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Education: Resources for Research: Write & Cite

This guide was created to support the research needs of education students

APA Citation 7th ed.

Basic Guidelines for Writing a Literature Review


Overall purpose: to summarize and synthesize the arguments and ideas presented in a body of

literature related to your research question

  • Which literature to include
    • Empirical studies- Empirical studies refer to the collection and analysis of primary data based on direct observation or experiences in the field. 
      • Old and new
    • Seminal articles- Seminal works, sometimes called pivotal or landmark studies, are articles that initially presented an idea of great importance or influence within a particular discipline.
    • Current articles
    • Literature reviews that have been published before
  • Organization
    • Organize around the ideas, rather than the articles
  • General structure
    • Introduction; statement of scope
    • Themes, each in turn
    • As listed in the introduction
    • Each closing with a very brief summary, if they are more than a
    • paragraph or two
    • Conclusion: connecting the literature to your research question
  • Writing tips
    • Use evidence
    • Be selective
    • For a particular article, you don’t need to report everything discovered
    • You don’t need to include every article you find
    • Use quotes sparingly
    • Keep your own voice
    • Be clear about which ideas are yours and which are from the sources you’ve read
    • Use caution when paraphrasing
    • Be accurate
    • Use your own words
    • Use headings to help the reader

Choosing and narrowing a research topic

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