An introduction describing the three or four main themes in the literature. Most students miss this part, they provide summaries of what the literature is saying, but if you look at an area of research, there are usually three or four themes or ideas that permeate throughout the various journal articles, scholarly papers, important news articles. What are they? You should organize your literature review around these themes.
An overview of past, original research regarding the research topic. Mention one or two old articles that lay the foundations of the body of knowledge for your research question if appropriate, but focus on the latest findings.
Point out who the most important researchers are in the field who have ‘set the bar’ for similar research questions as yours.
An update on the most current research being conducted. What is the current thinking?
Where do different researchers agree? Where do they disagree? Do not write a literature review that just says: “Researcher Dr. A says intelligence is messed up. Researcher Dr. B also says intelligence is messed up. Researcher Dr. C. says intelligence is just sort of messed up…” Blah, blah, blah. That’s boring. Talk about SPECIFICS and where they do agree. “As both Dr. A and Dr. B agree, all intelligence professionals like to wear purple shoes, but Dr. C has shown that blue suede shoes are the new thing.”
And… this is huge…where are the gaps in the literature? What isn’t being said in the research that should be? Usually, your research question will fill one of those gaps or at least add to it…