Reviewing the literature

At postgraduate level, effective reading involves paraphrasing, synthesising, and acknowledging sources so that you maintain academic integrity.

Understand what the expectations are for your level of study. The Literature Review pdf469KB handout summarises the functions and the reading process for a literature review. The video below explains how to write a literature review and examines which elements are required.

Literature review

You may find writing an annotated bibliography pdf542KB is a useful way to gather all your thoughts on different pieces of literature you've read.

When you start reading, you will also need to start processing the ideas and presenting them along with your analysis. It is important to be able to identify what ideas are from your readings and appropriately acknowledge those to avoid plagiarism. Our Avoiding Plagiarism pdf553KB handout answers some questions you may have about plagiarism.

Find out more about plagiarism and how to avoid it.

One main skill you need to develop is paraphrasing (explaining ideas in your own words). Have a look at our Effective Paraphrasing pdf395KB handout to see how you can do this. You may also want to refer to our Reporting Verbs pdf656KB handout to learn the different verbs or action words you can use to report on ideas from your readings. You can also refer to the Academic Phrasebank from University of Manchester.

Appropriately acknowledging your sources means you are showing academic integrity. In the video below hear what some students say about academic integrity.

There are many different citation systems. Know which style is required for your area of study and find out how it is done. Below are links to four of the most common systems: