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Writing the Literature Review: Helpful Readings

This guide reviews the content and structure of a literature review/meta-analysis - a form of scholarly writing and a part of most theses and dissertations.

How to Write a Review

The following article offers a good guide to reviewing the literature.

​Pautasso, M. (2013). Ten simple rules for writing a literature review. PLoS Computational Biology, 9(7). doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003149
CLICK HERE TO ACCESS ARTICLE (Baylor log-in required, "PDF Full Text" link on left).

Other Useful Readings

Here are one or two good books with sections on writing a review paper/meta-analysis/literature review.

Sample Literature Reviews

The reviews below come from the journal Choice which regularly includes a "Bibliographic Essay" (an essay that lists and describes important works on a specific topic, also another name for a literature review).  Each is a good example of how to organize a literature review.

I have selected reviews from a broad range of topics, including the arts, sciences, social sciences, humanities, and interdisciplinary studies.  

Access reviews from Choice at


Baker, Neal. “The Rise of Digital Game Studies.” Choice 48, no. 01 (September 1, 2010): 27–34.

Battistella, Edwin L. “Groping for Words: A Guide to Slang and Usage Resources.” Choice 46, no. 04 (December 1, 2008): 619–631.
Burstein, Miriam Elizabeth. “New Scholarship on Religion and Literature, 2000-2012.” Choice 51, no. 03 (November 1, 2013): 393–407.
Elmore, Marcus. “Masculinities and Men’s Studies: The Literature of a Growing Discipline.” Choice 44, no. 06 (February 1, 2007): 931–938.
Goldsmith, Melissa. “Film Music: Interdisciplinary Scholarship, Analysis, Criticism, and Theory.” Choice 44, no. 01 (September 1, 2006): 45–57.
Hartesveldt, Fred R. van. “The First Horseman and History: Epidemic Disease and Civilization.” Choice 46, no. 10 (June 1, 2009): 1841–1850.
Kidd, Quentin. “Civic Engagement: A Topic As Old as Jefferson and As New as Today.” Choice 47, no. 09 (May 1, 2010): 1603–1615.
Klink, Aaron. “Seeking the Ethical in the World of Medicine.” Choice 49, no. 08 (April 1, 2012): 1387–1391.
Kong, Leslie. “Social Themes as Reflected in Film: Scholarship, Criticism, and Theory.” Choice 47, no. 11 (July 1, 2010): 2047–2058.
Peter, Rutland. “Making Sense of War.” Choice 44, no. 10 (June 1, 2007): 1643–1649.
Shook, John R., and Tibor Solymosi. “Pragmatism: Key Resources.” Choice 50, no. 08 (April 1, 2013): 1367–1377.

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