Western Libraries

CEE4441 Library Information Session

Literature Review

What is a literature review?

Analysis and critical evaluation of research previously done on your topic.

Literature review helps you:

  • find a gap in the research so you can contribute something original
  • justify your project and set the context for your topic

You will cite articles, standards, books, etc. on your topic that helped you develop your project (ideas, processes, models, useful quotations).

Some examples of literature review in the PDF below. Go through each example and pick one that is the best out of the four.

Writing your literature review

Take notes as you read!

Use a Synthesis Matrix, local version below adapted from the Synthesis Matrix technique developed by North Carolina State University).

An example of a populated synthesis matrix below.


Paper 1

Paper 2

Paper 3

Paper 4

Main Theme/Idea 1:
Preferred materials

Note/information and page number

cadmium telluride (page 312)

copper-indium selenide (page 1209)

polycrystalline silicon (page 54)

Main Theme/Idea 2: Efficiency of solar cell

Leave blank if a paper does not discuss a main idea

12% under STP (page 65)

15% (page 1215)

22% at 45 degrees Celsius (page 56)

Main Theme/Idea 3:
Use of thin-film solar cells

Also make a note if an author does not agree with the main idea

depending on application, can be preferred (page 320)

cannot be used above 50 degrees Celsius (page 1213)

not preferred - cost to efficiency of silicon is higher (page 59)

The Writing Support Centre on campus provides writing help.