SMHS Literature Review

Learn to write a systematic review of literature.

Analyze Information

  • Once you've collected, read, noted, and saved your citations and resources you should begin to see patterns
  • ​Skim your notes to sort out themes (methodologies, data, results, etc.) 
  • In each theme, are you noticing any chronological or structural order? If so, make note of that information
    • Does a topic develop over time 
    • Do authors agree with each other or disagree on methodology or conclusions
    • What strengths or weaknesses did you find in the literature
  • Don't forget that you're trying to relate this literature to the story you wish to tell and you may find some of your articles fall out of your scope--make note of that to determine whether to mention them or not--talk to your professor about out of scope titles

Remember to evaluate your resources

In writing a literature review skilled researchers evaluate their sources and evidence very carefully. For example, they ask such questions as:

  • Who funded the research studies? 
  • Who actually performed the research?
  • When and where were the studies carried out?
  • What were the political, socio-economic, religious, etc. conditions at the time of the research?
  • Is there any reason to suspect that the methodology or the interpretation of the results were restrained by some authority?