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University of Houston - Victoria
Literature Review Organization: Topical Example

The organization of a literature review begins in the introduction. For example, in the introduction of a literature review about the effect of seating arrangements on peer tutoring communication, you would first introduce the topic and what your literature review will attempt to assess:

. . . Writing centers can set the table for collaborative tutoring sessions through a careful consideration of spatial arrangement . . .

Then state what angle is going to be explored:

. . . These studies will be used to support the author’s claims that spatial arrangement is instrumental in encouraging collaborative environments in the writing center . . .

Then, arrange key issues that will be addressed in this review by answering questions that you have personally developed and are tailored to fit your topic. In the introduction, give the audience a clear picture of how you will organize your paper:

In the following, I* first review some relevant research concerning spatial arrangement and then discuss some recommended and alternate seating arrangements to encourage a collaborative environment in the writing center. Finally, I include some other considerations.

In the body of this literature review, you would organize the information topically around each point (or question) that you asked yourself:

  • Research Review
  • Recommended Spatial Arrangement
  • Alternative Spatial Arrangement
  • Other Considerations

Then, write a conclusion that explains the significance of your findings:

. . . While the seating arrangements outlined above are generally a good ‘setting’ for peer tutoring sessions, we should remember that each tutoring session is unique. Not all students will be comfortable with a side-by-side spatial arrangement at a round table. Tutors should be perceptive of and receptive to students who may have other spatial needs . . .

*Always clear the use of I with your instructor. An alternative to this would be the use of third person wording, such as “This paper reviews some relevant research concerning spatial arrangement and then discusses some recommended and alternate seating arrangements to encourage a collaborative environment in the writing center.”

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