Before we go too far, keep in mind that we are only developing a
draft here. You and your Facilitator will be reviewing and developing
this Literature Review over and over again – adding more and more
elements until you are ready to turn in your final draft. According to
my calculations, that means you have eight more weeks to develop this,
since your final draft is not due until the end of your next course. So,
do not get too stressed out. Yes, we have a lot of work to do, but you
will have time to develop your skills.
Keep in mind that the purpose of your Literature Review is to merge
the research you are doing and illustrate it in a unique way. This means
it is more than just summarizing what you are reading, but helping your
reader understand what is out there about the subject and help them
interpret all that information.
To do that, you will need to choose a way to present your
discoveries. While there is no specific requirement about how your
information should be organized or structured, students commonly choose
one of two ways: Chronological or Thematic. We have provided a brief
description and example below to help you decide which approach might be
best for you.
This approach allows you
This approach allows the writer to synthesize
Example Chronological Outline
Example Thematic Outline
Okay – Did you chose an approach? Don’t worry, you can always switch,
but time is an issue for us. So, the best advice we can give is just
choose and approach and go with it. We can deal with revisions later,
but we need to get started.
Okay – Ready? – Here we go!
While a graduate or professional literature review may cite more than
100 sources, let’s not get too crazy! While this is not a specific
requirement, a good undergraduate literature review will reference
approximately 20 sources. This is enough to provide a basic foundation
through which to show your expertise. However, as you become more
familiar with your topic and begin to see the sources others have cited,
you may want to expand your review of the literature.
On the other hand, using limited sources means that you will need to
be very picky about what sources you choose to include. You will want to
be sure that the studies you are referencing clearly speak to your
topic and provide good evidence to support your conclusions.
Using your approach (Chronological or Thematic) begin your review. It
might help to use the following outline to help guide your review:
- – Describe the study or source
- – Compare studies, highlighting how they agree or disagree
- – Evaluate the
studies. Who was included? What was the size of the sample? Were their
ethical issues? Does the study address your research question?
- – What are the implications of this study?
In the Resource Section there are some example papers you can
reference. The Literature Reviews typically begin a few pages in. Your
facilitator might also be able to provide further explanation or provide
By the end of this week, you will need to submit a draft of your
Literature Review. At minimum, you should submit a working outline that
clearly indicates the sections of the literature review, even if the
writing related to some of these sections is undeveloped (meaning some
of it should be developed). Your Facilitator should be able to determine
that you have a firm grasp on the subject at large.