- 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?