To give you some examples of writing a literature review and an article analysis matrix to keep track of the themes of your articles, I have created a partial literature review and corresponding analysis matrix to demonstrate. My topic is the special education early intervention program called First Step to Success (FSS)
Mastering synthetic writing is key to a successful literature review. Use these resources to learn how to analyze the articles you want to use for your literature review, keep track of common themes using an article analysis matrix, and how to convert the notes in the analysis matrix into a piece of synthetic writing.
Think of working on your literature review as a multi-step process:
Create a matrix by listing the articles you want to analyze in the top row of the matrix, and the major themes in the far left column. You will then review each article to see what themes are covered in that article. Check the appropriate boxes for what themes are discussed in each article. When you are done, you will be able to easily see which articles share common themes, and where there are gaps in the research regarding coverage of certain concepts.
|Article 1||Article 2||Article 3||Article 4|
|Technical vs. Social Work||X|
What does this example matrix tell you? What themes 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 (to include a place to record each study's research method, findings, or limitations). 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 the end for your literature review.
A literature review is not the same as a research paper. The point of a literature review is to synthesize the research of others without making a new argument or scholarly contribution. A literature review is also not an annotated bibliography. You should not write about each study you are reviewing in turn, but instead write synthetically to highlight the current state of the literature.
Key Points to Consider:
The sites below offer a range of considerations and steps for writing the literature review.