VCU Libraries

Research Guides

Kinesiology & Health Sciences

Research Librarians

Erin Carrillo

Science Research Librarian
Monroe Park Campus
(804) 828-2070

Schedule an appointment with Erin 

Begin with a literature matrix

As you read, you'll encounter different methods and perspectives on a topic which can be hard to organize in a meaningful way. A literature matrix facilitates organization, enabling you to summarize each study and then synthesize "the body of literature."

Synthesis / Review Matrix in Excel

Using a spreadsheet or table to organize the key elements (e.g. subjects, methodologies, results) of articles/books you plan to use in your literature review can be helpful. This is called a review matrix.

When you create a review matrix, the first few columns should include (1) the authors, title, journal, (2) publication year, and (3) purpose of the paper. The remaining columns should identify important aspects of each study such as methodology and findings.

Click on the image below to view a sample review matrix.

Sample health sciences review matrix

You can also download this template as a Microsoft Excel file.