How Long Is a Literature Review? (Quick Answer!)

February 9, 2023

how long is a literature review explained

Once you know how to write a literature review from scratch, you can confidently work on the introduction, the main body, and the conclusion. But how long is a literature review? 

How long a literature review is depends on purpose and audience. It can be 20 pages or more for a dissertation but shorter for regular assignments. Whether you write 4 or 20 pages, ensure you stick to the standard structure to score top grades.  

Key Takeaways 

  • A literature review for a thesis must not be more than 20% of the project’s length.
  • If you’re writing a 100 to 150 pages dissertation, you can make the review 40 to 60 pages long. 
  • An 8-page research paper should have a literature review of no more than 2 pages long.
  • For a 5,000-word journal article, the literature review section should be 1,200 to 2,000 words long.
  • A 25-page capstone project should have 5 to 6 pages literature review.

How Long is a Literature Review? (Understanding the Ideal Length)

The length of a literature review depends on the audience, purpose, and a student’s level of education. 

The literature review written by an undergraduate student is shorter unlike the review written by a PhD student. It gets even shorter for an essay – if your instructor ever ask you to include one.

Ideally, the average length of a literature review should be between 20 and 40 percent of the entire project.

For example, if your professor asks you to write a 10,000 words dissertation, 2,000 words of the total word count will be the literature review.

Literature Review Writing Help

The literature review chapter requires research, analysis, and synthesis. Given the depth of research involved and the structuring and writing process, it can take a while to get the work done.

If you have a few days left to complete the review but you have other more demanding assignments, take advantage of our literature review assignment help and one of our top writers will help you get the work done.

How Long Should a Thesis Literature Review Be?

A thesis is a research assignment written by undergraduates and postgraduates. Its length vary depending on the level of study.

A thesis written by Masters’ degree and Doctorate students is 60 to 100 pages long and the one written by Bachelor’s degree students is between 40 and 60 pages long.

The literature review for a project of this nature is at least 8 pages long or at most 20% of the overall word count of the project.

For example, if you’re writing a 40-page thesis, your literature review should be at least 8 pages. If your instructor states that you make your thesis 60 pages long, the literature review should be at most 12 pages. 

How Many Pages Should Journal Articles’ Literature Review Be?

Journal articles are not only shorter than books, but they’re also very specific in context because they focus on specific topics.

Because experts write them throughout the year, journal articles can present case studies, original research, methodologies, and short reports on specific areas or review articles.

The average length for journal articles is 5,000 words. As such, expect the length of the literature review to be at least 2 pages – or just a few more pages depending on how many words you write.

For example, a 5000-word journal article should have a literature review of no more than 2,000 words.

How Long is a Literature Review for a Capstone Project? 

Often written as part of a college or university course in the final year of middle or high school, a capstone project is an assignment that summaries a student’s experience.

The project requires students to select a topic, create a proposal, conduct research, and write the paper.

On average, a capstone project is 20 to 25 pages. While you can make the assignment longer, it should be no more than 45 pages.

How long the literature review section of the capstone project should be depends on the length of the assignment and/or the instructions issued by a teacher. For a 25-page capstone project, about 5 to 6 pages of literature review should be enough. 

What’s the Literature Review Length for Research Paper?

In a research paper, you argue a point by analyzing a perspective based on an individual perception. The assignment takes some time to complete because it requires both research and analytical skills.

A research can be long or short depending on the area of study. Shorter papers tend to be between 5 and 8 pages long, meaning you do have to go straight to the point in your writing, as you don’t have room for more words.

Because a research paper requires a closer examination of existing studies before the methodology chapter, it has to have a literature review.

The literature review for a research paper varies in length based on the nature of the assignment. For example, if your instructor asks you to write an 8-page research paper, you should have a 2-page literature review for the assignment.  

How Long is a Literature Review for a Dissertation?

A dissertation is a project completed as part of a postgraduate degree. Student have to present their findings on their area of study in a dissertation defense.

The length of the literature review for this assignment depends on the field of study, the topic selected, and the type of analysis required.

A dissertation is a 150 to 300 pages long project. The review for a project this big should be between 40 and 60 pages.

There is some flexibility here, so you don’t have to panic if your work doesn’t hit the 60-page target.

Final Thoughts

The takeaway from this post is that the length of a literature review depends on the type of project, the length of the project, and the level of study.

Also, it’s important to read the assignment brief provided by your instructor, as it helps to steer you in the right direction as you write the review.

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

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