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Literature Reviews

Approaches to Writing

As you write your review, consider these ways of expressing your ideas:

  • Compare and contrast views of different authors.
  • Criticize previous work.
  • Highlight gaps in existing research.
  • Show how your work relates to previous work.
  • Identify problems, conflicts, debates, gaps.
  • Define a research area in a new way.
  • Question previous results.

From: Writing the successful thesis and dissertation, p. 111
by Irene L. Clark

Synthesizing the Literature

Some helpful tips for preparing your synthesis of the literature!

  • Compare and contrast the results of each study.
  • Assign codes to main discussion points in each study.
  • Developing themes, grouping together codes.
  • Compare and link the codes and themes.
  • Work with codes and themes that do not support each other.
  • Discuss of the strength of the evidence.
  • Be aware of results that appear too neat.
  • Be creative!
  • Write up YOUR results, telling a story with your data.
  • Organize themes in logical order.
  • Answer your research question.
  • Incorporate your critical appraisal.
  • How well does your information address your research question?

From Doing a Literature Review in Health and Social Care: 
A Practical Guide 
by Helen Aveyard


Correctly Referencing Your Sources - Avoiding Plagiarism

Explore the resources listed below to learn more about how to avoid plagiarism and correctly citing the ideas of others:

Writing Your Literature Review

The sites below offer a range of considerations and steps for writing the literature review.

Books About Doing/Writing Literature Reviews

Suggestions for your reading pleasure!