A Blog of Writing Resources from The University of Scranton's Writing Center

Tag: Literature Reviews

Our Favorite Resource for Literature Reviews

Our favorite resource for literature reviews was created by The University of Waterloo.  First, these modules define what literature reviews are, where they appear, and  why they are beneficial. The website talks about discipline-specific writing conventions and the different organizational approaches. Then, it walks writers through the process of composing literature reviews in a highly visual and interactive guide.  The images, in particular, can help writers understand the various forms of knowledge gaps. Ultimately, this is  a quick but highly beneficial resource that can guide novice writers who are unfamiliar with the conventions of literature reviews.  

      1.  Here’s the entire guide
      2. Here’s the recommended writing  schedule
      3. Here’s an annotated sample paper
      4. Here’s a template to help guide your writing process 

A Literature Review Matrix

A matrix is a tool that allows you to quickly compare and contrast  multiple sources by placing their aims,  methods, and findings in  one chart.  These tables  allow you to see similarities or distinctions in methodologies, limitations, and findings in studies with related aims so you can look at a field more globally to identify a  niche to explore, or a new direction to pursue, or a potential knowledge gap. By comparing multiple sources through this method you can quickly identify commonalities and key differences that will allow you to propose a unique thesis or a potential research design for future inquiry. While you do not have to use a matrix to write a literature review, it is a great resource in seeing relationships between studies, and it becomes more essential as you examine more and more sources.

Here is an example of a matrix  with common elements; however, the categories of a matrix are usually dependent on the specific discipline, so feel free to adjust this document  in a way that best serves your research.

Literature Review Matrix



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