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Q. How do I find the Literature Review Summary Table?

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Answer Last Updated: Jun 28, 2023 Views: 317

Here are some examples of a literature review summary table: literature review summary table - with examples    .

Researchers use literature review summary tables to organize a number of articles in a small space, based on selected criteria.

If you have the need to summarize and organize a lot of literature in a small space, you may want to ask your faculty whether a literature review summary table would be appropriate.

This resource and other tools can also be found in this library guide:  Staying Organized & Keeping Track: Research Tools

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Related Topics

  • Dissertation
  • Dissertation Writing


Literature Review Basics

  • What is a Literature Review?
  • Synthesizing Research
  • Using Research & Synthesis Tables
  • Additional Resources

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About the Research and Synthesis Tables

Research Tables and Synthesis Tables are useful tools for organizing and analyzing your research as you assemble your literature review. They represent two different parts of the review process: assembling relevant information and synthesizing it. Use a Research table to compile the main info you need about the items you find in your research -- it's a great thing to have on hand as you take notes on what you read! Then, once you've assembled your research, use the Synthesis table to start charting the similarities/differences and major themes among your collected items.

We've included an Excel file with templates for you to use below; the examples pictured on this page are snapshots from that file.

  • Research and Synthesis Table Templates This Excel workbook includes simple templates for creating research tables and synthesis tables. Feel free to download and use!

Using the Research Table

Image of Model Research Excel Table

This is an example of a  research table,  in which you provide a basic description of the most important features of the studies, articles, and other items you discover in your research. The table identifies each item according to its author/date of publication, its purpose or thesis, what type of work it is (systematic review, clinical trial, etc.), the level of evidence it represents (which tells you a lot about its impact on the field of study), and its major findings. Your job, when you assemble this information, is to develop a snapshot of what the research shows about the topic of your research question and assess its value (both for the purpose of your work and for general knowledge in the field).

Think of your work on the research table as the foundational step for your analysis of the literature, in which you assemble the information you'll be analyzing and lay the groundwork for thinking about what it means and how it can be used.

Using the Synthesis Table

Image of Model Synthesis Excel Table

This is an example of a  synthesis table  or  synthesis matrix , in which you organize and analyze your research by listing each source and indicating whether a given finding or result occurred in a particular study or article ( each row lists an individual source, and each finding has its own column, in which X = yes, blank = no). You can also add or alter the columns to look for shared study populations, sort by level of evidence or source type, etc. The key here is to use the table to provide a simple representation of what the research has found (or not found, as the case may be). Think of a synthesis table as a tool for making comparisons, identifying trends, and locating gaps in the literature.

How do I know which findings to use, or how many to include?  Your research question tells you which findings are of interest in your research, so work from your research question to decide what needs to go in each Finding header, and how many findings are necessary. The number is up to you; again, you can alter this table by adding or deleting columns to match what you're actually looking for in your analysis. You should also, of course, be guided by what's actually present in the material your research turns up!

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  • Last Updated: Sep 26, 2023 12:06 PM
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Be the boss of your literature review

Download this free article summary table template.

When dealing with the literature, summarise the articles you read as you go along. This will ensure that you don't read and forget. Using the Article Summary Table template, you can neatly add a summary of each study to a table. This table is handy because you can easily refer to a specific article without searching through piles of pdfs.

Article summary table template jpeg

Get the Article Summary Table template in Microsoft Word AND Microsoft Excel - for FREE

  • Introduction for Types of Dissertations
  • Overview of the Dissertation
  • Self-Assessment Exercise
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  • Purpose and Goals
  • Read and Evaluate Chapter 1 Exemplars
  • Draft an Introduction of the Study
  • Outline the Background of the Problem
  • Draft your Statement of the Problem
  • Draft your Purpose of the Study
  • Draft your Significance of the Study
  • List the Possible Limitations and Delimitations
  • Explicate the Definition of Terms
  • Outline the Organization of the Study
  • Recommended Resources and Readings
  • Purpose of the Literature Review
  • What is the Literature?
  • Article Summary Table
  • Writing a Short Literature Review
  • Outline for Literature Review
  • Synthesizing the Literature Review
  • Purpose of the Methodology Chapter
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  • Pre-observation – Issues to consider
  • During Observations
  • Wrapping Up
  • Recommended Resources and Readings (Qualitative)
  • Quantitative Data Collection
  • Recommended Resources and Readings (Quantitative)
  • Qualitative: Before you Start
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  • Qualitative: Recommended Resources and Readings
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Article Summary Table Topic 4: Literature Review

Drafting a summary table

Contributor: Logan Miller

A summary table allows you to compare common research methods, findings, limitations, etc. You can order the entries in any way that you find useful; consider ordering your research alphabetically, by timeliness, or even by grouping similar study aims, models, or results.

Once compiled, you can use this table to compare studies side by side. Such comparison can help you see trends in findings, identify gaps in the research, and rank each study by relative strength. In short, it helps you organize information on a broad topic, which is a crucial first step in synthesizing that information within a research paper.

Summary areas might include

Authors / date : If a paper has numerous authors, consider the level of detail you require to identify a given study.

Aim of study / paper : What were the researchers hoping to learn? This section may include research questions or hypotheses.

Type of study / information : These might be systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials, etc. If you’re less familiar with what these designs entail, writing a short description can be useful.

Main findings / conclusions : The level of detail you employ will come down to necessity and experience, but in listing specific findings, you may see trends or discrepancies across studies.

Strengths / limitations : Strengths may include good research design or data-based conclusions. Remember, a study may mention its limitations explicitly, but many limitations require careful inquiry to uncover.

*Azzopardi, D., Patel, K., Jaunky, T., Santopietro, S., Camacho, O. M., McAughey, J., Gaça, M. (2016). Electronic cigarette aerosol induces significantly less cytotoxicity than tobacco smoke. Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods 26(6), 477-497, doi: 10.1080/15376516.2016.1217112


Literature Reviews

  • Getting Started
  • Literature Reviews and Nursing
  • Decide on a Topic
  • Narrow the Topic
  • Search for Literature
  • Appraise the Literature

Data Extraction with Table

  • Create a Thematic Table
  • Synthesize the Literature
  • Organize and Plan
  • Write the Literature Review
  • Check the Literature Review
  • understand what the literature is saying about your topic,
  • understand what the literature is not saying or has not said about your topic, and
  • make your own conclusions.

summary of literature review table

The following 19-minute video offers a lesson on using extraction and thematic tables to organize, analyze, and synthesize information from your literature.

summary of literature review table

Click here  or on the image to access the video in D2L.

  • Data Extraction Table / Literature Review Matrix Sample
  • << Previous: Appraise the Literature
  • Next: Create a Thematic Table >>
  • Last Updated: Mar 27, 2022 9:25 AM
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