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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

Examples

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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IMAGES

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  3. PDF LITERATURE REVIEWS

    A guide to writing a targeted and effective literature review for a sociology project, with tips, examples, and sources. Learn how to explain key terms, motivate your research, evaluate sources, and situate your thesis in the literature.

  4. Literature Review Example (PDF + Template)

    The literature review opening/introduction section; The theoretical framework (or foundation of theory) The empirical research; The research gap; The closing section; We then progress to the sample literature review (from an A-grade Master's-level dissertation) to show how these concepts are applied in the literature review chapter. You can ...

  5. PDF How to Write a Literature Review

    A literature review is a review or discussion of the current published material available on a particular topic. It attempts to synthesizeand evaluatethe material and information according to the research question(s), thesis, and central theme(s). In other words, instead of supporting an argument, or simply making a list of summarized research ...

  6. How to Write a Literature Review

    Learn how to conduct a literature review for your thesis, dissertation, or research paper with this step-by-step guide. Find examples, templates, and tips for searching, evaluating, and writing literature reviews.

  7. PDF How to Write a Literature Review

    literature review and a larger area of study such as a discipline, a scientific endeavor, or a profession. ... Using past tense emphasizes the researcher's agency. Examples: Jones (1997) investigated the causes of illiteracy; The causes of illiteracy were investigated by Jones (1997). Common uses: reference to single studies; focus

  8. PDF Sample Chapter: Writing the Literature Review: A Practical Guide

    Learn how to conduct a literature review for your research project, thesis, or dissertation. This book offers an introduction to the process, purposes, and contributions of a literature review, as well as tips and examples.

  9. PDF Literature Reviews

    What is a literature review, then? A literature review discusses published information in a particular subject area, and sometimes information in a particular subject area within a certain time period. A literature review can be just a simple summary of the sources, but it usually has an organizational pattern and combines both summary and ...

  10. PDF Conducting Your Literature Review

    Conducting Your Literature Review. 3. A. literature reviewis an overview of the available research for a specific scientific topic. Literature reviews summarize existing research to answer a review question, provide the context for new research, or identify important gaps in the existing body of literature. We now have access to lots of ...

  11. PDF Writing a Literature Review

    Your introduction should give an outline of why you are writing the review, and why the topic is important. ü "the scope of the review — what aspects of the topic will be discussed. ü the criteria used for your literature selection (e.g. type of sources used, date range) ü the organisational pattern of the review" (Citewrite, 2016 ...

  12. PDF Literature Review APA 7th Edition

    begins her literature review with some background on her topic. Commented [A2]: Here, the author uses a statement at the end of her introduction to let her audience know that this is a literature review, not a traditional essay. Commented [A3]: The focus in a literature review is on summarizing and synthesizing source information.

  13. PDF Literature Review

    Literature Review The purpose of a literature review is to look at what has been done and use that information to design new research on the 'blank spots or blind spots' - the things that might be missing or the things we don't see. Below is some extracts from an example of a very short literature review for an undergraduate assignment.

  14. PDF CHAPTER 3 Conducting a Literature Review

    Learn how to write a quality academic literature review with this chapter from a research methods textbook. It covers the purpose, steps, skills, and pitfalls of conducting a literature review, with examples and tips.

  15. PDF Sample Literature Review

    Sample Literature Review. This is a literature review I wrote for Psychology 109 / Research Methods I. It received an A. The assignment was to read a variety of assigned articles related to the topic of food and mood, as well as several articles on the topic that we found on our own. Then, we were to write a literature review in which we ...

  16. PDF The Thesis Writing Process and Literature Review

    Primary Categories of Literature that Relate to Your Thesis. There are three basic categories of literature that you'll likely draw on: (1) The literature(s) from which you develop the theoretical/empirical puzzle that drives your research question. (2) The literature(s) on the substantive case/datayou're examining.

  17. PDF The following literature review was

    The literature review should be 4 to 5 double-spaced pages—slightly longer than the literature review in a typical journal article. This sample literature review is more comprehensive (meaning it draws on more sources) than many class assignments but less comprehensive than literature reviews for a thesis or dissertation.

  18. (PDF) Writing a Literature Review Research Paper: A step-by-step approach

    A literature review is a surveys scholarly articles, books and other sources relevant to a particular. issue, area of research, or theory, and by so doing, providing a description, summary, and ...

  19. PDF B.S. Research Paper Example (Literature Review)

    B.S. Research Paper Example (Literature Review) This is an example of a research paper that was written in fulfillment of the B.S. research paper requirement. It uses APA style for all aspects except the cover sheet (this page; the cover sheet is required by the department). It describes research that the author investigated while taking the ...

  20. Literature Review: Conducting & Writing

    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!

  21. PDF Writing an Effective Literature Review

    begin by clearing up some misconceptions about what a literature review is and what it is not. Then, I will break the process down into a series of simple steps, looking at examples along the way. In the end, I hope you will have a simple, practical strategy to write an effective literature review.

  22. Free Literature Review Template (Word Doc & PDF)

    The literature review template includes the following sections: 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.

  23. (PDF) The Literature Review

    The Literature Review. September 2015. DOI: 10.23912/978-1-910158-51-7-2790. In book: Research Methods for Business and Management. Publisher: Goodfellow Publishers Limited. Editors: Robert ...

  24. Review of Related Literature (RRL) in Research

    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