Organization of Information from Related Literature

The related literature section is not a list of article summaries. It should be a flowing, well-structured narrative that begins with the research variables included in the problem and ends with a question to be answered.

As an initial step, topics to be searched must be studied, and a topic outline may be made. The following questions may be considered: How do the different authors define and use the concept? Do the authors have the same or different argument on the concept? Can you group the authors by disagreeable opinions concerning the concept? Then, write it in narrative form and show a clear description of how these authors use the given concept.

After each of the topics are analyzed and improved into a narrative form, determine what will be the order these key word narratives should take in the related literature portion.

In ordering the topics, three major approaches are considered:


A chronological ordering is most applicable if the topics are arranged for a usual timeline of development. In this arrangement, clusters are time-sensitive and show a change in thinking over time. This approach is most appropriate for development qualitative studies.


A conceptual ordering is suggested if the study is set in clear and interrelated concepts. This approach is applicable to almost all qualitative and quantitative researches because the organization of the review is by claims and arguments, forming a small body of knowledge that supports the present research. 

Stated hypotheses

If there are several hypo-theses in a given study, stated hypotheses form a natural way to order key word clusters. The topics are listed based on each hypothesis made in the research and the discussion is done according to this topic listing. 

In writing the review of related literature, always begin with a good introduction and end it with a synthesis. Make a connection between the topic and subtopics discussed. As much as possible, the use of direct quotations must be avoided. Consistently, the source or reference for each claim or argument must be cited. A summary of each subtopic must also be presented together with transition paragraphs from one subtopic to the next. In most cases, the American Psychological Association (APA) style and format is adopted to cite bibliographical information in the body of the literature review.