Designing a Literature Review Matrix 

Collecting literature you want to review and analyze for potential  use can quickly become messy, especially when doing your major  literature review assignments. Your goal this week is to find a process  where you are able to organize your thoughts and keep track of the  strengths and weaknesses of different studies while also tracking the  arguments and trends you are seeing in the research. Building a  literature review matrix is a good start.

As you build the chart, you will be able to begin to identify ideas  that appear repeatedly in the research. This will support you in making  sense of the many different research approaches as you bring ideas  together for synthesis in the literature review. (Please note that a  dissertation does not count as peer-reviewed primary research because it  is not peer-reviewed, but may be used as a supplemental source.)

The following videos can guide you in developing your literature review matrix:

  • Literature Review Matrix (Week 2) (Concordia University Portland – Online, 2016a)
  • Literature Review Preparation Creating a Summary Table (NurseKillam, 2013)
    • Note: The heading levels in this video are suggestions only, not what you will use in this course.
    • It is important to note that everything you read might not end up  in your literature review. That being said, you should still log every  article you read in your matrix. Your final Literature Review Matrix  will most likely have more than five to eight peer-reviewed primary  research articles that are required for the actual literature  review.  It is important to use resources published within the past 10  years. Resources older than 10 years may be used if they are seminal  studies. 

This is something that will tie directly to your preferred working  styles and how you best manage flows of information. It is not an  assignment with one clear option for how to complete the work. You are  welcome to propose a format that is best for you that meets the  following criteria:

  • Easily scanned and reviewed for key ideas and concepts
  • Includes details about each article (reference citation, study  highlights, your key “findings,” any questions you have about each  article)
  • Includes themes/big ideas from each study that can help you do the  synthesizing for your final literature review—it is helpful to make an  explicit column for this purpose to support your synthesis process as  you sit down to write your literature review
  • Can be added to throughout this course and subsequent research courses
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