We performed a parametric study to suppress secondary phases in lithium niobate thin films by using pulsed laser deposition (PLD). A KrF excimer laser (λ=248nm) was used as a PLD source and c-oriented sapphire was used as substrates, for waveguide applications. By reducing the growth rate and changing the ambient gas pressure respectively, we found that the main parameter suppressing a secondary phase is controlling the plume strength. To investigate the relation between film phases and the plume strength, extensive parametric studies were performed by changing the oxygen ambient pressure, the target to substrate distance, and also the Li content in the target. The surface morphologies of single phase films and Li-deficient phase mixed films are compared and related to the growth mechanism with a lattice misfit. Deposition parameters to achieve lower loss films are also discussed.