Writing a Literature Review
Assistant Professor/Education Reference Librarian
University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, McIntyre Library
What is a literature review?
• A description or account of the literature that
has been published relevant to a particular
field or topic.
• an overview of significant literature published
on a topic.
• Not necessarily an analysis (review) of the
sources, but specifies which literature makes
significant contributions to the understanding
of the topic.
Literature Review vs.
Literature Review Research Paper
• a synthesis and • Uses sources to
summary of other support your
people’s arguments argument or idea
• Emphasis on the • Emphasis is on the
sources, not the argument, not the
A Four Step Process…
1. Pick a topic and determine its component
2. Literature Search
3. Data Evaluation
4. Analysis and Interpretation
• Find a focus
• Construct a thesis statement
• Plan your organization
• Body – organization within the body!
• Guidelines & Tips
• Use evidence
• Be selective
• Use quotes in moderation
• Summarize & Synthesize
• Maintain your own voice
• Use care when paraphrasing
• Don’t start each paragraph the same
way (stating the author’s name, for
• Don’t just list each source one after the
other with a description or summary.
• The narrower your topic, the easier it
will be to get a good survey of the
University of California – Santa Cruz. How to Write a Literature Review. Accessed
online at http://library.ucsc.edu/ref/howto/literaturereview.html
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Literature Reviews. Accessed online at
University of Toronto. Writing at the University of Toronto: The Literature Review.
Accessed online at http://www.utoronto.ca/writing/litrev.html