Organising Your Literature Review
Since your research question sets the focus for your research, this helps in ensuring the material you set is centred specifically on your topic.
Contextualise your study by referring more generally to some key overall points – but don’t go into any great depth yet.
As you go into more detail about literature related to your specific research question, you are likely to unpack and critically evaluate this material. So it is these studies closest to your research question where you need to devote the most attention.
View the example section of a literature review, under the activities section on the right-hand side of the screen. This example is in APA style and has been annotated to draw attention to key structural features.
The review of your literature should be organised into sections and sub-sections. A summary at the end of each major section enables you to effectively emphasise the key points being made and overall evaluative statements for the section.
The introductory paragraph should set the boundaries of the literature review and provide an overview of the whole literature review.
Based on the conceptual framework or mind map suggested earlier, organise the literature review into areas and themes, with summaries and critical analyses of both supporting and contending literature (information prominent). In this way, you will avoid a simplistic list of what each different author or study has written on your topic (authorial prominent).
For more information on information and authorial prominent styles of referencing, go to the Quoting section of the Better Referencing program.
The key throughout is to connect the literature reviewed to the research question.
The literature review should be information prominent and not authorial prominent.
Avoid the ‘shopping list’ of items or elements that are not logically, thematically and coherently organised.
A critical literature review is organised in terms of conceptual themes.
Click on the NEXT PAGE button at the bottom of the screen to go to the next section.