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Literature Reviews

This guide will introduce you to how to conduct an effective literature review.

Organizing Structure

Once you've found your sources and taken notes, it's time to start writing!

Literature reviews can be structured in many different ways - they could be organized by method, chronology, trend, etc. The important thing is to highlight how these individual pieces of scholarship stand out and how they interconnect in the scholarly conversation on the topic.

Here's a basic checklist for the writing process:

  1. Review your notes
  2. Create an outline
  3. Write your first draft, being mindful of plagiarism by accurately citing your sources
  4. Compare your draft with your outline - does it match what you planned? Did you include everything you needed to include?
  5. Have someone review your work and share feedback
  6. Revise until done

For more suggestions on how to write a literature review, visit the Purdue OWL Literature Reviews page.

Meeting Your Writing Goals

Set writing goals to keep you on track. Small, specific, and frequent goals are often the most realistic and encourage continued progress. Some examples of goals include:

  • Writing at least 100 words
  • Reading over what you've written so far and adding comments to change for later
  • Completing a particular section of the review
  • Perfecting citations to your notes

Example Literature Reviews

Books on Writing

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