How long should a Literature Review be?

Review means how you look back on something in the past and how the evaluation has taken and examined it.  As literature and giving the review should have proper knowledge about the topic it was in the past and how it is in present. Through literature review, the writer tries to show what is the difference between ideas in the past and new ideas. What are the areas, gaps, or weaknesses that need to be examined in the past study of that field? It basically reflects the findings of different writers related to your topic and is a part of your thesis, dissertation, etc. But while writing it is extremely important that you must take care of the length of the literature review.

Quick Takeaways

  • A literature review is a look over the study or the field you are studying literature. 
  • The length of the literature review depends upon the type of your writing. 
  • Generally, 20-40% of the total length of your writing is the literature review. 

However, you must read till the end so that you get a clear idea about what is a literature review and what is the right length of literature review.

How long should a Literature Review be?

What is a Literature Review?

A literature review is a look over the study or the field you are studying literature. It is the overview of the studied, argued, and the establishment of the topic before and present. The review is written in an essay format. It is not a review that includes the sources list that you have found to use in your research paper (annotated bibliography) rather it is related to the group work done together and discussed which is not focusing on one item at a time it covers all the topic and the development from the past to present research.

The literature review is the evaluation of the precious and current research, thesis, or term paper of the literature in a particular field of study. If you are a person who wants to involve humor in your paper, you can always choose to write a comic research paper.

How long should a Literature Review be?

The length of the literature review overall is considered to be between 20% to 40% of the total project that is being studied further. The dependency of the audience and the reason for the research is being reviewed. The length of the literature review is measured by both the level of study and the length of the paper. If the content in the review is more the longer will be the review and if the content written is less the lesser will the literature review. You may need to write a mini-literature review for your paper. The optimal length of literature review based on different projects:

1. Optimal literature length for thesis:

The literature review length for a thesis includes the personal research of the student doing undergraduate and postgraduate. The pages of the thesis vary. A student with a bachelor’s degree should have pages between 40 to 60 and a student with a master’s degree should have pages between 60 to 100.

How long should a Literature Review be?

The optimal length of the review depends on the length of the pages of the thesis by 20%. But a minimum of 8 pages are required to be in the literature review. For example, a thesis with 40 pages must have a length review of 8 pages. The thesis with 50 pages must have a review length of 10 pages and the thesis with 70 pages must have a review length of 14 pages. It contains or covers the whole chapter. You must try to use online platforms like to get the required knowledge.

2. Optimal literature review length for the dissertation:

A dissertation literature review is reviewed by the student completed as a part of a postgraduate and undergraduate degree. The review allows the researcher to present their research on the area that they are interested in and have chosen by themselves. Length varies on various factors like a field of study, discipline, type of analysis, and area of research. The review length of the thesis at least should be 40-60 pages. No specific optimal lengths are set for the dissertation literature review. It will also depend on the number of words required.

Preparation to be done for the thesis review:

  • Absorbing completely the area of the study will help you to explore and choose the right approach to the study 
  • By focusing on the area of study that has not been researched. Finding the different area gaps will make content more effective.
  • By organizing the notes and not mixing the ideas of different sections you have found.
  • Create an outline of the review, and write in paragraphs using the methodology.

3. Optimal literature review length for research paper:

The literature review length should be at least consist of 25% of the length of the research paper which too depends on the area of the study. If the research paper length is longer the longer will be the literature review and the shorter the research paper will have a shorter review. The length of it also depends upon the number of paragraphs in it. For writing a literature review for a research paper one should organize the research, form the thesis of the paper, create an outline of the review then write the research paper. The research paper should be rechecked before submission.

How long should a Literature Review be?

4. Optimal literature review length for capstone paper:

A capstone paper literature review is written by a student of higher education that writes to summarize the experience. For writing the capstone paper resume, think of the topic you want to write, create a capstone project proposal, gather all the information required for the review, then write the review.

The average length of the capstone paper is up to 20-25 pages and the review length of the capstone paper is set by the instruction given by the faculty. For example, the length of the capstone paper is 20-25 pages, and the review should be 5-6 pages. The submission of the capstone paper is done to the capstone adviser so that if correction is needed it is done before further proceeding.


A literature review is done on precious and present research. The area of gaps is considered to be filled by the literature review. The review length varies from topic to topic of the area to be studied. the longer the area of the studied paper the longer will the review length and the shorter the paper of study the shorter will be the literature review.

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