Literature Review Guidelines

Qualifying Exam Literature Review: An evidence-based, organized synthesis of the literature reviewed associated with your selected field

The purpose and organization will shift as you progress from the General Field —> Special Field —> Research Proposal (Prelim) –> Dissertation.

Be sure that you start with your General Field first before referring to your dissertation study.

What is a Literature Review as a Qualifying Exam and Within a Dissertation?

A literature review is not a narrative essay, but rather investigates and synthesizes existing scholarship in a way that provides context for the research study and informs and eventually justifies the research question/s, theoretical framework, and selected research methodology.

A literature review is more than a summary of the sources, it has an organizational pattern that combines both summary and synthesis. It should not merely be descriptive—it should present definitions, theories, debates, and research data in the field of interest. It should be a fair representation of the perspectives and voices of a range of scholars across the field. It should include the context of the study and evidence to support the claims being made.

Literature Review Workshop Videos

Please watch these videos prior to attending the live session where we will do some hands-on exercises and work on your draft together

Part 1: Dr. Kalantzis discusses in this video the purpose and content of the literature review

Part 2: Dr. Kalantzis discusses in this video the literature review genre and the type of writing that is required

Academic Phrases and Evidence-Based Verbs

This academic phrasebook can help you diversify how you present the findings from the literature that you have reviewed.

Tables and Figures

Tables and Figures

Also, you can include tables, infographics, videos, etc., but be sure to source them and demonstrate their relevance by connecting them in the nearby text. Be sure to cite them in captions. Best practice is to number them based on the chapter (Table 2.1, Table 2.2 while in Chapter 2).

Additional Help Resources

Please keep in mind our Exam-Dissertation Sequence Literature Review requirements when reviewing these other sources

Additional Resources for Writing a Lit Review

Literature Review Genre Checklist

In addition to the EDS Milestone Checklist and Rubrics, consider the following: