Writing literature reviews

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Writing literature reviews is a common activity as a master’s learner. Literature reviews require you to gather, gain, and synthesize ideas within your field, becoming more familiar with the scholarly journals and research in the field. You gain an understanding of what is known and not known on a particular subject.


  • Assignment: Write your Literature Review to practice your critical thinking and writing skills. (30% of grade.)
  • What You Need to Know: Review resources that provide information to help you complete your Literature Review.
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  • Assignment Overview

For your assignment this week, write a paper that synthesizes the resources you found for your annotated bibliography into a literature review.

  • What You Need to Know

Literature Review Resources

Writing a literature review in your field is one of the most helpful things you will learn to do as a graduate learner. Every time you write a literature review, you gather, gain, and synthesize ideas from within your field. By doing so, you add to the depth of your knowledge. The following resources will provide you with the tools to complete your assignment this week:

Synthesis Example

Synthesis is a critical thinking skill that can be challenging to master. Read through the following example to better understand how to reach synthesis in your paper:

For this assignment, you will write a literature review. Now that you have found resources related to your research question and summarized them in your annotated bibliography, the next step is to look further into how they relate to each other and shed light on your research question. Not only will you be writing literature reviews in some of your future courses at Capella, but these skills will also help you in your future career in whatever specialization you pursue.

For example, as an addictions counselor, you might need to develop a treatment plan that is suited to a particular situation. You will need to turn to the literature to understand what is known and what is not about that situation. Using critical thinking skills, you can find themes and determine what course of action your treatment plan should take. Behavior analysts also rely on the literature to determine evidence-based practices when assessing, setting goals, and developing support plans for clients and students.

Complete the following if you have not already:

  • Analyze the sources you found for your annotated bibliography and identify key themes.
  • Review the Literature Review Template [DOC]you will use to write your paper.

Writing literature reviews Instructions

Complete the following in your assignment template:


State your research question, and explain how it relates to your specialization and professional interests. Use the research question you developed for your annotated bibliography. Be sure to integrate any feedback you received from your instructor.

Synthesis of Literature Into a Cohesive Review

In the preparation study in Week 5, you identified at least three key themes, or focuses of inquiry, that are relevant to your research question and present in each article. These themes may be based on:

  • Related aspects of research questions.
  • Related or differing conclusions.
  • Other factors or ideas the studies have in common.
  • Other points of contrast between the studies.

Use concise formulations of these themes as headings for the next sections of the paper. In these sections, compare and contrast your resources’ positions relative to each theme, and then synthesize your own position relative to the theme. Support your conclusions by citing your references.

Granello’s 2001 article, “Promoting Cognitive Complexity in Graduate Written Work: Using Bloom’s Taxonomy as a Pedagogical Tool to Improve Literature Reviews,” provides a framework and strategies to help you work through this part of your assignment.


Restate the conclusions you came to regarding the themes you explored with your research. Support your conclusions by citing your references. However, if you find that more research would be needed to decide a question, briefly outline ideas of how you could undertake that research.

Additional Requirements for Writing literature reviews

  • Written communication: Should be free of errors that detract from the overall message.
  • APA formatting: References and citations should be formatted according to current APA style and format. Include a title page, abstract, and reference list.
  • Resources: Minimum of three scholarly resources. All references need to be cited in-text, according to current APA standards. Remember that citations are to support your thoughts, not take the place of them!
  • Length: 4–5 double-spaced pages, not including the title page or reference page.
  • Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12-point.
  • Template: Use the Literature Review Template to format your assignment.

To maximize your scoring potential, be sure that you fully address all assignment requirements and meet the criteria in the scoring guide that will be used to assess your assignment. It is helpful to self-score your paper using the scoring guide before submitting, to be sure that you are meeting criteria for the grade you want to earn.

Writing literature reviews

Literature Search Strategy Log

Last Updated on July 17, 2020 by Essay Pro