2.1. Summarizing the literature

Summarizing theories

Synthesis Matrix

For contrasting theoretical perspectives on different issues.

Aspect1What this author or this theoretical tradition has to say about this aspect.What about Author 2?Author 3 thinks otherwise…

Contrasting empirical studies

  • Understanding empirical results
  • Statistical significance and p-value
  • Effect size
  • Meta-analysis

Summary Table of Studies

To summarize the main characteristics and findings of empirical studies.

ReferenceStudy designSampleInterventionDep. variableOutcome measureMain findings
Ellis & Doe, 2015Experimental$N=26$Tasks vs. exercisesSpeakingSpeech rate (# words/min)Sig. effect, $d=0.54$
Martin, 2010
Pink et al, 2011

Advanced example (in medical research): NIH summary of clinical trials on Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19

  • Study
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Interpretation

Other random examples:

From ‘[Introduction to literature reviews](https://www.monash.edu/rlo/graduate-research-writing/write-the-thesis/writing-a-literature-review/process)’ at Monash University
From ‘Introduction to literature reviews’ at Monash University

Identifying gaps

Citing and quoting