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How To Write A Thematic Literature Review: A Step By Step Guide

Literature review is the critical evaluation of a particular study. There are different types of the data analysis technique. One of the types is a thematic literature review. This data analysis technique is a qualitative study. In the field of research, it is used very frequently. As per its importance, this article aims to discuss about a guide for thematic literature review.

What is Thematic Literature Review?

In research work, the first step is to select a topic for discussion. Once you come up with a topic, a research question is your next target. After that, you have to collect all the data that is relevant to your research. The existing data of research is termed as literature. You have to review the literature critically. The purpose of critical evaluation is the analysis of data. Thematic literature review is a data analysis technique. In thematic literature review, a theme is generated from existing literature. You can generate a theme from the study and findings of the research. For example, a topic of research is:

  • Transformational leadership: Beyond initiation and consideration

From study and findings of this topic, the inferred theme is ‘Transformational Leadership’.

Another topic of research is:

  • Understanding urban mobility patterns with a probabilistic tensor factorisation framework

Form study and findings of this topic, the inferred theme is ‘Urban Mobility Patterns’

For thematic literature review, you need to make it clear in your mind what is more important and which one is least. The primary concern of thematic review is the topic or issue of discussion. On the other hand, the least important aspect is of time progression. Some researchers take the progression of time as an unimportant aspect. They should correct that, it is less important if compared with a theme of study. It does not mean you can neglect it, but it has its own importance. Hiring a dissertation writing service can be helpful to solve all of such issues.

How do you write a Thematic Literature Review Step By Step?

The steps of writing thematic literature review are very simple. Each step needs high focus. Once you get the main objective of each step, it becomes easy to manage everything. So, the following are the steps to write a thematic literature review:

  • Conduct relevant research studies and Literature review
  • Data collection
  • Analysis

Let’s discuss these steps briefly.

Conduct Relevant Research Studies and Literature Review 

The very first step is to conduct relevant research studies and literature reviews. This step is based on two things. So, it is better to keep these two aspects differently. Start with research studies. In research studies, you have to come up with case studies. Furthermore, it includes articles relevant to your topic of discussion. The purpose of research studies is to determine the behaviour and function of the study.

On the other hand, a literature review is all about journals and research papers. A literature review is the most authentic way to conduct research. At this point, the most important thing is to go for credible writers and sites. You have to spend time in finding credible sites for journals and literature reviews of credible writers. The time you spend on these finding saves your efforts.

Data Collection 

The second step in thematic literature review is about data collection. All the data is collected through secondary means. The secondary source of data is not only journals, but it includes many more sources. By having information from all of the secondary sources, it becomes easy to collect the most relevant data in a short time. For example, you are collecting data from journals only, and you are unable to collect relevant data. In this case, if you do not go for another way, you would have to face wastage of time. So, let’s have a look at other sources of data collection. It includes the following ways;

  • Authentic Websites
  • Books
  • Newspaper
  • Documents
  • Journals
  • Organisation
  • Research Articles
  • Record Available

Data collection includes additional information. There are two types of additional information is added in the thematic literature review. You have to focus on both of information. It helps you get the best end results. A little extra effort benefits you in an amazing way. So, following are the two additional pieces of information;

Inclusion of Data: In this additional information, you need to focus on keywords, year and language. By continuing the last example, you can understand it very well. The topic is ‘Transformational leadership: beyond initiation and consideration’. Here,

Keywords: transformation, leadership, positive changes, leadership styles, the behaviour of a leader

Year: 2018- onward

Language: English

If you are a student, you can ask your advisor for information related to the inclusion of data. There can be a difference in year range and languages based on the demands of research.

Exclusion of Data: It includes all information that should not be present in your work. All of the keywords, year and language other than inclusion are taken as exclusion.


The analysis of thematic literature review is based on the themes of study. From the literature review and research studies, you have to identify the themes. After the identification of the theme, you have to code the data. You can better understand it with the help of a table.

Sr. noLiterature Review and Research StudiesCodesTheme
1Transformational leadership: beyond initiation and considerationtransformation, leadership, positive changes, leadership styles, behaviour of a leader  Transformational leadership
2Understanding urban mobility patterns with a probabilistic tensor factorisation framework  High-dimensional mobility, urban dynamics, patterns, probabilistic tensor, factorisation, framework of studyUrban mobility patterns
3Psychology: a study of a sciencePsychology, effect of Psychology, different stages of study, empirical natural science Psychology

So, you can see that the analysis of thematic literature review is very easy. You just need to have the right guidance.  

Final Thoughts 

If you understand the steps to conduct a thematic literature review, you can end up with effective and accurate results. It is the easiest data analysis technique. You can complete thematic literature review in a limited time if you have command on it. 

Eleena Wills
Hi, I’m Eleena Wills. Being a writer and blogger, I strive to provide informative and valuable articles to people. With quality, constructive, and well-researched articles, one can make informed choices. I cover a wide range of topics, from home improvement to hair styling and automotive.


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