Peer review process

Examples of Subheadings for Literature Review

Writing a literature review and choosing the correct subheading for it might be tricky. To answer the question of what a literature review is, a literature review could actively delve into critical works on a specific topic instead of surveying scholarly sources like a passive observer.

While it presents important and relevant research, it goes beyond mere listing. It acts as a bridge, guiding the reader through the field’s current understanding and ongoing debates.

Now you understand why choosing the proper subheadings for the literature review matters this much. Since it is a common problematic area, we brought some examples of subheadings for the literature review.

I hope all is useful.

How do you choose the proper subheadings for your literature review?

To know how to structure an organized literature review, the first item you must pay attention to is writing the most suitable subheadings.

You’re researching “The impact of social media on mental health” (your RRL). You might categorize sources under themes like “Anxiety and depression,” “Addiction and overuse,” and “Positive effects and potential solutions.” Each subheading would then explore sources related to its specific theme.

Now, how can you write them? If you first know the common errors and then look at some examples, you will get the whole idea of writing the subheadings for your paper. Let’s check the mistakes you should avoid when preparing subheadings for the literature review.

Examples of Subheadings for Literature Review
Examples of Subheadings for Literature Review

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Subheadings for Literature Review

All writers should follow the most essential tips while writing subheadings. And we guarantee you that you can improve this ability as much as needed after knowing them.

Tips 1: Be straightforward and avoid adding any vague points in your subheadings:

  • Obscure: “Previous research”
  • Specific: “Studies on the impact of X on Y.”

Tip 2: Make all your statements specific so the reader knows what is going on in each subheading and avoid generalization:

  • General: “Methodology critiques”
  • Clear: “Limitations of quantitative approaches in X research”

Tip 3: be more Analytical than Expressive

  • Descriptive: “Articles on…”
  • Analytical: “Competing perspectives on…”

Other tips that can be mentioned are:

  1. Avoid mixing question-based, statement-based, and phrase-based headings, as they can lead to inconsistent structure.
  2. Make sure that subheadings logically progress through the section’s argument.
  3. Do not use repeating keywords unnecessarily across subheadings.
  4. Try to use clear and concise language understandable to your target audience.
  5. Keep subheadings short and to the point. (Ideally under 20 words)
  6. Subheadings accurately reflect the content they cover and contribute to the overall review’s focus.

Finally, it would help if you used a consistent style guide (e.g., APA, MLA) for formatting. Let’s examine some examples of literature review subheadings to clarify this transparency.

Examples of Subheadings for Literature Review on Specific Topics

As you know, the article consists of different parts, each with subheadings. In the following part, we are going through some examples of subheadings you can get inspired by and write in other sections of your literature review.

Subheading Examples for Different Sections of Literature Review:

·        Subheadings For Background Section of Literature Review

  • Traditional approach: “Historical overview of research on X,” “Key concepts and definitions in X field.”
  • Thematic approach: “Unravelling the complexities of X: Major themes in existing research,” “Competing perspectives on the causes of Y.”

·        Subheadings For Methodology Section of Literature Review

  • General: “Data collection methods and instrumentation,” “Data analysis procedures and statistical tests.”
  • Specific: “Addressing potential biases in data collection for Y research,” “Evaluating the effectiveness of intervention Z through randomized controlled trials.”

·        Subheadings For Results Section of Literature Review:

  • General: “Descriptive statistics and patterns in the data,” “Analysis of quantitative and qualitative results.”
  • Thematic: “Comparisons across groups in study Y,” “Quantitative outcomes and their implications for Z.”

·        Subheadings For Discussion Section of Literature Review

  • General: “Interpreting the findings in the context of existing literature,” “Strengths and limitations of the study,” “Implications for future research.”
  • Thematic: “Reconciling contrasting findings: Exploring competing explanations for X,” “Connecting the study’s results to broader themes in Y research,” “Addressing unanswered questions and potential avenues for future investigation.”

·        Subheadings For Conclusion Section of Literature Review:

  • General: “Summary of key findings and contributions,” “Remaining questions and areas for further research,” “Implications for policy and practice.”
  • Thematic: “A call to action: Addressing the challenges of X through the lens of Y,” “The enduring complexities of Z: A concluding perspective,” “Reimagining the future of X research: A thematic roadmap.”

These examples and hints can guide you in writing your subheadings more conveniently.

Read More: Paper Rejected Without Review


In this article, you can find some of the best and most used examples of literature review subheadings, which can significantly help in conducting your research papers.

We also added some of the dos and don’ts while choosing subheadings for the literature review and provided some tips to act smoothly when selecting a subheading.

If you want further assistance, please comment below so we can help you.

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Hi, my name is Mohammad, and I am currently pursuing my PhD at Istanbul Yildiz University. I have always been deeply passionate about research and academic writing, and this has led me to publish several articles in esteemed journals. Writing has always been my way of expressing my thoughts and ideas, and I take great joy in sharing my experiences and knowledge with others. Being a PhD candidate has allowed me to further explore my interests in the field of research and contribute to the academic community. I am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead, and I look forward to continuing my journey in this fascinating field.

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