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How to Write a Literature Review - A Self-Guided Tutorial

Review discipline styles

Review Discipline Styles

Each discipline has its own style for writing a literature review; social science lit reviews may look different than those from the biological sciences or engineering. Depending on the discipline, it might not be in a section specifically entitled "literature review."

The best way to become familiar with lit reviews in your field of study is to look at published journal articles and note how they present the information.

Here are a few examples of articles which contain a literature review section of the article. The Sawesi et al. article is a systematic review article. Click on the links at the end of each citation to view the article.

Science examples:

  • Gibau, G. S. (2015). Considering Student Voices: Examining the Experiences of Underrepresented Students in Intervention Programs. CBE Life Sciences Education, 14(3).
  • León, D., Arzola, N., & Tovar, A. (2015). Statistical analysis of the influence of tooth geometry in the performance of a harmonic drive. Journal of the Brazilian Society of Mechanical Sciences and Engineering, 37(2), 723-735.

Health Sciences examples:

  • Mosher, C. E., Given, B. A., & Ostroff, J. S. (2015). Barriers to mental health service use among distressed family caregivers of lung cancer patients. European Journal of Cancer Care, 24(1), 50–59.
  • Sawesi, S., Rashrash, M., Phalakornkule, K., Carpenter, J. S., & Jones, J. F. (2016). The Impact of Information Technology on Patient Engagement and Health Behavior Change: A Systematic Review of the Literature. JMIR Medical Informatics, 4(1), e1.

Arts & Humanities examples:

Social Sciences examples:

  • Han, K. T., Scull, W. R., & Harbour, C. P. (2021). Listening to counternarratives of faculty of color: Studying rural racism in one of most conservative communities in America. The Urban Review, 53, 470-490. 
  • Latapí Agudelo, M. A., Jóhannsdóttir, L., & Davídsdóttir, B. (2019). A literature review of the history and evolution of corporate social responsibility. International Journal of Corporate Social Responsibility4(1), 1-23.