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Literature Review: Conducting & Writing

  • Sample Literature Reviews
  • Steps for Conducting a Lit Review
  • Finding "The Literature"
  • Organizing/Writing
  • APA Style This link opens in a new window
  • Chicago: Notes Bibliography This link opens in a new window
  • MLA Style This link opens in a new window

Sample Lit Reviews from Communication Arts

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  • Last Updated: Mar 22, 2024 9:37 AM
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What’s Included: Literature Review Template

This template is structure is based on the tried and trusted best-practice format for formal academic research projects such as dissertations and theses. The literature review template includes the following sections:

  • Before you start – essential groundwork to ensure you’re ready
  • The introduction section
  • The core/body section
  • The conclusion /summary
  • Extra free resources

Each section is explained in plain, straightforward language , followed by an overview of the key elements that you need to cover. We’ve also included practical examples and links to more free videos and guides to help you understand exactly what’s required in each section.

The cleanly-formatted Google Doc can be downloaded as a fully editable MS Word Document (DOCX format), so you can use it as-is or convert it to LaTeX.

PS – if you’d like a high-level template for the entire thesis, you can we’ve got that too .

FAQs: Literature Review Template

What format is the template (doc, pdf, ppt, etc.).

The literature review chapter template is provided as a Google Doc. You can download it in MS Word format or make a copy to your Google Drive. You’re also welcome to convert it to whatever format works best for you, such as LaTeX or PDF.

What types of literature reviews can this template be used for?

The template follows the standard format for academic literature reviews, which means it will be suitable for the vast majority of academic research projects (especially those within the sciences), whether they are qualitative or quantitative in terms of design.

Keep in mind that the exact requirements for the literature review chapter will vary between universities and degree programs. These are typically minor, but it’s always a good idea to double-check your university’s requirements before you finalize your structure.

Is this template for an undergrad, Master or PhD-level thesis?

This template can be used for a literature review at any level of study. Doctoral-level projects typically require the literature review to be more extensive/comprehensive, but the structure will typically remain the same.

Can I modify the template to suit my topic/area?

Absolutely. While the template provides a general structure, you should adapt it to fit the specific requirements and focus of your literature review.

What structural style does this literature review template use?

The template assumes a thematic structure (as opposed to a chronological or methodological structure), as this is the most common approach. However, this is only one dimension of the template, so it will still be useful if you are adopting a different structure.

Does this template include the Excel literature catalog?

No, that is a separate template, which you can download for free here . This template is for the write-up of the actual literature review chapter, whereas the catalog is for use during the literature sourcing and sorting phase.

How long should the literature review chapter be?

This depends on your university’s specific requirements, so it’s best to check with them. As a general ballpark, literature reviews for Masters-level projects are usually 2,000 – 3,000 words in length, while Doctoral-level projects can reach multiples of this.

Can I include literature that contradicts my hypothesis?

Yes, it’s important to acknowledge and discuss literature that presents different viewpoints or contradicts your hypothesis. So, don’t shy away from existing research that takes an opposing view to yours.

How do I avoid plagiarism in my literature review?

Always cite your sources correctly and paraphrase ideas in your own words while maintaining the original meaning. You can always check our plagiarism score before submitting your work to help ease your mind. 

Do you have an example of a populated template?

We provide a walkthrough of the template and review an example of a high-quality literature research chapter here .

Can I share this literature review template with my friends/colleagues?

Yes, you’re welcome to share this template in its original format (no editing allowed). If you want to post about it on your blog or social media, all we ask is that you reference this page as your source.

Do you have templates for the other dissertation/thesis chapters?

Yes, we do. You can find our full collection of templates here .

Can Grad Coach help me with my literature review?

Yes, you’re welcome to get in touch with us to discuss our private coaching services , where we can help you work through the literature review chapter (and any other chapters).

Free Webinar: Literature Review 101


Review of Related Literature (RRL) in Research

Ai generator.

1. Introduction: This review explores research on social media’s impact on mental health, focusing on anxiety and depression, over the past ten years.

2. Theoretical Framework: Anchored in Social Comparison Theory and Uses and Gratifications Theory, this review examines how social media interactions affect mental health.

3. Review of Empirical Studies

Adolescents’ Mental Health

  • Instagram & Body Image : Smith & Johnson (2017) linked Instagram use to body image issues and lower self-esteem in 500 high school students.
  • Facebook & Anxiety : Brown & Green (2016) reported higher anxiety and depressive symptoms with Facebook use in a longitudinal study of 300 students.

Young Adults’ Mental Health

  • Twitter & Stress : Davis & Lee (2018) showed higher stress levels among heavy Twitter users in a survey of 400 university students.
  • LinkedIn & Self-Esteem : Miller & White (2019) found LinkedIn use positively influenced professional self-esteem in 200 young professionals.

Adults’ Mental Health

  • General Social Media Use : Thompson & Evans (2020) found moderate social media use linked to better mental health, while excessive use correlated with higher anxiety and depression in 1,000 adults.

4. Methodological Review: Studies used cross-sectional surveys, longitudinal designs, and mixed methods. Cross-sectional surveys provided large data sets but couldn’t infer causation. Longitudinal studies offered insights into long-term effects but were resource-intensive. Mixed methods enriched data with qualitative insights but required careful integration.

5. Synthesis and Critique: The literature shows a complex relationship between social media use and mental health, with platform-specific and demographic-specific effects. However, reliance on self-reported data introduces bias, and many studies limit causal inference. More longitudinal and experimental research is needed.

6. Conclusion: Current research offers insights into social media’s mental health impact but leaves gaps, particularly regarding long-term effects and causation. This study aims to address these gaps through comprehensive longitudinal analysis.

7. References

  • Brown, A., & Green, K. (2016). Facebook Use and Anxiety Among High School Students . Psychology in the Schools, 53(3), 257-264.
  • Davis, R., & Lee, S. (2018). Twitter and Psychological Stress: A Study of University Students . Journal of College Student Development, 59(2), 120-135.
  • Miller, P., & White, H. (2019). LinkedIn and Its Effect on Professional Self-Esteem . Journal of Applied Psychology, 104(1), 78-90.
  • Smith, J., & Johnson, L. (2017). The Impact of Instagram on Teen Body Image . Journal of Adolescent Health, 60(5), 555-560.
  • Thompson, M., & Evans, D. (2020). The Relationship Between Social Media Use and Mental Health in Adults . Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 23(4), 201-208.


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    Steps for Conducting a Lit Review; Finding "The Literature" Organizing/Writing; APA Style This link opens in a new window; Chicago: Notes Bibliography This link opens in a new window; MLA Style This link opens in a new window; Sample Literature Reviews. Sample Lit Reviews from Communication Arts; Have an exemplary literature review? Get Help!

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