Organize the key elements (sample, methodologies, results, etc.) from the eligible studies using a table or spreadsheet. This will help you to compare and contrast studies and identify themes for your Discussion section. Download the Sample Review Matrix below.
General components of a literature review include:
Study eligibility criteria
Study appraisal methods
Sometimes called the "Background," this section highlights why your review is important.
State your review's objective in light of all of the above information. This is where you include your research question.
This section covers how you went about conducting your review.
This section covers how you synthesize your data.
This is where you may include a flow diagram showing:
Depending on the study, you may include a brief summary or chart of the characteristics of each included study, including the sample size, study design or other pertinent information as it relates to your research question.
This is where you will summarize the major findings from your review.
Summary of Evidence
This section is typically divided into headings and sub-headings of themes that you identify in the evidence. Within each sub-section, summarize the study results, aiming to compare and contrast studies rather than discuss each study individually. Also, discuss the strengths and weaknesses. Did the evidence:
Provide results of any other analysis discussed in the Methods section.
Describe the limitations of your included studies and your own review. Address any questions readers might have about the validity of your results.
Give a general interpretation of your results and state the implications:
Be clear about the role funding played in your review.