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This content is taken from the Deakin University & Griffith University's online course, Why Planning Your Research Matters. Join the course to learn more.
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Writing your literature review

Writing your literature review will help you to clarify and synthesise the themes, approaches and methods that are most important to your research question.

A literature review should:

  • demonstrate that your research is unique and valuable
  • justify that your research methods are the most suitable to answer your research questions
  • synthesise the most relevant literature on the topic (not everything you’ve ever read)

Writing your review is a chance for you confirm that your research meets a need. This might include building on what we already know, filling a gap in the body of knowledge, adopting a new and more critical perspective on something or tackling a problem.

Your task

It’s time to practice developing your literature review.


Open your portfolio and navigate to the literature review section.

Select one of the questions you developed in the previous step and read through the most pertinent sections of two or three articles you found during Step 1.12 Performing a literature search.

As you do so, ask yourself the questions you’ve developed. After reading all your articles, provide a synthesised summary that compares and contrasts the different ways that the question can be answered. You may like to do this by writing notes; others prefer brainstorming tools such as a mindmap.


Let the group take a look at your synthesis by reproducing your notes or providing a link to your brainstorm in the comments section. You may like to do so in your portfolio.


Once you have shared your notes, brainstorm or link, take a look at someone else’s and give them your response to the following questions:

  • Is the sample section from the literature review clear, coherent and concise?
  • Does the synthesis demonstrate a range of ways or perspectives in which the question can be answered?
  • Does the sample section from the literature review point towards a way of understanding the underlying problem or answering the research question?

For those of you completing the assessment course…

Remember to read the assessment details and rubric carefully to make sure you complete the task correctly.

In the assessment course, you’re required to submit some additional information to accompany your literature review.

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This article is from the free online course:

Why Planning Your Research Matters

Deakin University