● APU Writing Center ● (626)815-6000 ext.3141 ● apu.edu/writingcenter ● ●
A literature review compiles and evaluates the research available on a certain topic or issue that you are
researching and writing about. Because lit review formats vary greatly, be sure to read your professor’s
instructions first and defer to them. A typical writing process for a literature review follows these steps:
• What are you looking to explore?
• Write a specific question to guide
• Example: The impact of service-
learning curricula on undergraduate
• Example: How has service-learning
curricula impacted undergrads in
American Christian Universities since
Analyze and Evaluate
• Find relevant sources.
• Assess how each source relates to
other research within the field.
• Read and take note of the main
points, conclusions, strengths, and
• Group sources by theme, topic, or
weaknesses of the research.
• Critically evaluate research.
Write Literature Review
• Your thesis statement should contain
• Use an introduction, body
the overarching focus for your
paragraph(s), and a conclusion.
literature review as well as the main
• Include summary, analysis, synthesis,
supporting points you found in the
and evaluation (if appropriate).
• Lit review may be as short as a few
• See back for example.
paragraphs or as long as a chapter.
Use your research question as a guide for research. Once you have completed the bulk of your research,
compile the topic and the research results into one coherent thesis statement.
Refer to the Writing Center’s Argument, Research Tips & Resources, and Thesis Statements handouts for more information on these topics.