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COMM 350 - Communication Research Methods

This guide is for Kent Menzel's Fall 2022 course.

What is a Lit Review?


Literature review

"A literature review is a document or section of a document that collects key sources on a topic and discusses those sources in conversation with each other (also called synthesis). The lit review is an important genre in many disciplines, not just literature (i.e., the study of works of literature such as novels and plays). When we say “literature review” or refer to “the literature,” we are talking about the research (scholarship) in a given field. You will often see the terms “the research,” “the scholarship,” and “the literature” used mostly interchangeably."

A good literature review typically contains the following components:

  • Introduction
  • Thesis statement
  • Summary, synthesis, and evaluation of sources
  • List of references

You can organize your lit review in different ways:

  • Chronological
  • Methodological
  • Thematic
  • Theoretical

NOTE: A literature review and an annotated bibliography are not synonymous. While both types of writing involve examining sources, the literature review seeks to synthesize the information and draw connections between sources. 

Sample Lit Reviews

Template for organizing studies