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How to Write a Literature Review

A self-guided tutorial that walks you through the process of conducting a Literature Review.

Critically analyze and evaluate

Critically analyze and evaluate

Ask yourself questions like these about each book or article you include:

  1. What is the research question?
  2. What is the primary methodology used?
  3. How was the data gathered?
  4. How is the data presented?
  5. What are the main conclusions?
  6. Are these conclusions reasonable?
  7. What theories are used to support the researcher's conclusions?

Take notes on the articles as you read them and identify any themes or concepts that may apply to your research question.

This sample template (below) may also be useful for critically reading and organizing your articles. Or you can use this online form and email yourself a copy.

Tip: Read and Annotate PDFs!

Opening an article in PDF format in Acrobat Reader will allow you to use "sticky notes" and "highlighting" to make notes on the article without printing it out. Make sure to save the edited file so you don't lose your notes!

Some Citation Managers like Mendeley also have highlighting and annotation features.Here's a screen capture of a pdf in Mendeley with highlighting, notes, and various colors:

Screen capture of Mendeley desktop showing note, highlight, and color tools. Tips include adding notes and highlighting, and using different colors for other purposes like quotations

Screen capture from a UO Librarian's Mendeley Desktop app

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