Literature Reviews


Writing a Literature Review: primarily for doctoral students working on their proposal or dissertation, but open to all. This module explores the different types of literature review (narrative, systematic/integrative, focused) and strategies for managing the information. For L2 writers, particular attention is paid to linguistic resources for synthesizing and comparing sources as well as to metadiscourse (organizing language). The need for accurate paraphrasing and citation is discussed, and students are referred to the Library or Writing Center for further support. Students are encouraged to take this module while they are working on a literature review for a class, proposal, thesis, or dissertation.


Required textbook: Feak & Swales, Telling a Research Story: Writing a Literature Review (Michigan, 2009). Available from the UD Bookstore.

By the second meeting, you should have collected and read a number of sources for your literature review. Bring them to all meetings.

You should have an active literature review assignment/task to benefit from this module.

Readings and Tasks

Week Prepare before class In class

Read p. 1-22. Do task 3 for your current lit review.

What are the parameters of your lit review?

Task 2 (check list)

Types of literature review

Task 4 (p. 7-8)

Organization strategies


Choose one of the organization strategies on p. 12-16 and apply it your literature so far collected.

Read this blog post on 5 key strategies for organizing a lit review.

Read p. 23-32

Peer review organizational matrices

Write your opening paragraph or page

Introduction to paraphrasing (p. 81-86)

3 Read p. 86-92. Write a one-paragraph summary of 2 related articles from your research.

Peer review summaries for paraphrasing

Synthesizing sources and citing (p. 42-51)

Explore MICUSP lit reviews in your field

4 Metadiscourse (p. 33-38)

Practice identifying and writing metadiscourse

Stance (p. 71-75 + handout)

Creative Commons License
This Graduate Communication Support Initiative module was designed by Nigel Caplan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This version: 12/29/16

Print Friendly, PDF & Email