Skip to Main Content

LDRS 612: Systems Thinking - Writing a Literature Review: Step 4: Taking Notes & Synthesizing

This guide is designed to help students learn about the components of a literature review as well as the process and library resources/tools to use.

The Research Process


There are a variety of notetaking methods.  Perhaps you have used the old 3 x 5 or 4 x 6 note card system.  It still works.  But you may want to try something newer, including creating a template in Word, OneNote, or using the notes fields in RefWorks to record information. Here are some links for other methods you may want to explore.

Synthesizing your research

Here are a few tips for synthesizing your information before you start writing the review.

  • Organize the information by topic, creating subtopics as needed to connect ideas.
  • Think about what points from each topic you will want to include in your literature review. What areas will you discuss (or leave out), and what research will you use to support your conclusions?
  • Try to summarize your main points into one or two sentences. What do you want the reader take away for each main idea?
  • Create an outline.  For each main point in your literature review, list supporting arguments and resources. Repeat as necessary for each main idea.

Contact me for assistance

Profile Photo
Kendall Larson
Darrell W. Krueger Library 122
Winona State University
Winona, Minnesota

Check out OpenRiver Digital Collections!