A literature review is not the same as a research paper. The point of a literature review is to synthesize the research of others without making a new argument or scholarly contribution. A literature review is also not an annotated bibliography. You should not write about each study you are reviewing in turn, but instead write synthetically to highlight the current state of the literature.
Key Points to Consider:
After completing the Individual Article Analysis Worksheet for each of your articles, use this Article Analysis Matrix to compile all of the information you have gathered. Use the Example Article Analysis Matrix below as a guide to get started.
Use this to analyze each of your articles. Focus on questions #4 - #6. These will help you identify the major themes/main ideas in each article you read.
Mastering "synthetic" writing is key to a successful literature review. Synthetic here means a synthesis of ideas, concepts, methods, etc. As a writer you task is to synthesize or bring together and weave in these different resources into a common thread of thought. Use these resources to learn how to analyze the articles you want to use for your literature review, keep track of common themes using an article analysis matrix, and how to convert the notes in the analysis matrix into a piece of synthetic writing.
Think of working on your literature review as a multi-step process:
To give you some examples of writing a literature review and an article analysis matrix to keep track of the themes of your articles, I have created a partial literature review and corresponding analysis matrix to demonstrate. My topic is the special education early intervention program called First Step to Success (FSS).
The sites below offer a range of considerations and steps for writing the literature review.