Create a matrix by listing the articles you want to analyze in the top row of the matrix, and the major concepts in the far left column. You will then review each article to see what's covered in that article. Describe how the concepts are discussed in each article. When you are done, you will be able to easily see which articles share commonalities, and where there are gaps in the research regarding coverage of certain concepts.
Article Analysis Matrix Example: The impact of campaign ads on voters' views of candidates
|Types of Ads
||Television and Radio ads
||Internet ads and Television ads
||Television ads that attack the opponent OR highlight candidate's platform
||Internet ads that attack the opponent OR highlight candidate's platform
||Male and female subjects age 18-22
||Male and female subjects age 18-50
||Female subjects age 55-75
||Male and female subjects age 35-45
|Duration of study
||Subjects who viewed television ads had more negative opinions of candidates than those who only listened to radio ads
||Subjects under 35 were more likely to view internet ads than television ads, while subjects over 35+ were more likely to view television ads
||Subjects preferred candidates whose ads highlighted their platforms than candidates whose ads attacked their opponent
||Male subjects preferred candidates whose ads attacked their opponent, and female subjects preferred candidates whose ads highlighted their platforms
||Short study; college age participants likely don't represent the broader American electorate
||Does not explain what types of ads (platform-based or attack-based) the participants viewed
||No male subjects
||Small age range
What does this example matrix tell you? What ideas are well covered in the literature? Which are lacking? What do the different articles have in common?
It may be beneficial to add additional columns (for more articles) or additional rows. The more work you do on the front end, thoroughly analyzing various aspects of each article, the easier it will be to pull it all together in your paper.