What are you writing? A literature review is not a one-by-one summary of your sources, but a synthesis or integration of them all. For a literature review, you want to focus on analyzing the sources you have examined from the point of view of your thesis/hypothesis. Keep in mind that the purpose of analyzing your reviewed sources is to convince your reader that your thesis or hypothesis is a good one.
How are you writing it? There are many ways to organize a literature review. You many want to group you sources in the form of a debate or compare and contrast, highlighting the similarities and differences between them. You could also decide to present your sources as they connect to the subtopics you establish as key to your thesis/hypothesis. Another possibility might be to discuss the sources in chronological order by their date of publication to show how a specific position or approach or concept important to your thesis/hypothesis may have come about.
On this page you will find a guide to the general structure of a literature review as well as suggestions for note-taking and outlining.
-Loosely adapted from the Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison
Remember that the literature review is about identifying patterns of connection in the published research on an issue or question. The following note-taking tool can help you visualize those patterns better. At the same time, this tool will help you translate the research into the terms of your own research project and facilitate your in-text citation when you begin to write. See below and download above.
For more information on how synthesis works in writing a literature review, watch this excellent short video: Synthesis for Literature Reviews by USU Libraries.