Your interpretation may be self-evident to you, but it may not be to everyone else.
You need to critique your own interpretation of material, and to present your rationale, so that your reader can follow your thinking.
This Study Guide explains why literature reviews are needed, and how they can be conducted and reported.
Related Study Guides are: Referencing and bibliographies, Avoiding plagiarism, Writing a dissertation, What is critical reading? The focus of the Study Guide is the literature review within a dissertation or a thesis, but many of the ideas are transferable to other kinds of writing, such as an extended essay, or a report.
The following collection of annotated sample literature reviews written and co-written by colleagues associated with UW-Madison showcases how these reviews can do different kind of work for different purposes.
Use these successful examples as a starting point for understanding how other writers have approached the challenging and important task of situating their idea in the context of established research.
To learn more about literature reviews, take a look at our workshop on Writing Literature Reviews of Published Research.
An important strategy for learning how to compose literature reviews in your field or within a specific genre is to locate and analyze representative examples.
It can also establish a framework within which to present and analyse the findings.
After reading your literature review, it should be clear to the reader that you have up-to-date awareness of the relevant work of others, and that the research question you are asking is relevant. Be wary of saying that your research will solve a problem, or that it will change practice.