What is a literature review?
Format of the Literature Review:
Give your thesis a descriptive, scholarly title. People should know what the study is about from reading the title.
Your introduction should include some sort of attention-getter, transition to topic, statement of significance of topic, relevant sources, a brief description of what your study is all about, and a preview of what will follow in the body of the literature review (past research). You can pull information for the intro from your sources you will use in the body of the literature review, but credible information from popular sources can also be used.
The Literature Review
You will present relevant findings and issues from your research articles in your literature review. Decide on what organization pattern makes sense for organizing the studies into a coherent presentation: chronological, categorical/topic, general-to-specific, known to unknown, etc. Try to follow the models of the research articles you’re reading and the textbook’s description of previous research as closely as possible. You will not include ALL the information from each study; rather you will use each study to help you advance the necessary definitions, context, explanation and rationalization for variables, gaps, and the argument your paper is making (i.e., the rationale for your study). Your goal in this section is to synthesize information from the studies into a meaningful presentation.
Your study rationale is the last part of the body section of your literature review. This is where you explain the thinking that leads to your research questions or hypotheses (you’ll draw upon the past literature to do this—your hypotheses may be extending a previous study, filling a gap you’ve identified, etc.). What research questions or hypotheses can you derive from your examination of the previous literature? While you may have some research questions that relate to HOW youth use media that you won’t be able to answer through the research that YOU will undertake, you should also have a research question that relates to the original study of youth media that you will do (e.g., studying the content of websites/Q-A columns, etc.).
Material adapted from the University of Arizona Library website