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Education: Literature Reviews

Organizing Your Research

On this page, you will find resources to help you organize your research as you write your literature review. Start with Keeping Information ( the box on the top right column). It is a spreadsheet that will help you understand the types of information you should be collecting and it will give you a location to do it. If you would like to use it you can click on EDIT and then COPY from the drop-down menu once you open it. 

Where Research Begins

Where Research Begins by Thoma Mullaney and Christopher Rea is a great book to read to start thinking about your topic and what you want to know. I would recommend reading the Introduction and chapters 1 & 2. You can access the eBook below.

where research begins book cover

Where Research Begins: Choosing a Research Project That Matters to You (and the World) by by Thomas Mullaney and Christopher Rea (2022)

ProQuest Academic Complete ebook.

Where Research Begins: Choosing a Research Project That Matters to You (and the World) by by Thomas Mullaney and Christopher Rea (2022)

ProQuest Academic Complete ebook.

Table of Contents
Part 1: Become a Self-Centered Researcher

Chapter 1: Questions
Chapter 2: What’s Your Problem?
Chapter 3: Designing a Project That Works

Part 2: Get Over Yourself

Chapter 4: How to Find Your Problem Collective
    Rewriting for Your Collective    
    Welcome to Your Collective
Chapter 5: How to Navigate Your Field
Chapter 6: How to Begin
    What’s Next in Your Research Journey?


Research - Looking for already published theses and dissertations?

NEW Dissertations & Theses @ Cedar Crest College

Go to ProQuest Dissertations & Theses @ Cedar Crest College,
search for Forensic Science /
search for Education / search for Art Therapy / search for Cedar Crest College

For dissertations and theses worldwide, try searching other dissertation and theses databases. Look for research that is online and open access; otherwise, you will be prompted to pay. (Cannot Interlibrary Loan dissertations and theses).

Open Textbook, Literature Reviews for Education and Nursing Graduate Students

Organizing Your Thinking

Organizing your literature review will make writing it much easier.  There are three main ways to organize a review.

  1. Theme
  2. Methodology
  3. Chronologically

You may want to include aspects of all three, but you will generally concentrate on one.  To do this you need to synthesize articles in one area:

For example:

Theme:  ___________________

1st Author:

2nd Author:

3rd Author:

Synthesis of the finding of all three articles: 




Research - Educational Research - journal examples

Looking for research that is currently trending? Browse the current issues of our Education Journals. Here are a few examples.

Keeping Information

Taking Notes as you read is very important.  Have a consistent method from the beginning that enables you to keep and compare the same information from each article.  Consider using a spreadsheet. You can copy this one or develop your own.

Preparing Literature Reviews

preparing literature revoews book cover

Preparing Literature Reviews, 5th edition

Pan, M., & Baden-Campbell, M. (2016). Preparing literature reviews: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. Glendale, CA: Pyrczak Pub.
Fifth edition, in print in the library.
808.066 P187p2

Preparing Literature Reviews: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches by M. Ling Pan

Call Number: 808.066 P187p

Publication Date: 2013, 4th edition


1. Introduction to qualitative and quantitative reviews
2. Selecting a topic for review
3. Searching for literature in professional journals
4. Retrieving and evaluating information from the Web
5. Evaluating and interpreting research literature
6. Taking notes and avoiding unintentional plagiarism
7. Preparing a topic outline for the first draft
8. Writing the first draft: basic principles
9. Writing the first draft: optional techniques
10. Writing the first draft: statistical issues in qualitative reviews
11. Building tables to summarize literature
12. Revising and refining the first draft
13. Writing titles and abstracts
14. Preparing a reference list
15. Introduction to meta-analysis
16. A closer look at meta-analysis

Checklist of Guidelines --

Model Literature Reviews --

Qualitative literature reviews:
1. Spirituality among African American Women living with HIV/AIDS
2. Subjective evaluations of alcohol consequences and changes in drinking behavior
3. Predicting marital separation from parent-child relationships
4. The effect of socialization and information source on financial management behavior
5. Waterpipe smoking among college students in the United States

Quantitative literature reviews (Meta-analyses):
6. Factors affecting the extent of Monday blues
7. Cognitive bibliotherapy for depression: a meta-analysis
8. Project D.A.R.E. outcome effectiveness revisited

A. Qualitative versus quantitative research
B. Quality control in qualitative research

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