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Literature Review--A General Overview


As you read your articles look for: 

  • Key terms and definitions 
  • Note where articles agree -- including common themes, ideas, and categories. 
  • Note the sections where the findings differ or present something not covered in the other articles. Conduct additional research that discuss same concepts. 

These key terms, definitions, and common themes will become the categories for your literature review. 

  • Identify any gaps in the research 

This will help you decide how to plan and focus your own study. 

You can see these techniques used in the literature review section for this original study:

Secondary Traumatic Stress: Effects on the Professional Quality of Life of Sign Language Interpreters
(opens in a new tab).

The authors created the following categories based on the research conducted for their literature review: Background of the problem (unlabeled but appears at beginning of the article), Secondary Traumatic Stress, Compassion Satisfaction and Burnout, and Demand Control Schema. 

In the Secondary Traumatic Stress section (page 354) the authors include key definitions (citing their sources). 

The authors cite multiple articles citing the common themes they found in their research which helped them create the categories for their literature review (pages 354 - 356).  

In the last section before the study is introduced (The Current System in Canada - pages 356-357), the authors identify a gap in the research which becomes the focus of their study.