Step Two: Outline/draft the literature review or argument

Once you have read the literature (and not found the answer to your question), you need to determine what research needs to be done to answer the question/solve the problem you are interested in. Then you need to be able to share that thinking process with potential readers. In other words, outline/draft (whichever process works better for you to clarify your thinking) an argument that answers the questions: What do we know now? What do we need to know? Why does it matter?


Scholars often outline the literature review at this point so they can move forward with the research process. Don't get bogged down in the writing process, but do be clear about argument/rationale for your hypotheses/research questions and methods!








Sources which define, describe and discuss the literature, finding sources, evaluating sources, organizing and synthesizing information

University of Alaska Anchorage: Overview of literature reviews

North Carolina State University: Twelve minute video with graphical explanations of literature reviews

University of California - Davis: Defining and finding examples of Literature Reviews

University of Toronto: Overview and tips on evaluating articles

Carnegie Mellon University: Overview of lit review - useful examples of integrated topic sentences

Virginia Commonwealth University: Excellent overview and ways to organize information and synthesize the literature

North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University: Developing the review

Sage Publications (resources for Fundamentals of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice): Detailed information on finding sources and writing an integrated literature review

University of Wisconsin-Madison: Basic steps in writing a literature review

University of Connecticut: Defining, finding sources, and writing a lit review