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PY 301 - Research Methods

Follow the tabs below for help writing each section of your Research Methods paper.

Step Four - Literature Review - Formatting

Step Four - Literature Review - Content

Section Description/Purpose
  • Opening paragraph should be broad and general. 
  • Try to hook the reader by identifying the problem and giving some interesting statistics or prevalence rates related to the problem.
Body of Literature Review
  • Provides an organized, scholarly review of the literature about your research problem.
  • Describes what we "know" and what we "don't know" about the problem.
  • Critiques the current literature.
  • Identifies gaps in the literature where our understanding of the problem could be more thorough.  Example:  We know that depression is related to eating disorders but there is not enough research on how depression and eating disorders impact the African-American community.
  • Written in a funnel format - Logical ordering of literature review topics from general to specific.
  • The literature should be grouped in an orderly fashion.  This could be chronologically, from broad to specific, or by concepts and themes.  Most importantly, your review of the literature should be synthesized rather than discussing each article separately. 
  • Each section should end with studies most closely related to the study.
Summary of Literature Review
  • Restates and summarizes what we know about a topic and what we don't know about a topic.
  • Summarizes what other studies have recommended for future study.
  • Identifies the problem/gap in the literature.
  • Examples:
  1. A lack of evidence makes it difficult to conclude...
  2. Consensus among researchers differs on the topic of x and x.
  3. Existing research regarding x is limited in generalizability due to ...
  4. The majority of researchers found a relationship between x and x.



  • Hypotheses are clearly listed and are phrased as predictions


Primary Databases