Skip to Main Content

How to do a literature review: Writing Your Review

Approaches to Writing

As you write your review, consider these ways of working with and then possibly writing about the material you are finding:

  • Compare and contrast views of different authors.
  • Criticize previous work.
  • Highlight gaps in existing research.
  • Show how your work relates to previous work.
  • Identify problems, conflicts, debates.
  • Define a research area in a new way.
  • Question previous results.

From:   Writing the successful thesis and dissertation by Irene L. Clark (p. 111).
You can read this book online through the KSU Library.

Synthesizing the Literature

Some helpful tips for preparing your synthesis of the literature!

From Doing a Literature Review in Health and Social Care: A Practical Guide by Helen Aveyard

  • Compare and contrast the results of each study.
  • Assign codes to main discussion points in each study.
  • Developing themes, grouping together codes.
  • Compare and link the codes and themes.
  • Work with codes and themes that do not support each other.
  • Discuss of the strength of the evidence.
  • Be aware of results that appear too neat.
  • Be creative!
  • Write up YOUR results, telling a story with your data.
  • Organize themes in logical order.
  • Answer your research question.
  • Incorporate your critical appraisal.
  • How well does your information address your research question?

The 2007 edition of this book is in the KSU Libraries collection.
You can read the 2nd ed. (2010) of this book online.


Writing at KSU

The Writing Commons helps all Kent State University students -- from first year students to doctoral candidates -- with any writing projects they have, in any course or program. They help with all parts of the composing and revising process: from understanding assignments and getting started, to generating and organizing ideas, to working with grammar and documenting sources.They can also help students with projects outside of school, such as graduate school application essays and writing for publication. All writers on campus can benefit from the feedback and support the Writing Commons provides.

Writing Your Literature Review

The sites below offer a range of considerations and steps for writing the literature review.

Correctly Referencing Your Sources - Avoiding Plagiarism

Recommended Reading!

The Complete Guide to Referencing and Avoiding Plagiarism

You can read this book online!

Chapter titles:

  1. The ‘shock’ of referencing
  2. Why reference?
  3. The ‘what’ and ‘when’ of referencing
  4. Plagiarism
  5. Referencing styles
  6. Name–date (Harvard) style of referencing
  7. Frequently asked questions
  8. How to express your own ideas in assignments
  9. Referencing in action: example references 

More Recommended Reading!

Explore the resources listed below to learn more about how to avoid plagiarism and correctly citing the ideas of others: