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GESL 580 Action Research: The Literature Review Paper

What is a Literature Review?

A thorough and comprehensive examination of the research and/or theory relevant to a topic. A literature review analyzes and integrates scholarly research and theory in an organized, prose fashion.

Purpose of a Literature Review

As a means of disseminating information to scholars in a particular discipline the literature review has four purposes:

  • to describe work done on a specific area of research 
  • to evaluate this work
  • to identify areas of controversy in the literature
  • to formulate questions that need to be addressed further

How to Read and Understand a Scholarly Article.


Literature Review Worksheet

This worksheet can be used to organize your research articles or book chapters

Structure of a Literature Review

A literature review has three main parts:

The Introduction

  • Define the problem or state the thesis.

  • Identify trends in what has been published on the topic.  Identify conflicts, methodology, evidence, gaps in research and new perspectives on the topic.

  • State the reason for reviewing the literature; explain how you will analyze and compare the articles; explain why certain articles are or are not included.

The Body

  • Describe the articles or documents in detail.

  • Group articles together according to types (such as case studies, reviews, empirical studies), the authors' conclusions, or the articles' purposes. 

  • Compare and evaluate the articles or documents.

The Conclusion

  • Summarize the major contributions of the articles or documents to the topic. 

  • Evaluate the current state of the research for the topic.  Explain inconsistencies, gaps in research, and point out issues that need to be studied further. 

  • Provide insight into the relationship between the topic under review and the larger discipline of which it is a part.  Provide implications of the studies or documents discussed for the profession or discipline at large.    

Creating an Academic Poster

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