VCU LibrariesResearch Guides

CHEM 398: Professional Practices and Perspectives

Research Librarian

John Glover's picture
John Glover
(804) 828-6555
Cabell Library, Room 121F

Want to meet to talk about your research, teaching, or projects? Please get in touch.

Research Librarian

Nita Bryant's picture
Nita Bryant
Have questions? Email or call for an appointment

Ask Us

"Lit Review 101"

A literature review asks: What do we know - or not know - about this particular issue/ topic/ subject?

How well you answer this question depends upon:

  1. the effectiveness of your search for information
  2. the quality & reliability of the sources you choose
  3. your ability to synthesize the sources you select

Begin with a Synthesis Matrix

As you read, you'll encounter various ideas, disagreements, methods, and perspectives which can be hard to organize in a meaningful way.

A synthesis matrix helps you record the main points of each source and document how sources relate to each other.


Find Good Models

Look for other literature reviews in your subject area to see how they are written.

Need Help Writing the Literature Review?

VCU's Writing Center consultants can help you plan, develop, and organize your literature review and a follow-up appointment will help you edit, proofread, and revise it.

VCU University College Writing Center


    Are You New to Research?

    Many patrons who find this guide have experience with research. Some people, though, find it when they are just starting out as students at VCU. If that describes you, the following guides may be helpful.