between from 2012 to 2013. The study involved all the road traffic injury patients admitted to the emergency care hospital during the period. The study recorded all the hospital’s direct expenses recorded the data on medical as well as the accountant registration information. During the period, 1,115 emergency care patients with traumatic injuries were admitted. Their mean age was 36.7 years old, and 58.3% were males. Eventually, the researchers calculated economic burden of road traffic injuries in that single hospital to be US$589,448.49. The amount accounted for roughly 10.4% of the hospital’s total expenditure. According to the analysis by the researchers, the cost for that single health facility was 130 times more than the country’s gross national income per capita. In other terms, the study reported that the cost of treating a single road traffic injury patient was 15 times more than the amount spent on treating another average patient being treated in another section of the hospital. Therefore, given the high number of road traffic accidents in the region, there was a need for immediate control and prevention of road traffic injuries since the impact of such injuries presents enormous economic burdens.

A major health condition that is often largely associated with road accidents is the traumatic head injury. Alali et al. (2015) conducted a review and analysis to investigate the economic cost of evaluating and diagnosis traumatic brain injuries. The aim of the study was to find out the optimal strategies that can be used to diagnose and manage traumatic head injuries, which most studies have commonly considered to have substantial economic burdens. According to the review, 24 studies involving economic evaluations and nine discussing cos-utility suggested that the cost of conducting medical procedures such as computed tomography scanning and hiring qualified professionals for the best treatment of traumatic brain injury increased the cost of trauma care. Therefore, Alali et al. (2015) suggested in their conclusion-increased demand for head trauma injuries is pushing the demand for economically attractive strategies to manage the public health concern. Similar findings have been reported by Collie et al. (2010); Humphreys, Wood, Phillips, and Macey (2013); and Kayani et al. (2009).

Road traffic injuries also pose psychological costs, especially traumatic brain injury.

Humphreys, Wood, Phillips, and Macey (2013) conducted a review of studies conducted between 2010 and 2012. The researchers queried major databases for information pertaining to the economic costs of road traffic-related head injuries and included all studies that discussed cost-effectiveness analysis. The findings revealed that the nature of trauma care where patients tend to require a long time to recover has negative economic and psychological impacts. Nonetheless, the review acknowledged that little research has been conducted and published on the economic burdens of road-accident related traumatic brain injuries pose to patients, their families, careers and even the society in general. Because of the limited literary evidence indicating the economic burdens of road traffic injuries, Humphreys, Wood, Phillips, and Macey (2013) concluded that there is need to conduct further research to investigate the economic costs of traumatic brain injury as a means of developing health policies that can influence care.

With the knowledge of epidemiology and disease burden, the researchers hoped to influence healthcare policies that would help prevent most road-related brain trauma injuries (Duan et al., 2015). Scholten et al. (2014) designed a study to investigate the incidence, economic costs, and Disability-Adjusted Life Years of traumatic brain injury caused by road accidents in the Netherlands. The study was conducted between 2010 and 2012. Both direct healthcare costs and indirect costs of the traumatic conditions were calculated. The prevalence and costs burdens associated with road traffic trauma care were stratified by the participants’ age and gender. Results of the study revealed that Netherlands spends approximately USD 433.8 million annually on traumatic brain injury care alone. The other interesting finding is that the economic burden of the public health issue was relatively low among people aged between 20 and 65 years but caring for this category of patients had the highest economic cost. The indirect cost of trauma care was highest in patients aged above 65 years old. Therefore, the researchers concluded that assessment of incidence and economic burdens of the disease would be important for detecting main risk groups and eventually leading to the development of effective road traffic trauma prevention programs. Kavosi, Jafari, Hatam, and Enaami (2015) also made the same conclusion.

Road traffic accidents are also the leading cause spinal cord injuries (Chen, Tang, Vogel, & DeVivo, 2013). Saudi Arabia registers the largest number of spinal cord injuries not only in the entire Arabian Peninsula (Robert & Zamzami, 2013) but also the whole world. Traumatic spinal cord injury is a complex injury that requires expensive equipment and highly trained surgeons to manage. The demand for advanced medical equipment and more well-trained surgeons to manage the spinal cord injuries presents a serious economic burden. A systematic review by Robert and Zamzanmi (2013) reported that a patient with spinal cord injuries could take from a few days to few weeks to recover. Long hospital stay often contributes extensively to an increase in direct cost of care. Emergency and trauma care centers utilize many medical resources to improve their patients’ conditions and ensure they return to their normal lives. With such information, it may be easy to notice that national interventions that prevent or reduce road traffic trauma would be relieving economic burdens to the healthcare of the country too (Redelmeier & Tien, 2013).

Saudi Arabia is still a developing country. Increased incidences of road traffic injuries and deaths may potentially have massive impacts on the country’s healthcare too (Rezaei, Arab, Karami Matin, & Akbari Sari, 2014). Wesson et al. (2013) performed a review to investigate the cost of road traffic injury and trauma care in both low- and middle-income countries. Their review of economic evidence revealed that the extent of the burden caused by road traffic injuries in low- and middle-income countries is too big and unsustainable for these countries’ healthcare systems. The economic evaluations by the researchers showed that the cost of injuries varied in different countries but ranged between USD 14,000 – US $17,400. Nonetheless, the authors claimed that there is a noticeable lack of evidence to support the accurate economic costs associated with road traffic injuries hence the need for further research. Jagnoor et al. (2015) illustrated the inadequacy of literature needed to estimate the economic impacts.

Ghimire et al. (2012) indicated that the economic burdens of road traffic injuries are usually not experienced in the healthcare alone. After discharge from hospitals, patients who have suffered from road traffic injuries require long-term post-discharge rehabilitation.  Families are often largely responsible for post-discharge rehabilitation. Alam and Mahal (2016) conducted a study to investigate the economic impacts of RTIs on families in South Asia. A total of five Asian countries were considered for the study, and they included India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. The data was collected between 2002 and 2003. The researchers examined the impact of RTIs on each household involved for health spending, non-medical consumption, as well as the employment status of these traffic injury affected participants. The analysis of the findings showed that households spent significantly ‘catastrophic amounts’ on RTIs per person on drugs and hospital bills. However, non-medical expenditures for such households were low.

Behnood, Haddadi, Sirous, Ainy, and Rezaei (2016) also conducted a study to find out medical cost estimates as well as economic burdens of RTIs in Iran. The main concerns for the researchers were medical bills, lost output by patients, and indirect costs of such traumatic accidents. The findings of this 2011 study found the cost of RTIs to be roughly US $4.44 billion in that year representing approximately 2.18% of the nation’s GDP. According to the researchers, the cost related only to the country’s health sector and components such as motor vehicle damage, lost time, police services and insurance administrative costs were not included. Therefore, the researchers agreed that the economic burdens of road traffic trauma injuries should be treated as a significant health issue by any country’s health policymakers and medical planners.

This point marks the end of review of related literature example.

These sample provided here is strictly for guideline and is not meant for submission as own’s work.

Reason for writing a literature review with examples

When you do a research paper, thesis or dissertation, you have to do it in such a way that your research is within the current knowledge.  The review gives you an opportunity to:

1. Show you are familiar with the scholarly content and topic. This will ensure that review of related literature does not show the writer to be irrelevant.

2. Develop a methodology and theoretical structure for the research

3. Familiarize yourself with other theorists and researchers

4. Demonstrate how your analysis contributes to a topic

You might have to do your literature review in a self-contained assignment style.  Here, the aim is to evaluate the present state of study and show how your knowhow of scholarly discussions surrounding a topic.

An example literature review would be on the significance of technology in political systems. Using this example means that the sources being reviewed have to relate to political science and how technology affects governance.

The process of directing a literature review for research paper takes the same steps though the content looks a little different in every case.

Step 1: Search for relevant literature

Before you start seeking for literature, you require a completely defined topic.

If you are doing a literature review part of research paper or dissertation, you have to seek for literature relevant to your research questions and problems.

If your literature review is a self-contained assignment, select a focus and create a central question to manage your search. The question will have to be answerable without picking the initial data. A question in a dissertation research paper is different. This question needs to be answered based just on a review of current publications

Make a List of keywords

Begin by making a table of keywords relevant to your study question. These keywords, also called search terms are related to the review topic.

For example, if the review of literature is about head injury, a related search term would be head trauma.

Include every key variables and concepts that you are interested in and put down every synonyms and relevant terms. In case you discover other new keywords while doing your literature search, you may add them.

Other example related terms that can be applied in a literature review include the following:

(i) Body image, self-perception, self-esteem

(ii) Obesity, overweight, metabolic disorder, obese, body mass index

The best way to find related search terms is to use NCBI MeSH tool. It provides all keywords relevant to a topic you’re search literature about.

Search for relevant related sources

Make use of your keywords to start searching for references. Some helpful databases to seek for articles and journals are:

Your university’ or college library catalogue


Google Scholar



Project Muse



You may also use Boolean operators to assist narrow down your findings, and to get sources that have many keywords, or to get sources that have one type of synonyms.

Go through the abstract to see if an article is related to the question. Once you get a useful article or book, read the bibliography to get more related sources.

In order to note the most crucial publications for your topic, identify the recurring citations. If similar books, articles or authors keep coming up in your reading, ensure that you remove them.

Step 2: Evaluate and choose sources

You might be unable to read everything that is written on the search, therefore, evaluate the sources that are more related to the questions.

We have a review of related literature example here with sources provided in in-text citation. We have withheld the references but they can be obtained upon your request for free.

(a) For every publication, find out the following:

(b) The problem or question the author is pointing at

(c) The main concepts and the way they are defined

(d) The main theories, methods and models. Is the research using established frameworks or is it taking an innovative strategy

(e) The outcomes and conclusions of the research

(f) The relationship between the publication and other literature in the market

(g) The contribution that the publication brings to the comprehension of the topic

(h) The weaknesses and strengths of the study

Ensure that the sources are reliable, and read every landmark studies and key theories in your area of research.  On Google Scholar you may get the number of times a paper has been mentioned.  If the paper has been mentioned many times it means that it is influential and should be comprehended in your review.

The effectiveness of your literature review will be determined by your discipline and topic: in the sciences you normally review just recent literature, but it might take a longer historical angle in the humanities, for example, to find out how a theory has modified in meaning with time.

Cite your references and take notes.  You may as well start the writing process as you read.  Write notes that you may incorporate later into your literature review.

It is crucial to keep a check on your references with citations in order to evade plagiarism.  Make an annotated bibliography, where you compose complete citation information and inscribe a paragraph of analysis and a summary for every source. This makes you save time in the process and reminds you of what you read.

Step 3: Identify debates, gaps and themes

The purpose of the review of related literature example we provided was to identify knowledge gap in the identified country. To start managing your arguments and structure for your literature review, you need to know the relationships and connections between references you have read. Based upon your notes and reading, you may seek for:

(i) Trends and patterns: do particular moves become less or more famous with time?

(ii) Themes: what ideas, problems or questions happen again in literature?

(iii) Conflicts, debates and contradictions: where do these references disagree?

(iv) Pivotal publications: are there researches or influential theories that diverted the direction of this subject?

(v) Gaps: what is not present in this literature? Any issues to be pointed out?

Step 4: Outline your layout for the review of related literature

There are several ways of creating the content of your literature review. Before you begin writing, have a rough concept of your strategy.


The easiest approach is to track the growth of the topic from the start. However, in this strategy evade simply summarizing and listing references in order.

Try to probe patterns, highlights and key elements that have molded the direction of industry. Give your suggestions on why and how particular developments happened.


If any recurring main themes are found, arrange your review into subdivisions that point out different issues of the topic

For instance, if your literature review is on inequalities in migrant health results, major themes might involve health care policy, legal status, economic access, language barriers and cultural attitudes.


If you get your references from various disciplines or areas that use several research methods, you might need to compare the end results that come from various approaches. 

For example, look at the outcome of quantitative versus qualitative research. Debate on the topic’s approach by the theoretical versus empirical scholarship

Split the literature into cultural, sociological and historical sources.


A literature review is the obvious principle for a theory framework. You may use it to debate on different models, theories and descriptions of core concepts.

You may disagree about a relevant theoretical approach, or list several theoretical ideas to form a foundation for your research paper.

Step 5: Write your review

In the review of related literature example we provided, there is an introduction that we did not include here.

Your literature review should include: an intro, a body and a conclusion. What you will have in every theme depends on the goal of your review.

(a) Introduction: This should clearly show the points and reasons of the review.

(b) Body: You may use subheadings for every theme, methodological approach or time frame.

(c) Conclusion: Summarize the major findings you got from the literature and highlight their importance.

Remember to revise and proofread your literature review before you submit it!

Final Remarks

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