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Business and Management Research Guide

Use this guide for help doing general business research, including searching for credible articles, doing company and industry research, and writing a literature review

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Dan Hoiland

What is a lit review?

A literature review is a process of analyzing and organizing scholarly literature on a topic. In a literature review you are not establishing your own argument, you are gathering what has already been written on your topic; sythensizing the arguments, perspectives, or themes; and summarizing the sources and how they apply to your research question. 

How do you write a lit review?

Generally, a literature review contains the following sections:

1) An introduction to your research question and/or your topic
2) A discussion of the major themes within your topic and the supporting literature (in essay form)
3) A conclusion
4) A reference list

There are many guides out there to help you organize your lit review. Here are some suggestions:

Writing a Literature Review

Literature reviews are critical evaluations of materials that have already been published. They include meta-analyses, in which previously published data from different sources are combined and analyzed.  

When writing a literature review:

  • define and clarify the problem/question you're addressing
  • summarize current understanding of the topic, highlighting different studies and how the authors addressed the problem/question
  • identify similarities, contradictions, gaps, and inconsistencies in the literature
  • suggest next steps in fixing the problem

Literature review elements can be arranged in various ways by grouping research by:

  • similarities in topics of interest
  • methodological similarities
  • historical development of the field

Writing Resources

The Writing Center has examples of formatting in APA. Below are links to an example paper in APA and citing in APA. They have many other helpful resources! Check out their website.

APA Paper Template

For those of you who like working from a template, here is an APA template for MS Word.