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Writing a lit review


  • Identify or define your research topic
  • Discuss
    • Trends in prior publications
    • Conflicts in theory, methodology, evidence, or conclusions
    • Gaps in research or scholarship
    • New perspectives or recent theories
  • Explain
    • Scope of your review
    • Your point of view on the topic
    • Organization of your review
    • Your criteria for analysis and comparison


  • Organize your sources
    • Qualitative vs quantitative
    • Purpose or orbjective
    • Chronological
    • Type of publication
  • Summarize each publication
    • Detail and length of summary denotes importance
  • Summarize intermediate points of comparison and analysis


  • Summarize major publications reviewed
    • Emphasize your aspect of the research topic
  • Evaluate current knowledge on the topic
    • Point out gaps in research or findings
    • Note possible future areas of research or study
  • Provide insight on relationship between your research topic and larger discipline

The Writing Center can assist with organizing, editing, proofreading, and revising literature reviews.

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College Librarians provide assistance with research, purchasing materials and access, classroom assignment design, information skills sessions, and distance education needs. Find their contact information on this page.