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How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates

Published on January 2, 2023 by Shona McCombes .

What is a literature review? A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources on a specific topic. It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research that you can later apply to your paper, thesis, or dissertation topic .

There are five key steps to writing a literature review:

A good literature review doesn’t just summarize sources—it analyzes, synthesizes , and critically evaluates to give a clear picture of the state of knowledge on the subject.

Table of contents

What is the purpose of a literature review, examples of literature reviews, step 1 – search for relevant literature, step 2 – evaluate and select sources, step 3 – identify themes, debates, and gaps, step 4 – outline your literature review’s structure, step 5 – write your literature review, free lecture slides, frequently asked questions, introduction.

When you write a thesis , dissertation , or research paper , you will likely have to conduct a literature review to situate your research within existing knowledge. The literature review gives you a chance to:

Writing literature reviews is a particularly important skill if you want to apply for graduate school or pursue a career in research. We’ve written a step-by-step guide that you can follow below.

Literature review guide

Writing literature reviews can be quite challenging! A good starting point could be to look at some examples, depending on what kind of literature review you’d like to write.

You can also check out our templates with literature review examples and sample outlines at the links below.

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Before you begin searching for literature, you need a clearly defined topic .

If you are writing the literature review section of a dissertation or research paper, you will search for literature related to your research problem and questions .

Make a list of keywords

Start by creating a list of keywords related to your research question. Include each of the key concepts or variables you’re interested in, and list any synonyms and related terms. You can add to this list as you discover new keywords in the process of your literature search.

Search for relevant sources

Use your keywords to begin searching for sources. Some useful databases to search for journals and articles include:

You can also use boolean operators to help narrow down your search.

Make sure to read the abstract to find out whether an article is relevant to your question. When you find a useful book or article, you can check the bibliography to find other relevant sources.

You likely won’t be able to read absolutely everything that has been written on your topic, so it will be necessary to evaluate which sources are most relevant to your research question.

For each publication, ask yourself:

Make sure the sources you use are credible , and make sure you read any landmark studies and major theories in your field of research.

You can use our template to summarize and evaluate sources you’re thinking about using. Click on either button below to download.

Take notes and cite your sources

As you read, you should also begin the writing process. Take notes that you can later incorporate into the text of your literature review.

It is important to keep track of your sources with citations to avoid plagiarism . It can be helpful to make an annotated bibliography , where you compile full citation information and write a paragraph of summary and analysis for each source. This helps you remember what you read and saves time later in the process.

To begin organizing your literature review’s argument and structure, be sure you understand the connections and relationships between the sources you’ve read. Based on your reading and notes, you can look for:

This step will help you work out the structure of your literature review and (if applicable) show how your own research will contribute to existing knowledge.

There are various approaches to organizing the body of a literature review. Depending on the length of your literature review, you can combine several of these strategies (for example, your overall structure might be thematic, but each theme is discussed chronologically).


The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time. However, if you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order.

Try to analyze patterns, turning points and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred.

If you have found some recurring central themes, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic.

For example, if you are reviewing literature about inequalities in migrant health outcomes, key themes might include healthcare policy, language barriers, cultural attitudes, legal status, and economic access.


If you draw your sources from different disciplines or fields that use a variety of research methods , you might want to compare the results and conclusions that emerge from different approaches. For example:


A literature review is often the foundation for a theoretical framework . You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts.

You might argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach, or combine various theoretical concepts to create a framework for your research.

Like any other academic text , your literature review should have an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion . What you include in each depends on the objective of your literature review.

The introduction should clearly establish the focus and purpose of the literature review.

Depending on the length of your literature review, you might want to divide the body into subsections. You can use a subheading for each theme, time period, or methodological approach.

As you write, you can follow these tips:

In the conclusion, you should summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance.

When you’ve finished writing and revising your literature review, don’t forget to proofread thoroughly before submitting. Not a language expert? Check out Scribbr’s professional proofreading services !

This article has been adapted into lecture slides that you can use to teach your students about writing a literature review.

Scribbr slides are free to use, customize, and distribute for educational purposes.

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A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources (such as books, journal articles, and theses) related to a specific topic or research question .

It is often written as part of a thesis, dissertation , or research paper , in order to situate your work in relation to existing knowledge.

There are several reasons to conduct a literature review at the beginning of a research project:

Writing the literature review shows your reader how your work relates to existing research and what new insights it will contribute.

The literature review usually comes near the beginning of your thesis or dissertation . After the introduction , it grounds your research in a scholarly field and leads directly to your theoretical framework or methodology .

A literature review is a survey of credible sources on a topic, often used in dissertations , theses, and research papers . Literature reviews give an overview of knowledge on a subject, helping you identify relevant theories and methods, as well as gaps in existing research. Literature reviews are set up similarly to other  academic texts , with an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion .

An  annotated bibliography is a list of  source references that has a short description (called an annotation ) for each of the sources. It is often assigned as part of the research process for a  paper .  

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McCombes, S. (2023, January 02). How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates. Scribbr. Retrieved February 27, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/dissertation/literature-review/

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8+ Literature Survey Templates in PDF

A literature survey is a guide that helps a researcher to find, identify and define a problem. This is the survey of the various reports , books, journals , articles that are related to your project work, which helps in the justification of your work. Here are a few survey templates that are available which you can use as a framework for your report.

literarure survey

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5 steps to do proper literature survey, 1. literature survey template, 2. sample literature survey template, 3. eye tracking literature survey template, 4. corporate literature survey template, 5. basic literature survey template, 6. brief literature survey template, 7. simple literature survey template, 8. active learning literature survey template, 9. literature survey example, step 1: understanding the concept, step 2: select and analyze the literature you want to use, step 3: finding connections, step 4: plan the structure, step 5: implementation.

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Author: shilps1234abc

Post on 22-Dec-2015

literature review

Accuracy of nilm technologies, standardized test protocol, testing protocol, available nilm technologies, repeatable test protocol, proposed test protocol, neea test bed homes.

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Prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract DE-AC05-76RL01830

Non-Intrusive Load Monitoring Assessment: Literature Review and Laboratory Protocol RS Butner DJ Reid M Hoffman G Sullivan J Blanchard July 2013

Non-Intrusive Load Monitoring Assessment: Literature Review and Laboratory Protocol

J Blanchard

Prepared for

the U.S. Department of Energy

under Contract DE-AC05-76RL01830

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Richland, Washington 99352

Executive Summary

Unlike sub-metering, which requires that individual loads are equipped with their own meters,

nonintrusive load monitors (NILM) use algorithms to discern the individual loads from a single metering

point. Although a number of these technologies are now commercially available to utilities and

homeowners, with several more to become available in the coming years, it is not yet understood how

accurately these technologies can disaggregate a homes electrical load. Pacific Northwest National

Laboratory (PNNL) and its partners at the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) have identified

and acquired six of these technologies and will be testing them in the PNNL Lab Homes as well as the

owner-occupied Residential Test Bed operated by NEEA. As a result of this testing, PNNL and NEEA

will evaluate the selected NILMs against a repeatable test protocol so that their accuracy can be compared

across NILM technologies. In the field deployment in the NEEA Test Bed Homes, PNNL and NEEA

will evaluate the real-world accuracy of the NILMs responding to dynamic loads.

To evaluate the accuracy of NILM technologies regardless of their intended application, a

standardized test protocol is required that applies representative loads and establishes consistent metrics

against which the NILM can be evaluated and compared. To establish this standardized test protocol, a

literature review was conducted to identify any test protocols or standardized testing approaches currently

in use. The literature review indicated that no consistent conventions were currently in place for

measuring the accuracy of these technologies. Consequently, PNNL developed a testing protocol and

metrics to provide the basis for quantifying and analyzing the accuracy of commercially available NILM

technologies. This report discusses the results of the literature review and the proposed test protocol and

metrics in more detail.

Acronyms and Abbreviations

CT current transformer

NILM nonintrusive load monitor

NEEA Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance

PNNL Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

TED The Energy Detective

Executive Summary .......................................................................................................................... iii

Acronyms and Abbreviations ............................................................................................................. v

1.0 Introduction ................................................................................................................................ 9

2.0 Literature Review ..................................................................................................................... 11

3.0 Laboratory Protocol .................................................................................................................. 11

4.0 Appendix A. Literature Review: Relevant NILM Reports, Papers, and Presentations ........... 14

5.0 Appendix B. NILM Protocol Mechanics: Monitoring and Disaggregation Metrics ............... 18

6.0 Appendix C. Controllable Electrical Panel and Reference/Baseline Metering Equipment ..... 25

7.0 References ................................................................................................................................ 29

Table 1. NILM Technologies Included in the Study.......................................................................... 9

Table 2. NILM Testing Protocol: Monitoring and Disaggregation Metrics .................................... 12

1.0 Introduction

This literature review and laboratory analysis satisfies deliverable number PNNL 13R1.06.1.2F

within Project 6.1, NILM Assessment. Initially the PNNL team identified a number of candidate

nonintrusive load monitoring (NILM) technologies available or under development for use in residential

homes, with 16 in total, for inclusion in the study. From these 16 initial candidates, only 6 were

ultimately selected for testing due to both price and availability.

While all these technologies are advertised as accomplishing the same end goal of disaggregating a

homes total electrical load into its major components, they take different technical approaches for doing

so. To facilitate the analysis, each of these technologies was sorted into one of three technology

categories based on the methods they employ to disaggregate electrical loads: current transformer (CT)

based devices (installed in the breaker panel), meter devices installed at the utility meter on the exterior of

the home, and software-onlybased solutions which rely on third-party hardware to collect and transmit

the data to vendor servers where the data are accessed, processed, and presented as disaggregated energy

1) Current Transformer (CT) Based Devices: This category of device relies on field-installed CTs along with voltage taps to directly measure whole-house energy use. Load disaggregation takes

place after data are uploaded to the vendors servers where analytics are applied.

2) Utility-MeterBased Devices: This category of device uses single-point metering installed at the utility meter, typically a collar or meter base to which the utility meter is installed. A major

benefit of this technology is that it does not require installation in the customers electrical panel.

As with the CT-based devices, load disaggregation takes place after data are uploaded to the

vendors servers.

3) Software-Only Solutions: Software-onlybased systems rely on third-party hardware to collect and transmit the energy-use data to a vendors server where the load is disaggregated using the

software algorithms.

The six technologies included in the final study featured two products of each type and are shown in

Table 1 below.

Table 1. NILM Technologies Included in the Study

Manufacturer Product Name Technology Category

Belkin Unnamed Utility Meter Device

Bidgley Bidgley Software-Only

Energy Aware PowerBlaster CT-Based Device

Energy, Inc. TED 5000 CT-Based Device

Enetics SPEED Utility Meter Device

PlottWatt PlottWatt Software-Only

More-detailed descriptions of the six technologies included in the PNNL and NEEA study are given

Belkin: Belkin is currently developing a NILM product that is designed to be installed at the

external utility meter of a home, though the final commercial product may be installed in the breaker

panel with CTs. This device then tracks and transmits load usage data to a central cloud server where the

total load is disaggregated into its base components based on algorithms developed by Belkin. Users will

eventually be able to access their data from a website-based dashboard that displays their electricity use

by common appliances once the product is commercially released.

Bidgely: Bidgely offers a cloud-based software program that collects meter data from third-party

hardware, such as The Energy Detective (TED). Bidgely does not manufacture hardware of their own,

and uses analytical algorithms to disaggregate energy consumption. Once disaggregated, the software

presents the user with recommended behavioral changes or appliance replacements to conserve electricity

based on the disaggregated electricity consumption data. The Bidgely website reports that the software

learns energy use behavior without any plug-level sensors, suggesting that the software has an automated

learning capability and that there is no training period where the user must manually tell the unit which

loads are operating. The algorithm also requests that users enter information about themselves to improve

the accuracy of the disaggregation. The service is compatible with many other energy metering products

(such as TED 5000 or Wattless), or with smart meters equipped with ZigBee interfaces. For both the

PNNL and NEEA test homes, data will be collected and sent to the Bidgley servers via panel-installed

The Energy Detective 5000 (TED 5000TM

): A commercially available residential energy meter,

the TED 5000 (versions are available for both single and three-phase) is installed in the breaker panel.

The system is installed with CTs at the power mains into the panel and voltage taps at two unused

breakersone for each phase. Data are collected and delivered using power-line carrier technology

through the homes existing electrical wiring to a gateway device connected to the homes internet

service, which then uploads the data to a cloud-based server. The product combines both the metering

hardware as well as a software application. In order to disaggregate the homes load, users must

manually teach the program when certain appliances are operating based on event recognition. This

product can reportedly disaggregate up to five appliances and produce energy conservation suggestions

for the user based on energy use data.

Energy-Aware: The product, called the PowerBlasterTM

, combines metering hardware that is

installed at the electrical panel (CTs and voltage taps similar to the TED), to measure energy use. Data

are collected and transferred using power-line carrier technology to a gateway where they are uploaded to

the companys servers. Once uploaded, the user can reportedly access and disaggregate the data via

web-based analytical tools. The Energy-Aware product reportedly does not have a limit on the number of

appliances it can disaggregate, and does not require the users to manually teach the algorithm which

electrical loads are currently operating to improve the disaggregation.

Enetics: This device, called SPEED TM

(Single Point End-use Energy Disaggregation), includes

metering hardware and software packages for disaggregating loads and generating reports on individual

appliance energy consumption. The system is designed to be installed at the homes external power meter

coupled with an interior device that reads interior home temperature. Data collected by the meter is

uploaded and processed via algorithms to determine the load distribution among appliances in the home.

While the system is primarily intended for use by utilities or property management organizations, the

company is reportedly interested in becoming involved in the home NILM market by producing a system

that is intended to be directly used by homeowners.

PlotWatt: PlottWatt has developed a software-only tool for disaggregating residential load data

collected from a preexisting utility smart meter (such as WattVision) or panel-installed meter (such as

). The product is currently available to the public for use with a limited number of smart

meters and power meters, with more expected in the future. The software is free for residential users.

Data collected by the meters is uploaded to the companys cloud-based server and then disaggregated.

2.0 Literature Review

Testing each of these technologies requires the development of testing protocols and metrics that

measure the accuracy of load disaggregation, applicable to all three of the identified product groups.

Prior to the development of these testing protocols, a literature review was conducted to assess what, if

any, conventions presently exist for testing these technologies. This literature review was also intended to

identify other laboratory or field evaluations of NILM devices and to survey the protocols and metrics

used. A general finding of this literature review was that a consistent set of NILM evaluation metrics or

protocols has not been previously developed or described in the literature. Interviews with technology

manufacturers further reflected a lack of consensus with regard to NILM evaluation metrics, as many

were themselves uncertain about what norms or best practices, if any, existed for testing NILM

disaggregation results.

In all, over 50 technical papers, reports, presentations and research papers were identified and

reviewed as part of this effort; Appendix A presents 35 of the most relevant documents reviewed. In

addition, standard testing protocols for similar electrical metering equipment were examined. As an

outcome of this review, three documents referencing protocols for testing and evaluating NILM

technologies were identified to have relevance to this task (Ziefman et al. 2011, Zoha et al. 2012, and

Liang et al., 2010).

Although not included in this literature review due to accessibility and expense challenges, the

Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has reportedly conducted some laboratory assessments on the

accuracy of four available residential NILM technologies. Their report, published in May, 2013, (copies

may be purchased from EPRI for $25,000) and includes a summary of available technologies, taxonomy

of NILM technologies, and the results of EPRIs laboratory evaluations.

Given the absence of consensus within both the literature and from the manufacturers, a testing

protocol was developed with input from both parties and following guidelines developed by Liang (Liang,

et al. 2010) to create a series of metrics for product evaluation.

3.0 Laboratory Protocol

Due to the variation found in the available NILM technologies, testing protocols had to be developed

to evaluate the NILM technologies in a consistent, equitable, and repeatable manner. Testing protocols

were designed to be agnostic to the technical approach employed by each product, quantifying only the

disaggregation accuracy while excluding any other considerations from the analysis (such as ease of use,

price, etc.).

Specifically, this protocol was designed only for technical assessment purposes. The developed

protocol will evaluate technologies along two primary dimensions. First, each technology will be tested

with regard to the metering hardware that is installed in either the breaker panel or power meter itself

(referred to here as Monitoring Metrics): the equipments ability to correctly detect operational

characteristics of a load, load magnitude, load duration, and coincidence of several loads simultaneously.

In the case of the software solutions, the reliant metering hardware, while not part of the vendor product,

will be assessed for performance.

The second metric is designed to evaluate the load disaggregation technology based on its

disaggregation performance (denoted collectively as Disaggregation Metrics): specifically unique event

detection, event disaggregation, overall event accuracy, event power use, energy share of total home load,

and repeatability of performance. See Table 2 below for a list of the criteria under each metric.

Table 2. NILM Testing Protocol: Monitoring and Disaggregation Metrics

Monitoring Metrics

Disaggregation Metrics

Operational Characteristic

Event Detection

Load Magnitude

Event Disaggregation

Event Accuracy

Load Duration

Coincidence of Load

Energy Shares


Execution of these testing protocols will be conducted in in two stages: the first will occur in August

and September, 2013, in the PNNL Lab Homes once all technologies have been acquired, installed, and

configured. During this phase both homes will be used to evaluate the accuracy of the NILM regarding

the aforementioned performance parameters using a series of simulated resistive (such as electric

resistance heaters) and reactive (such as the motor in a washing machine) plug loads on a set schedule in

accordance with the testing protocols over a two-week period. The second stage will be conducted in

both the PNNL Lab Homes and the NEEA Residential Test Bed homes for approximately one year of

data collection where the meters are allowed to run in the background during normal occupation of the

homes and will be subject to the dynamic loads of typical household operation.

The initial two-week protocol testing period in the Lab Homes will be used to extensively test the

technologies in a controlled setting to determine their sensitivity to and accuracy with different load types,

magnitudes, durations, and frequencies, and under coincident loads, in a standardized manner. Meters

installed in the NEEA Residential Test Bed Homes will not be subject to any specific test protocol or

have any set duration, and will instead be used as the basis for assessing the accuracy of disaggregation

under real-world conditions in owner-occupied homes. These initial tests will be used to make

preliminary observations regarding the accuracy of each technology under controlled conditions.

Appendix B presents the Lab Homes NILM test protocol in more detail.

The subsequent testing of each technology will be conducted by virtue of the meters remaining in

place in both the PNNL Lab Homes and in the NEEA Residential Test Bed homes over the coming year

and may serve as the basis of a broader analysis about the accuracy of their disaggregations over a

prolonged period of time and over different occupancy patterns. The metering and sensor equipment used

in the Lab Homes to measure the loads that are not directly associated with NILM technologies are

covered in detail in Appendix C.

Appendix A. Literature Review: Relevant NILM Reports, Papers, and Presentations

The reports, papers, and presentations below represent the relevant body of research reviewed as part of

this project. While not all publications provided useful information to this specific effort, most contain

pertinent information to the larger NILM topic.

Alahmad M, and H Hasna. 2011. Non-Intrusive Electrical Load Monitoring and Profiling Methods for

Applications in Energy Management Systems. 2011 IEEE Long Island Systems, Applications and

Technology Conference (LISAT). University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska. Accessed July 19, 2013 at


Anderson KD, ME Berges, A Ocneanu, D Benitez, et al. 2012. Event Detection for Non Intrusive Load

Monitoring. IECON 2012 38th Annual Conference on IEEE Industrial Electronics Society. Montreal

Quebec, Canada. Accessed July 19, 2013 at


Berges ME and E Goldman. 2010. Enhancing Electricity Audits in Residential Buildings with

Nonintrusive Load Monitoring. Journal of Industrial Ecology, Environmental Applications of

Information & Communication Technology 14(5): 844-858. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh,

Pennsylvania. Accessed July 19, 2013 at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1530-


Berges M, E Goldman, H Matthews, H Scott, and L Soibelman. 2008. Training Load Monitoring

Algorithms on Highly Sub-Metered Home Electricity Consumption Data. Tsinghua Science and

Technology 13(S1): 406-411. Tsinghua University Press, Beijing, China. Accessed July 19, 2013 at



Carlson DR, M. Berges, and H. Matthews. 2012. How Many Appliances Does it Take To?

International Workshop on Non-Intrusive Load Monitoring. Department of Civil and Environmental

Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Accessed July 19, 2013 at


Cheng C, TJT Sung, GY Lin, and J.C Wen. 2011. Non-intrusive Appliance Monitoring Now: Effective

Data, Generative Modeling and LETE. In ENERGY 2011. The First International Conference on Smart

Grids, Green Communications and IT Energy-aware Technologies. Accessed July 19, 2013 at


Froehlich J, and E Larson, 2010. Disaggregated End-Use Energy Sensing for the Smart Grid. Pervasive

Computing/IEEE. Volume 10, Issue 1. University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, 2011. Accessed

July 19, 2013 at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpls/abs_all.jsp?arnumber=5590234

Goldman E, and M Berges. A real-world evaluation of NILM: tradeoffs between data collection and

information effectiveness. PowerPoint presentation. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh,

Pennsylvania. Accessed July 19, 2013 at





Gomaton K, and C Holmes. 2012. Evaluation of NILMs Technologies for Electric Load

Disaggregation. PowerPoint presentation. First International Workshop on Non-Intrusive Load

Monitoring. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Accessed July 19, 2013 at


Gray J. Big Data Scale and Energy Insight. Verlitics, Portland, Oregon. Accessed July 19, 2013 at


Irwin D, A Wu S Barker, A Mishra, P Shenoy, and J Albrecht. Exploiting Home Automation Protocols

for Load Monitoring in Smart Buildings. University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Amherst,

Massachusetts; Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts; and Williams College, Williamstown,

Massachusetts. Accessed July 19, 2013 at http://lass.cs.umass.edu/papers/pdf/buildsys11-insteon.pdf

Kolter JZ, and T Jaakkola. 2012. NILM Beyond Event Detection. PowerPoint presentation. 2012 NILM

Workshop. MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Accessed July 19, 2013 at http://www.ices.cmu.edu/psii/nilm/slides/kolter_MIT_NILM2012_slides.pdf

Kolter J, and MJ Johnson. REDD: A Public Data Set for Energy Disaggregation Research. Computer

Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Accessed July 19, 2013 at


Kuhns H, M Roberts, and B Bastami. Closure Rules for Non-Intrusive Appliance Load Monitoring.

PowerPoint presentation. Reno, Nevada. Accessed July 19, 2013 at


Lai S, M Trayer, S Ramakrishna, and Y Li. Database Establishment for Machine Learning in NILM.

PowerPoint presentation. Samsung Telecommunications America, Richardson, Texas. Accessed July 19,

2013 at http://www.ices.cmu.edu/psii/nilm/slides/lai_Samsung_NILM2012_slides.pdf

Lai PH, M Trayer, S Ramakrishna, and Y Li. Database Establishment for Machine Learning in NILM,

Samsung Dallas Technology Lab, Richardson, Texas. Accessed July 19, 2013 at


Liang J, KK Ng Simon, G Kendall, and JWM Cheng. 2010. Load Signature Study Part 1: Basic

Concept, Structure, and Methodology. IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery 25 (2) (2010). IEEE Power

& Energy Society, New York, New York. Accessed July 19, 2013 at


Marceau ML, and R Zmeureanu. 1999. Nonintrusive load disaggregation computer program to estimate

the energy consumption of major end uses in residential buildings. Department of Building, Civil and

Environmental Engineering, Concordia University, Portland, Oregon. Accessed July 19, 2013 at



Marchiori A, and D Hakkarinen. 2011. Circuit-Level Load Monitoring for Household Energy

Management. Pervasive Computing, IEEE. Volume 10, Issue 1. Accessed July 19, 2013 at


Matthews HS and L Soibelman, M Berges, and E Goldman. 2008. Automatically Disaggregating the

Total Electrical Load in Residential Buildings: a Profile of the Required Solution. Proc. Intelligent

Computing Engineering, 381-389. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Accessed July

19, 2013 at http://www.mendeley.com/research/automatically-disaggregating-total-electrical-load-


May S, L Fishback, D Arneman, J Cunningham, and M Jog. Data in the Wild. PlotWatt, Durham, North

Carolina. Accessed July 19, 2013 at


Norford L, and S Leeb, 1996. Non-Intrusive Electric Load Monitoring in Commercial Buildings Based

on Steady-State and Transient Load-Detection Algorithms. Energy in Buildings 24 (1996) 51-64.

Accessed July 19, 2013 at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0378778895009582

Nunes NJ, and L Pereira. Deploying and Evaluating the Effectiveness of Energy Eco-Feedback Through

a Low-Cost NILM Solution. M-ITI, U. Madeira Campus da Penteada, Funchal, Portugal. Accessed July

19, 2013 at



Parson O, S Ghosh, M Weal, and A Rogers. 2012. NIALM using Prior Models of General Appliance

Types. In Proceedings of the Twenty-Sixth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-12).

Toronto, California, July 22-26, 2012. Accessed July 19, 2013 at http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/336812/

Perez MNV. 2011. A Non-Intrusive Appliance Load Monitoring System for Identifying Kitchen

Activities. Aalto University School of Science and Technology, Finland. Accessed July 19, 2013 at


Pihala H. 1998. Non-Intrusive Appliance Load Monitoring System Based on a Modern kWh-Meter.

VTT Energy, Technical Research Center of Finland, Finland. Accessed July 19, 2013 at


Proper E, and RW Cox. Field Demonstration of a Real-Time Non-Intrusive Monitoring System for

Condition-Based Maintenance. USCG, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge,

Massachusetts, and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Accessed July 19, 2013 at


Ruzzelli AG, C Nicolas, A Schoofs, and GMP OHare. Real-Time Recognition and Profiling of

Appliances through a Single Electricity Sensor. Clarity: Centre for Sensor Web Technologies, School of

Computer Science and Informatics, University College Dublin, Ireland. Accessed July 19, 2013 at



Tomek S. 2012. NIALM for Smart Buildings LoReMA Load Recognition Monitoring and Acting,

iHomeLab Research Center. PowerPoint Presentation. International Workshop on Non-Intrusive Load

Monitoring, May 7, 2012. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Accessed July 19, 2013



Tomek S, and A Andrushevich. 2012. iHomeLab Experience with NIALM for Smart Buildings.

International Workshop on Non-Intrusive Load Monitoring, May 7, 2012. iHomeLab Research Center,

Lucerne University, Luzern, Switzerland. Accessed July 19, 2013 at http://www.iot-



Zeifman M. 2012.An Approximate Probabilistic Approach for Event-based Disaggregation.

International Workshop on Non-Intrusive Load Monitoring., Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy

Systems, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Accessed July 19, 2013 at


Zeifman M, C Akers, and K Roth. Nonintrusive appliance load monitoring (NIALM) for energy control

in residential buildings. Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Accessed July 19, 2013 at http://cse.fraunhofer.org/publications/eedal-2011/

Zeifman M, and K Roth. 2011. Nonintrusive Appliance Load Monitoring: Review and Outlook. IEEE

Transactions on Consumer Electronics. 2011:57(1):76-84. IEEE Consumer Electronics Society, New

York, New York. Accessed July 19, 2013 at


Zoha A, A Gluhak, MA Imran, and S Rajasegarar. 2012. Non-Intrusive Load Monitoring Approaches for

Disaggregated Energy Sensing: A Survey. Sensors. 2012 Vol: 12(12) 16838:16866. Basel, Switzerland.

Accessed July 19, 2013 at www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/12/12/16838.pdf


Appendix B. NILM Protocol Mechanics: Monitoring and Disaggregation Metrics

This protocol is designed to facilitate the evaluation of a variety of the NILM technologies in a consistent,

unbiased, and repeatable manner. Because of the variety of new and existing NILM offerings (both

hardware and software solutions) this protocol was purposely kept general and as encompassing as

The protocol was designed for technical assessment and not for assessment of market potential or

acceptance. It is designed to give guidance for application and not competitive advantage or status.

B.1 Definitions

Consistent Load: Electrical loads that will engage or disengage independently of direct action from the

user and are always on. These loads may alternate between an active and inactive state as

needed/required. In some instances these loads operate completely automatically and independently of

the users input, such as refrigerators or water heaters which do not require user interaction to operate as

intended. Other loads operate automatically according to user-provided settings, such as resistance

heaters which will activate as necessary to achieve the users desired temperature. In both of these

instances the devices are active in the background and alternating between an inactive state that uses little

to no electricity, and an active state.

User-Activated Load: These loads can vary from type of appliance, but require the user to directly

interact with the load in order to become active. These loads may or may not disengage themselves

automatically after a set function or interval of time has passed (such as a sleep timer on a TV, or the

function of a toaster), but they do not automatically enter an active state from an inactive state without

user intervention.

Metering Hardware: Refers to the physical metering components that must be installed in the home to

meter or record electrical load use data. This also includes any additional components, such as

communications equipment or gateways that are required to transmit the collected load data to software or

a vendors remote server.

Metering Software: Any software, located either integral to the NILM or at the vendors remote server,

which processes raw electrical load use data and disaggregates these into its component electrical loads.

NILM Technology: Refers to any combination of physical hardware, metering equipment, software, or

remote vendor-based disaggregation services from a single manufacturer that was sold with the explicit

intention of being used to disaggregate the electrical load of a home with a single metering point.

B.2 Instrumentation Specifications

All vendor supplied metering equipment is to be installed as directed by accompanying product literature

in order to test the NILM technology in a state that is as close to the manufacturers specifications as

possible. No deviation from the installation guidance is expected to ensure that the metering hardware

will collect data as accurately as possible. Additionally, no calibration or alteration of either the metering

hardware or software is expected; each technology is to be tested as is from the manufacturer in a state

that the end-consumer would receive it. Precautions will be taken to secure the metering hardware in

place where necessary, specifically for CT sensors, with plastic zip-ties to prevent sensors from shifting

and interfering with any other equipment. All subsequent setup or configuration of the metering hardware

will be conducted following the steps specified in the owners documentation accompanying each

technology. This also includes establishing any necessary connection between the metering hardware and

associated software or vendor-based disaggregation algorithm services.

B.3 Load Testing Protocol

Load testing of individual system components will take place first to verify test equipment,

communications systems, load activation procedures, and all metering. In most cases, loads will be

activated automatically according to a schedule uploaded to custom electrical panel installed in each of

the PNNL Lab Homes. These electrical panels, 42-breaker modified commercial lighting panels

specifically designed for this application, use motorized breakers to turn on and off circuits according to a

programmed schedule. Installed with this panel is a multi-channel, true-power, data logging system that

affords circuit-level metering of all 42 defined breakers. This programmable panel and multi-channel

data logger form the load control and the baseline reference data collection systems necessary for NILM

evaluation. Appendix C provides further details on these two systems. Once all system components are

verified, the individual load testing will begin first with the individual loads and then the multi-load

B.3.1 Load Testing Protocol: Individual Loads

The following steps are proposed for the individual (i.e., single load) testing procedures.

1. Verify that all loads are operating correctly prior to testing. Malfunctioning loads may not be

recognizable to the meters, or individual components within the appliance or device itself may not be

fully powering up, producing erratic or invalid testing results. Operate each load prior to testing and

consult the homes data logging system to verify that the load in question is powering up and

functioning correctly.

2. Prior to testing any appliance or electrical load, determine if the load is a consistent load or a user-

activated load. Be aware that some consistent loads may require manual activation during the testing

protocol, as may be the case with electric heaters if the homes temperature is above the current set

point, while others will automatically engage over time. If the load is user/panel activated, note if

there are a variety of modes that the user may select. Washing machines, for example, commonly

have different wash modes that run shorter or longer than others, and may also have different load

profiles between modes.

3. Make note of which appliances have a consistent load even when switched off by consulting the

homes data logger system while testing user/panel-activated loads. These loads should be

completely disengaged, either by unplugging or turning off at the breaker panel, prior to the testing of

other loads as their inactive state load use may interfere with the testing of other equipment.

4. Before the testing period, note the time on the homes data logger/electrical panel display, the

NILM technologys display (if present), and local accurate clock. It is important to make note of

which time each system is displaying for reference before and after testing period to match the time

stamps of the load disaggregation and sub-meter readings.

5. Activate the electrical load by turning the appliance on (or allowing the programmable panel to operate) and selecting the desired use mode (if applicable). If the appliance has multiple modes that

the user is required to choose from, treat each consecutive mode individually (i.e. each mode is an

individual and unique load). Do not change modes during the operation of that load unless the device

or appliance does so automatically. Manually record the time that the load was powered up, as well

as the time that the load ended all testing durations will be according to a prescribed schedule by

load and load type see Section B.4.1 below for scheduling protocol.

6. After running the load for the specified duration, completely power down (or allow the panel to

control) the device or appliance. If the device has an inactive state, unplug or disengage the breaker

for that load to prevent its interference with other loads.

7. Execute steps 1 through 6 for all scheduled devices as part of the PNNL Lab Homes protocol,

recording the times that each load was tested (beginning and end) and according to the schedule

protocol in Section B.4.1.

8. Match the sub-metering data with the load disaggregation data received from the NILM vendor or

vendor web site for each of the NILM technologies. These two data sets will form the basis for

NILM evaluation according to evaluation metrics presented below in Section B.4.2.

B.3.2 Load Testing Protocol: Multiple Loads

The multiple load protocol will follow the same procedure as the individual load testing except specific

(multiple) electrical devices will be cycled on over the testing period to verify accuracy with coincident

device use.

Multiple load testing will make use of the controllable breaker panel to initiate and terminate device

runtimes according to propose schedules. It is anticipated that load activation will be staggered by

predetermined intervals (2 minutes and 10 minutes are proposed) to allow recognition in the

accompanying data sets.

B.4 Load Testing Protocol: Monitoring and Disaggregation Metrics

The defined protocol will explore two key performance metrics; monitoring metrics (i.e., the ability to

correctly assess load, load magnitude, and duration) and disaggregation metrics (i.e., the ability to

accurately determine and classify specific loads and events). These are defined/described in the

subsequent sections.

B.4.1 Monitoring Metrics

This portion of the protocol focuses on specific loads and load types, as well as load functional states.

Presented below are recommended load types and proposed magnitudes. The loads are to be

representative of typical residential equipment and have a mix of resistive and reactive power

characteristics. The values and ranges presented are considered as sample magnitudes; actual

magnitudes will be specific to the proposed test load and be determined at time of testing.

Low Wattage Protocol: 10 Watts to 100 Watts

o Lighting: incandescent, fluorescent, and LED fixtures o Home electronics: residential audio, video, set-top box devices o Miscellaneous plug loads: fans, kitchen appliances, etc.

Mid Wattage Protocol: 100 Watts to 1,000 Watts o Lighting: multiple incandescent, fluorescent, and LED fixtures o Home electronics: desktop computer/monitor, printer, television o Miscellaneous plug loads: refrigerator, clothes washer, dishwasher

High Wattage Protocol: Above 1,000 Watts o Lighting: multiple lighting circuits o Home appliances: clothes dryer, water heater, HVAC

B. 4.1.1 Operational Characteristics and Load Scheduling

For each of the above wattage protocols (low, mid, and high) a schedule of load duration has been

proposed. This schedule was developed based on typical residential load activation patterns, the

recognition of evaluation limitations of vendor-based NILM systems, and the need for efficient testing

The evaluation load and activation schedules incorporate one-minute, ten-minute and one-hour load

activations. While sub one-minute load durations were initially considered, after review of typical

residential load patterns and discussions with NILM vendors it was decided that this was too narrow an

interval and may be better left for a Phase 2 testing protocol.

The proposed load schedule follows a progression from the low to high wattage loads. For each of the

sample loads within the three categories (low wattage, mid wattage, and high wattage), a 1-minute, 10-

minute and 1-hour load duration is proposed. Additionally, each load will cycle on and off at a

predetermined frequency within that load duration window.

By way of example, consider the low-wattage protocol (a 25-watt incandescent lamp) and the one-minute

duration schedule. This protocol is defined such that the lamp will cycle on for one minute and off for

one minute. This pattern will repeat for four cycles before moving to the next low-wattage load, perhaps

a 70-watt linear fluorescent fixture. After the low-wattage protocol is completed, the mid-wattage and

high-wattage protocols will be executed. This progression will be complete when all loads have been

cycled through the one-minute, ten-minute, and one-hour schedules.

For the multiple load protocol, the proposed schedule includes the 10-minute and 1-hour load activation

intervals; the 1-minute activation with multiple loads requires too many cycles for accurate control.

B.4.2 Disaggregation Metrics

To evaluate disaggregation accuracy, a set of metrics was developed based on work proposed by Liang

and Ziefman (Liang, et.al. 2010, Ziefman, et.al. 2011). The metrics proposed below allow for a

comparison between NILM reported events and load magnitudes with the actual event information. The

metrics are presented as a series of calculated accuracy values, specific to the event activity.

A. Event Detection (single and multiple events, metric reported as percent accuracy)

Detection Accuracy is a ratio of the correctly detected events over the total number of events detected by

the NILM including the effects of wrongfully detected (false positive) events. In other words, out of all

the loads the NILM detected, including false positive events, what percentage were correctly detected:

{( ) ( ) ( )}

Or equivalently

True events = Number of actual events

Detected events = Number of detected events (i.e., total detected events including false events)

Properly detected events = Number of accurately detected and classified events (i.e., accurate specific

event and event classification)

Wrong events = Number of wrongfully detected events (i.e., false positive events)

Missed events = Number of missed events (i.e., events not detected)

B. Event Disaggregation (correct disaggregation of single and multiple/coincident events)

Disaggregation Accuracy is a measure of ration of the number of events the NILM properly identified

and classified over the number of events the NILM detected which were true events. In other words, out

of all the loads/events the NILM detected that were real events, what percentage was disaggregated

correctly? This describes how well the NILM is able to disaggregate the loads in identifies.

C. Overall Event Accuracy (correct disaggregation of single and multiple/coincident

Overall Accuracy is a ratio of the number of correctly identified and classified events over the number of

actual events. In other words, it is a measure of theoretical accuracy where 100% would mean the

NILM identified every real event, did not register any false positive events, and classified all events

D. Power/Energy Use. Accurate calculation of energy use (single and multiple events,

metric reported as percent accuracy)

Energy Accuracy is a measure of accurate energy use by individual appliances (single use), multiple

appliances (coincident single uses), and multiple appliances over a duration (multiple uses/multiple

Measured energy = energy measured by meter (watt-hours) over the defined interval

NILM energy = energy measured by NILM (watt-hours) over the defined interval

Consider the calculation of energy accuracy for:

Single appliance and single event (fixed event duration)

Multiple appliances and single event (fixed event duration)

Multiple appliances and multiple events (variable event durations)

E. Energy Shares. Accurate calculation of energy shares (energy use of specific event

recorded as a percentage of total energy use)

Overall Energy Share Accuracy is a measure of accurate energy use/share by individual appliances as a

function of total test (i.e., multiple appliances) energy use.

Measured energy share = {(measured appliance energy) / (measured total energy share)

NILM energy share = {(NILM appliance energy) / (NILM total energy share)

F. Repeatability. Consistency of all evaluation criteria over multiple tests

As time and resources permit, multiple applications of key metric evaluations will be completed to compare for consistency.

Appendix C. Controllable Electrical Panel and Reference/Baseline Metering Equipment

C.1 Controllable Electrical Panel

Figure C.1. Square D Power Link Electrical Panel

C.1.1 Schneider Electric/Square D Power Link G3 Control System

The Square D Powerlink G3 offers programmable and controllable breakers affording the ability to

schedule on/off events at 1-minute resolution intervals.

C.1.1.1 Specifications

Square D Powerlink G3 Controllers accept commands from both dry-contact inputs and serial

communications. Typical control devices include low voltage pushbutton wall switches, occupancy

sensors, photo sensors, card access, and building automation systems.

Terminals on the controller allow connection to external control devices. The 500-level controllers

can accept up to eight separate control inputs, while the 1000, 2000, and 3000 level controllers can

accommodate either eight 3-wire or sixteen 2-wire inputs. All controllers provide 24 Vdc control power

[National Electric Code (NEC) Class 2] for sensing input contact status. Input types include:

maintained NO (normally open with or without blink)

maintained NC (normally closed with or without blink)

momentary toggle/maintained toggle

momentary on/momentary off

dual momentary

Controller inputs can be configured for status feedback to operate pilot lights or actuate other control

equipment. A total maximum current of 60 mA at 24 Vdc is available to eight status outputs.

Input timers, with settings from 1 second to 18 hours, can also be incorporated into the input

configuration to provide timed override control

It combines the control, input, and scheduling features of the other systems with the added benefit of

embedded Ethernet connectivity.

It provides control capabilities and communication with a true peer-to-peer (P2P) control network to

allow different controllers to share input signals, schedules, and lighting zone states.

Ethernet connectivity reduces network installation costs and enhances reliability by eliminating the

need for a dedicated lighting control network.

Ethernet infrastructure can also be more cost effective: it uses commonly available off-the-shelf

components rather than manufacturer-specific proprietary components.

It provides enhanced system reliability: local IT staff can quickly diagnose and resolve most problems

associated with the network infrastructure.

Web-enabled benefits include: ability to override zones, change schedules, and view system status

from the convenience of a standard web browser.

C.2 Reference/Baseline Metering Data Logger

Figure C.2 Campbell CR 1000

C.2.1 Campbell CR 1000 Specifications and Features

4 Mbyte memory

Program execution rate of up to 100 Hz

CS input/output (I/O) and RS-232 serial ports

13-bit analog-to-digital conversions

16-bit H8S Renesas Microcontroller with 32-bit internal central processing unit (CPU) architecture

Temperature-compensated real-time clock

Background system calibration for accurate measurements over time and temperature changes

Single DAC used for excitation and measurements to give ratio metric measurements

Gas discharge tube protected inputs

Data values stored in tables with a time stamp and record number

Battery-backed static random access memory (SRAM) and clock maintaining data, programs, and

accurate time while the CR1000 is disconnected from its main power source

Serial communications with serial sensors and devices supported via I/O port pairs

PakBus, Modbus, Distributed Network Protocol 3 (DNP3), Transmission Control Protocol/Internet

Protocol (TCP/IP), FTP, and Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) protocols supported

C.2.2 Communications Protocols

The CR1000 supports the PakBus, Modbus, DNP3, TCP/IP, FTP, and SMTP communication

protocols. With the PakBus protocol, networks have the distributed routing intelligence to continually

evaluate links. Continually evaluating links optimizes delivery times and, in the case of delivery failure,

allows automatic switchover to a configured backup route.

The Modbus remote terminal unit (RTU) protocol supports both floating-point and long formats. The

data logger can act as a slave and/or master.

The DNP3 protocol supports only long data formats. The data loggers are Level 2 slave compliant,

with some of the operations found in a Level 3 implementation.

The TCP/IP, FTP, and SMTP protocols provide TCP/IP functionality when the CR1000 is used in

conjunction with an NL115, NL120, or third-party serial internet protocol (IP) device.

4.0 References

Liang J., Ng S.K.K., Kendall G., Cheng J.W.M. Load signature study Part I: Basic concept, structure, and methodology. IEEE Trans. Power Del. 2010;25:551560.

Zeifman M., Roth K. Nonintrusive appliance load monitoring: Review and outlook. IEEE Trans. Consum.

Electron. 2011;57:7684.

Zoah, A., Alexander G, Muhammad A.I., Sutharshan R. Non-intrusive load monitoring approaches for

disaggregated energy sensing: A Survey. University of Surrey, UK. 2012;1424-8220.

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We are working on saving your time and money, what is a literature survey in any project report.

Reviewing the literature is a vital part when writing tutorial papers that use analysis findings for concepts and factors they attempt to make. It’s also a requirement for the challenge report. What’s a literature survey in any challenge report?

A literature survey in a challenge report represents the examine completed to help within the completion of a challenge. A literature survey additionally describes a survey of the earlier current materials on a subject of the report.

A challenge report is an evaluation throughout a course of or challenge conveying these particulars:

The main target of a literature survey in on the next and on this order:

Literature surveys present temporary overviews or a abstract of the present analysis on matters. The construction written requires to be in a means that it appeared logical. It must chronologically characterize a improvement of the concepts within the discipline that’s being researched. The size of a literature survey relies upon a lot on whether or not the aim of the challenge report is to finish a school project or submitting for journal publication. It may well evaluation a couple of analysis papers on a subject or be a full-length dialogue on the numerous work within the discipline till that date.

Among the aims required in writing a literature survey embody for the understanding on among the fundamentals of studying the definitions and ideas that can assist in discovering matters which can be primarily based on earlier analysis.

Literature surveys are utilized in making certain that the used experiments, methodologies and experiments supply reliability and validity within the analysis being carried out. The surveys want to indicate important content material avoiding a lot interpretation. One’s opinions and conclusions require to be separated from the content material within the cited sources.

The subject of literature survey should be related and slender for it to be straight to the purpose. It identifies probably the most related analysis papers from a examine on the subject. Writing the tutorial on a topic requires citing of recognized literature as a lot as attainable. Nevertheless, it shouldn’t current any new outcomes however present a abstract of the prevailing state of information on a topic.

So, what are among the variations between a Literature Survey and a Literature evaluation?

A literature survey differs from a evaluation as a result of many don’t comprise a synopsis. They’re recognized to supply the working data in regards to the state of a discipline or analysis matter. It’ll embody many notes however and not using a actual evaluation or an opinion. The aim of a literature survey is to resolve simple of shifting a analysis thought ahead on what researchers have completed and thrilling avenues that it opens for investigation throughout future work within the discipline.

However, a literature evaluation is a group of quite a few sources to show a degree. The argument is outlined. It may need or not have opinions relying on the sector however will embody an in-depth evaluation with a foundation on these sources. It’s extra of a accomplished technical model of the literature survey with evaluation and advice of probably the most useful transfer to progress and avenues of additional analysis that might yield to new useful data. Literature opinions are recognized to focus on key findings and identifies among the analysis gaps that seem within the literature you might be writing about in your dissertation. They’re recognized to supply an evaluation to among the methodologies that different writers have used of their analysis papers.

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What is a literature review and why is it important?

Further reading ....

A literature review not only summarizes the knowledge of a particular area or field of study, it also evaluates what has been done, what still needs to be done and why all of this is important to the subject.  

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This example shows how a literature review from a PhD thesis can be analysed for its structure, purpose and content.

Three sections of the thesis are analysed to show the:

Access the thesis

Co-witnesses and the effects of discussion on eyewitness memory by Helen M Paterson

Overview of thesis (introduction)

This introductory section is less than two pages long.

The first paragraph:

The other paragraphs describe the content and purpose of each section of the thesis.

Literature review

The literature review is made of up of two chapters.

Chapter 1: Literature review of relevant research

The overall goals of this chapter are to firstly establish the significance of the general field of study, and then identify a place where a new contribution could be made.

The bulk of the chapter critically evaluates the methodologies used in this field to identify the appropriate approach for investigating the research questions.

Chapter 2: Theoretical explanations of memory conformity

Chapter 5, study 3: co-witness contamination.

This chapter has the following structure:

The introduction introduces the particular study to be reported on, and includes a three-and-a-half page literature review.

The literature review in this chapter:

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How To Write A Literature Review

Nova A.

Learn How To Write A Literature Review In Simple Steps

Published on: Dec 21, 2017

Last updated on: Dec 15, 2022

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A literature review requires a lot of research work. Most students contemplate it as the hardest and complicated part while writing a  research paper . Besides, you may also have to write it as a stand-alone assignment.

Drafting a strong literature review is considered the foundation of any research. It helps to evaluate existing research and tells your teacher how your research is relevant to the respective field. Moreover, it also discusses new insights that your research will contribute to the field of study.

Thus, a writer needs to be well prepared to utilize multiple scholarly sources to find the required research material. An organizational plan must also be developed to combine both the summary and synthesis of the previous literature.

Keep on reading this complete guide to learning how to write a literature review paper in simple steps.

What is a Literature Review?

A literature review is the research and evaluation of the available literature in your chosen topic area. It includes a survey of scholarly sources to provide an overview of the current research and available data and knowledge.

These sources include books, journal articles, and newspapers, that relate to your research question.

Moreover, it not only summarizes the sources. But it also analyzes, interprets, and evaluates the relevant theories, methods, points of view, and gaps in the existing literature.

However, this does not mean that a literature review is based on previous searches only. The writer discusses the research question and its various aspects and discusses the relevant study to support this claim.

What is the Importance of a Good Literature Review?

Some of the key reasons to add a literature review into your research paper, thesis, and dissertation include:

The length of a literature review usually depends on the length of the research project. For example, if you are writing a research paper of 10 pages. You will have to include 5 to 6 sources in your literature review.

However, consulting with the professor about proper requirements beforehand is a better way to avoid any last-minute issues.

Types of Literature Review

Here are the types of literature review.

types of literature review

How to Write a Literature Review?

To write a good literature review for a research paper, follow the given steps.

1. Search Relevant Literature

The first important step before starting a review section is to have a clearly defined topic.

Writing a literature review for a research paper requires you to search for literature. It should be relevant to your research problem and questions. Similarly, use the keywords to search for different sources.

To find the relevant journals and articles, look for the following useful academic databases.

However, for writing a review as a stand-alone assignment, develop a research question that gives direction to your search.

Such a question must be answered without gathering original data. Instead, you should answer it by reviewing the existing material.

Furthermore, create a list of keywords related to the topic and research question. Find useful articles and check for the reference list to come up with more authentic sources.

You probably would not be able to cover everything on the chosen topic. Thus, begin by reading the abstract to identify whether the article is relevant or not.

Also, take enough time to evaluate the sources. Make a list of citations and ensure there are no repetitive authors, articles, or publications in the literature review.

2. Analyze and Select Sources

Obviously, it is impossible to read each and every single thing written about the research topic. Instead, you have to analyze the sources that are most relevant to your research questions.

Answer the below questions while analyzing each source.

Make sure you are using credible and authentic sources. Also, read the important publications and articles to justify your argument.

Moreover, the scope of the literature review largely depends on the topic and discipline. For example, science students only evaluate recent literary work to write their reviews. Nevertheless, the humanities students also have to study and discuss the historical research and perspective about the topic.

Begin the writing process along with searching and reading the relevant sources. Note down important information to use in the text of your literature review.

It is better to cite your sources at this stage to avoid the risk of plagiarism. Moreover, it can also help in developing an  annotated bibliography .

3. Identify Connections

Start organizing the argument and structure of a literature review. For this, you have to identify the connection between the sources that are used while  writing an abstract .

Based on your evaluation, you can look for the following things:

These elements will help you identify your contribution to the existing knowledge.

4. Decide the Structure

There are various approaches that can be used to organize the literature review. Depending upon the length, it can follow a chronological, thematic, methodological, or theoretical framework.

The approaches to organizing a review are discussed below in detail.

It is the simplest approach to structure your literature review. However, do not just summarize and list the sources. Instead, analyze the critical debates, research, and patterns that have shaped the direction of the field. Also, discuss your interpretation of the developments.

This type of approach helps to organize the review into subsections. Each section will discuss a different aspect of the chosen topic.

It helps to compare the outcomes of gathering sources from different research methods. It may include the analysis of:

A literature review is often used to discuss various theories and key concepts. By using this approach, you can argue the relevance of a particular theoretical method. Similarly, you can also combine different theories to make a new framework for your research.

5. Write Your Literature Review

Like any other academic paper, a literature review format must have three sections: introduction, body section, and a conclusion. What to include in each section depends on the aims and objectives of your literature review.

5.1 Literature Review Introduction

It is the first paragraph that clearly defines the purpose and focus of the review.

If your literature review is part of your thesis or dissertation, restate the research question. Similarly, briefly summarize the whole context by highlighting literature gaps.

If you are writing a standalone literature review, provide background information on the topic. Also, discuss the scope of the literature and your research objectives. However, don’t forget to mention the results that you will draw from the literature.

5.2 Literature Review Body

Divide the body into subsections for each theme or a methodological approach. While writing the body of a literature review, keep in mind the following things.

5.3 Literature Review Conclusion

Summarize your key findings and emphasize their significance in the conclusion section.

While writing a conclusion for a dissertation or thesis, demonstrate the research gaps and your contributions. Also, discuss how you have developed the research framework by using the theories and methods.

However, a conclusion of a stand-alone literature review will discuss the overall implications and suggestions for future research.

6. Edit And Proofread

Once you are done with the writing process, don’t forget to edit and proofread your paper. It will help you ensure that the paper does not miss anything important and is free from grammatical, and spelling mistakes.

Have a look at the below-given document to learn writing a literature review.

Writing Literature Review for a Research Paper

Sample Literature Review

The above guide will definitely help you understand what a literature review is and how to write one. Here are some literature review examples and samples for you to learn the detailed structure.

Effects of Communication Styles on Marital Satisfaction

Divorce, Fertility, and Labor Force Participation

View Literature Review for a Qualitative Research Paper Here

View Literature Review for a Scientific Research Paper

Critical Thinking and Transferability: A Review of the Literature

Common Mistakes to Avoid

The following are some common mistakes that should be avoided while writing a perfect literature review.

There is a considerable amount of effort that goes into the literature review writing process. It is a complicated academic assignment that you get at high school, college, or university.

Some students lack good writing skills and for some, it is just a boring task. Thus, they look for professional help to deal with such a complex assignment.

This detailed guide will help you learn how to do a literature review in no time. However, you can take help from our  top essay writing service  that can help you write perfect literature reviews for research papers. 

The expert writers at  MyPerfectWords.com  have the right skills and experience to deliver your order within the given deadline.

By choosing our  essay writer , you will realize that buying a literature review has never been easier than it is now. We can also provide you with an example of a literature review to get a better idea.

Moreover, you can easily buy a well-written review by contacting our support team that is available 24/7. Simply, place your  order  now and get a high-quality literature review at affordable rates.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many sources should a literature review have.

To write a paper, 10 sources are needed in the literature review. To have 100 pages of text (in the body), you need at least 100 sources for your research. 

How do you start an introduction to a literature review?

The literature review in the introduction should introduce, establish the significance of the study, provide an overview of relevant literature to show context for research, and identify knowledge gaps. It will also illustrate how it can advance our understanding of a topic using studies that have been conducted before. 

Nova A. (Literature, Marketing)

Nova Allison is a Digital Content Strategist with over eight years of experience. Nova has also worked as a technical and scientific writer. She is majorly involved in developing and reviewing online content plans that engage and resonate with audiences. Nova has a passion for writing that engages and informs her readers.

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What (Exactly) Is A Literature Review?

A plain-language explanation (with examples).

By:   Derek Jansen (MBA) & Kerryn Warren (PhD)   | June 2020

If you’re faced with writing a dissertation, thesis or any of type of formal academic research, chances are you’ve encountered the term “literature review” . If you’re on this page, you’re probably not 100% what the literature review is all about. Well, the good news is that you’ve come to the right place – s o grab a cup of coffee and let’s dive in.

Literature Review 101

What is a literature review?

The word “literature review” can refer to two related things that are part of the broader literature review process. The first is the task of  reviewing the literature  – i.e. sourcing and reading through the existing research relating to your research topic. The second is the  actual chapter  that you write up in your dissertation, thesis or research project. Let’s look at each of them:

Reviewing the literature

The first step of any literature review is to hunt down and  read through the existing research  that’s relevant to your research topic. To do this, you’ll use a combination of tools (we’ll discuss some of these later) to find journal articles, books, ebooks, research reports, dissertations, theses and any other credible sources of information that relate to your topic. You’ll then  summarise and catalogue these  for easy reference when you write up your literature review chapter. 

The literature review chapter

The second step of the literature review is to write the actual literature review chapter (this is usually the second chapter in a typical dissertation or thesis structure ). At the simplest level, the literature review chapter is an  overview of the key literature  that’s relevant to your research topic. This chapter should provide a smooth-flowing discussion of what research has already been done, what is known, what is unknown and what is contested in relation to your research topic. So, you can think of it as an  integrated review of the state of knowledge  around your research topic. 

This is quite an oversimplification , but it’s a useful starting point. We’ll discuss the full purpose of the literature review chapter next. 

Starting point for the literature review

What is the purpose of a literature review?

The literature review chapter has a few important functions within your dissertation, thesis or research project. Let’s take a look at these:

Purpose #1 – Demonstrate your topic knowledge

The first function of the literature review chapter is, quite simply, to show the reader (or marker) that you  know what you’re talking about . In other words, a good literature review chapter demonstrates that you’ve read the relevant existing research and understand what’s going on – who’s said what, what’s agreed upon, disagreed upon and so on. This needs to be  more than just a summary  of who said what – it needs to integrate the existing research to  show how it all fits together  and what’s missing (which leads us to purpose #2, next). 

Purpose #2 – Reveal the research gap that you’ll fill

The second function of the literature review chapter is to  show what’s currently missing  from the existing research, to lay the foundation for your own research topic. In other words, your literature review chapter needs to show that there are currently “missing pieces” in terms of the bigger puzzle, and that  your study will fill one of those research gaps . By doing this, you are showing that your research topic is original and will help contribute to the body of knowledge. In other words, the literature review helps justify your research topic.  

Purpose #3 – Lay the foundation for your theoretical framework

The third function of the literature review is to form the  basis for a theoretical framework . Not every research topic will necessarily have a theoretical framework, but if your topic does require one, it needs to be rooted in your literature review. 

For example, let’s say your research aims to identify the drivers of a certain outcome – the factors which contribute to burnout in office workers. In this case, you’d likely develop a theoretical framework which details the potential factors (e.g. long hours, excessive stress, etc), as well as the outcome (burnout). Those factors would need to emerge from the literature review chapter – they can’t just come from your gut! 

So, in this case, the literature review chapter would uncover each of the potential factors (based on previous studies about burnout), which would then be modelled into a framework. 

Purpose #4 – To inform your methodology

The fourth function of the literature review is to  inform the choice of methodology  for your own research. As we’ve  discussed on the Grad Coach blog , your choice of methodology will be heavily influenced by your research aims, objectives and questions . Given that you’ll be reviewing studies covering a topic close to yours, it makes sense that you could learn a lot from their (well-considered) methodologies.

So, when you’re reviewing the literature, you’ll need to  pay close attention to the research design , methodology and methods used in similar studies, and use these to inform your methodology. Quite often, you’ll be able to  “borrow” from previous studies . This is especially true for quantitative studies , as you can use previously tried and tested measures and scales. 

Webinar - how to write a literature review

How do I find articles for my literature review?

Finding quality journal articles is essential to crafting a rock-solid literature review. As you probably already know, not all research is created equally, and so you need to make sure that your literature review is  built on credible research . 

We could write an entire post on how to find quality literature (actually, we have ), but a good starting point is Google Scholar . Google Scholar is essentially the academic equivalent of Google, using Google’s powerful search capabilities to find relevant journal articles and reports. It certainly doesn’t cover every possible resource, but it’s a very useful way to get started on your literature review journey, as it will very quickly give you a good indication of what the  most popular pieces of research  are in your field.

One downside of Google Scholar is that it’s merely a search engine – that is, it lists the articles, but oftentimes  it doesn’t host the articles . So you’ll often hit a paywall when clicking through to journal websites. 

Thankfully, your university should provide you with access to their library, so you can find the article titles using Google Scholar and then search for them by name in your university’s online library. Your university may also provide you with access to  ResearchGate , which is another great source for existing research. 

Remember, the correct search keywords will be super important to get the right information from the start. So, pay close attention to the keywords used in the journal articles you read and use those keywords to search for more articles. If you can’t find a spoon in the kitchen, you haven’t looked in the right drawer. 

One last tip  – it’s important that you  read recent sources .  Things change quickly in the world of research and you want up to date information to support your literature. That’s not to say that the classics are irrelevant – but you need to make sure they’re up to date. It’s no use citing a piece of research that was very popular, but was subsequently found to have flawed results. Thankfully, within Google Scholar, you can filter results to a specific date range, so make use of this to ensure you keep your reading up to date .

Need a helping hand?

literature survey for project report

How should I structure my literature review?

Unfortunately, there’s no generic universal answer for this one. The structure of your literature review will depend largely on your topic area and your research aims and objectives.

You could potentially structure your literature review chapter according to theme, group, variables , chronologically or per concepts in your field of research. We explain the main approaches to structuring your literature review here . You can also download a copy of our free literature review template to help you establish an initial structure.

In general, it’s also a good idea to start wide (i.e. the big-picture-level) and then narrow down, ending your literature review close to your research questions. However, there’s no universal one “right way” to structure your literature review. The most important thing is not to discuss your sources one after the other like a list – as we touched on earlier, your literature review needs to synthesise the research, not summarise it .

Ultimately, you need to craft your literature review so that it conveys the most important information effectively – it needs to tell a logical story in a digestible way. It’s no use starting off with highly technical terms and then only explaining what these terms mean later. Always assume your reader is not a subject matter expert and hold their hand through a journe y of the literature while keeping the functions of the literature review chapter (which we discussed earlier) front of mind.

A good literature review should synthesise the existing research in relation to the research aims, not simply summarise it.

Wrapping Up

In this post, we’ve (hopefully) answered the question, “ what is a literature review? “. We’ve also considered the purpose and functions of the literature review, as well as how to find literature and how to structure the literature review chapter. If you’re keen to learn more, check out the literature review section of the Grad Coach blog , as well as our detailed video post covering how to write a literature review . 

literature survey for project report

Psst… there’s more (for free)

This post is part of our research writing mini-course, which covers everything you need to get started with your dissertation, thesis or research project.

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Thanks for this review. It narrates what’s not been taught as tutors are always in a early to finish their classes.

Derek Jansen

Thanks for the kind words, Becky. Good luck with your literature review 🙂


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Timothy T. Chol

This is review is amazing. I benefited from it a lot and hope others visiting this website will benefit too.

Timothy T. Chol [email protected]


Thank you very much for the guiding in literature review I learn and benefited a lot this make my journey smooth I’ll recommend this site to my friends

Rosalind Whitworth

This was so useful. Thank you so much.

hassan sakaba

Hi, Concept was explained nicely by both of you. Thanks a lot for sharing it. It will surely help research scholars to start their Research Journey.


The review is really helpful to me especially during this period of covid-19 pandemic when most universities in my country only offer online classes. Great stuff


Great Brief Explanation, thanks

Mayoga Patrick

So helpful to me as a student

Amr E. Hassabo

GradCoach is a fantastic site with brilliant and modern minds behind it.. I spent weeks decoding the substantial academic Jargon and grounding my initial steps on the research process, which could be shortened to a couple of days through the Gradcoach. Thanks again!

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This is an amazing talk. I paved way for myself as a researcher. Thank you GradCoach!

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1.3 Literature Survey

The HKUST CSE Dept. requires that you include a Literature Survey or Critical Review in the introduction of all FYP proposals, progress reports and final reports.

The value of a Literature Survey

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