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Prepared by University of Waterloo

About Literature Reviews

This guide will help you to plan and write literature reviews during your post-secondary education.

What will I learn?

By successfully completing the sections included in this guide, you will be able to

  • identify the parts of a literature review and understand readers’ expectations for each section,
  • develop a research strategy and use the Matrix Method to organize your research,
  • apply research, analysis, and writing strategies, and
  • present an organized and clearly written literature review that follows disciplinary and academic conventions.

How is this guide organized?

This guide includes six sections:

  1. Overview Background information about literature reviews.
  2. Planning and Researching Practical steps to plan and complete literature reviews.
  3. Parts of a Literature Review Strategies for writing each section of your literature review.
  4. Critical Writing Skills Techniques for incorporating your research and using academic writing conventions.
  5. Revising Your Work Advice about evaluating your draft and improving clarity.
  6. Resources A list of resources used in this guide and additional aids for students.

How will I learn?

In these sections, you will find a Literature Review Template, Sample Literature Reviews from different disciplines, and a Review Matrix.

Each part of the guide will engage you in a variety of ways to help you develop greater confidence and skills to write your literature review. Specifically, the following will be included:

  • Clear, concise, and easy to read text
  • Self-assessment questions
  • Worksheets and templates
  • Annotated literature review examples
  • References to helpful resources
  • Summaries of key points to remember

Let's Get Started!

Let's begin with Section A: Overview.

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