A literature review is a piece of discursive prose, not a list describing or summarizing one piece of literature after another. It should have a single organizing principle:
Although your literature review will rely heavily on the sources you read for its information, you should dictate the structure of the review. It is important that the concepts are presented in an order that makes sense of the context of your research project.
There may be clear divisions on the sets of ideas you want to discuss, in which case your structure may be fairly clear. This is an ideal situation. In most cases, there will be several different possible structures for your review.
Similarly to the structure of the research report itself, the literature review consists of:
Introduction - profile of the study
Body - summative, comparative, and evaluative discussion of literature reviewed
For a thematic review:
From each of the section summaries:
A common error in literature reviews is for writers to present material from one author, followed by information from another, then another.... The way in which you group authors and link ideas will help avoid this problem. To group authors who draw similar conclusions, you can use linking words such as:
When authors disagree, linking words that indicate contrast will show how you have analysed their work. Words such as:
will indicate to your reader how you have analysed the material. At other times, you may want to qualify an author's work (using such words as specifically, usually, or generally) or use an example (thus, namely, to illustrate). In this way you ensure that you are synthesizing the material, not just describing the work already carried out in your field.
Another major problem is that literature reviews are often written as if they stand alone, without links to the rest of the paper. There needs to be a clear relationship between the literature review and the methodology to follow.