1 Specific theories related to the problem or issue.
2 What is known about the problem/issue from previous research studies.
3 What needs to be done to advance knowledge concerning the problem/issue.
Structuring your review
The literature review is not a shopping list. You should not write about one author, followed by another and then another. Instead, structure it into themes according to your thesis. You would then relate it to your own topic.
What texts do I include?
You do not need to include everything that you have read. Select the key theorists that have written about your subject, or different areas within your subject, and group them into themes which will provide your structure. You do not need to discuss every theory written by each writer; just include the theories relevant to your subject.
Here is the information you need to get onto a rough outline before you begin writing:
1. A list of concepts, theories, and variables related to the problem/issue that you’re writing about (and the sources these came from).
2. Underneath each concept, theory or variable, list what is known about it from previous research studies (i.e. results of research, supporting or refuting other points of view). Organize these into topics if necessary. 3. As you sort, list and think about your problem/issue, keep track of what isn’t known/what needs to be done concerning this problem. This can go into your conclusions.
Use your outline to guide your writing. Here’s the structure of a sample paragraph in your literature review that may help you if you have never written one before:
1. Introduce a concept / Make a point about a particular topic of research (topic sentence) +
2. Supported it with references or previous research results +
3. Add more support (explain any critical details or evidence) +
4. If there is information refuting (contradicting) the point made, add it