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Literature Reviews in Education

Organizing your Literature Review

The sources you choose to use in your literature review and the research you're interested in doing yourself will help you determine the best way to organize your review. Here are some common options. 

Chronological - Organize by publication date to analyzing patterns, tracing trends, and key debates

Methodological - Useful when you want to compare results that emerge from different methodological approaches

Theoretical - Use when you you want to discuss, compare, contrast different theories, models, definitions of key concepts

Thematic - Use to highlight themes found in your research, such as policy, cultural attitudes, barriers to access, etc.

Contributing to the Conversation

Writing a literature review is taking part in a conversation about your topic and how it has been studied. Here are a few reminders as you begin to write: 

  • Summarize and synthesize the main points of each article. Combine these into one whole picture of the research you read. 
  • Analyze and interpret the research conclusions and discuss their significance. 
  • Evaluate the articles you read. Point out strengths of the research and discuss any weaknesses
  • Contact the Writing Center for advice and assistance with your writing.