Free literature review template 07Free literature review template 07Free literature review template 07
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Organizing a Literature Review

A. Scan all articles first by reading the following sections:
1. Abstract
2. First few paragraphs
3. Last paragraph before Methods section (includes research questions, purpose statement,
hypotheses)
4. Discussion section
B. Group/stack articles into categories based on what you’ve scanned:
a. First, by topic
b. Next, by subtopic
c. Next, by chronology within subtopics
C. Construct a literature table:
a. Try to read articles within same category together
b. Begin to note most common overall themes/variables (see mind mapping)*
c. Use these themes as headings in your literature table
d. These themes will then become major elements in your outline
e. These elements will then become headings and subheadings in your literature review.

*Mind Mapping:
1. Write down all ideas that you’ve identified from reading the literature. Don’t worry about how these
ideas fit together.
2. Identify gaps in the research
3. Connect ideas with lines to show that they’re relat