Skip to Main Content

Writing Literature Reviews

Organizing a Literature Review

Your literature review should have the following components:

  • Introduction: Provide an overview of your topic, including the major problems and issues that have been studied.
  • Body: This is where you actually talk about the literature and your findings. There are a few different ways you can structure this section. Your professor may have a preference, so be sure to ask them first. 
    • Thematic: You may have noticed specific themes emerge as you did your reading; if so, this may be a good way to organize your literature review. 
    • Chronological: To use the example above, you may have observed that the way principals deal with behavioral problems has changed over time. If that's the case, perhaps you want to give a historical overview of the literature.
    • Methodological: There are a number of different types of methodologies used in research.
  • Conclusion/Discussion: Summarize what you've found in your review of literature, and identify areas in need of further research. Make sure to mention any gaps in the literature - things you think should have been researched, but were not.