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5. Organizing the Literature Review - The Literature Review - LibGuides at The University of the West Indies

5. Organizing the Literature Review - The Literature Review - LibGuides at The University of the West Indies
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The Literature Review / 5. Organizing the Literature Review
The Literature Review: 5. Organizing
the Literature Review
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This guide provides an introduction to the conduct and organization of a literature review
1. Introduction
2. Why Do a Literature Review?
4. Analysing the Literature
1. Organizing Principles
3. Methods for Searching the Literature
5. Organizing the Literature Review
6. Writing the Review
2. Structure of the Literature Review
Although your literature review will rely heavily
A literature review is a
on the sources you read for its information, you
piece of discursive
should dictate the structure of the review. It is
prose, not a list
important that the concepts are presented in an
describing or
order that makes sense of the context of your
summarizing one piece
research project.
of literature after
another. It should have a
single organizing
Thematic organize around
a topic or issue
Chronological -
There may be clear divisions on the sets of
ideas you want to discuss, in which case your
structure may be fairly clear. This is an ideal
situation. In most cases, there will be several
different possible structures for your review.
Similarly to the structure of the research report
itself, the literature review consists of:
sections for each
vital time period
- focus on the
methods used by
Introduction - profile of the study
Define or identify the general topic to
provide the context for reviewing the
Outline why the topic is important
Identify overall trends in what has been
published about the topic
Identify conflicts in theory, methodology,
evidence, and conclusions
Identify gaps in research and
Explain the criteria to be used in
analysing and comparing the literature
Describe the organization of the review
5. Organizing the Literature Review - The Literature Review - LibGuides at The University of the West Indies
Describe the organization of the review
4. Selected Online
(the sequence)
If necessary, state why certain literature
is or is not included (scope)
Literature Review in
3. Tips on Structure
A common error in literature reviews
is for writers to present material
Education &
Body - summative, comparative, and evaluative
from one author, followed by
Behavioral Sciences
discussion of literature reviewed
information from another, then
This is an interactive
tutorial from Adelphi
For a thematic review:
another.... The way in which you
group authors and link ideas will
University Libraries
organize the review into paragraphs that
help avoid this problem. To group
on how to conduct a
present themes and identify trends
authors who draw similar
literature review in
relevant to your topic
conclusions, you can use linking
education and the
each paragraph should deal with a
words such as:
behavioural sciences
different theme - you need to synthesize
using library
several of your readings into each
paragraph in such a way that there is a
Writing Literature
clear connection between the sources
don't try to list all the materials you have
This tutorial is from
identified in your literature search
the Writing section of
Monash University's
Language and
From each of the section summaries:
Learning Online site
When authors disagree, linking
words that indicate contrast will
show how you have analysed their
work. Words such as:
summarize the main agreements and
The Literature
disagreements in the literature
Review: A Few Tips
summarize the general conclusions that
on the other hand
on Conducting It
have been drawn
This guide is from
establish where your own research fits
the Health Services
in the context of the existing literature
Writing Centre at the
University of Toronto
Learn How to Write a
Review of the
This guide is part of
the Writer's
Handbook provided
by the Writing Center
will indicate to your reader how you
have analysed the material. At other
times, you may want to qualify an
author's work (using such words as
specifically, usually, or generally) or
use an example (thus, namely, to
illustrate). In this way you ensure
that you are synthesizing the
material, not just describing the
work already carried out in your
at the University of
Another major problem is that
literature reviews are often written
as if they stand alone, without links
to the rest of the paper. There needs
to be a clear relationship between
the literature review and the
methodology to follow.
5. Organizing the Literature Review - The Literature Review - LibGuides at The University of the West Indies
5. A Final Checklist
Have you indicated the purpose of the
Have you emphasized recent
Is there a logic to the way you organized
the material?
Does the amount of detail included on
an issue relate to its importance?
Have you been sufficiently critical of
design and methodological issues?
Have you indicated when results were
conflicting or inconclusive and discussed
possible reasons?
Has your summary of the current
literature contributed to the reader's
understanding of the problems?
Last Updated: Oct 22, 2019 10:56 AM
Subjects: Research
URL: https://libguides.uwi.edu/litreviewsoe
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Tags: academic_research, literature_review, lit_review, review_of_literature