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Literature Reviews in Social Work


  • Formulate the purpose and scope of the literature review
  • Determine a clear structure for the review in terms of organizing the material (chronology, qualitative versus quantitative, by concept or issue, etc.)
  • Outline the criteria used in the choice of material to be included in the review (time frame, type of sources, what is excluded or included, etc.)
  • Evaluate and synthesize the material you have found, pointing out common themes, gaps in the literature, contradictory research findings, and suggest areas for further research when possible
  • Clearly relate the synthesis and evaluation of material to the topic or issue outlined as  the purpose of the review
  • Carefully cite all the research studies, quotations, and other material used in the review in the format designated for the assignment. If you are using the exact text from an author’s work, be sure to use quotation marks around the text.  If paraphrasing points made in an article in your own words, be sure to provide a citation