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MSHAL Literature Review: Step 5: How to Organize the Review

How to Organize your Literature Review

You can organize your literature review in many different ways

  • different theoretical approaches
  • specific concepts or issues
  • different methodologies
  • level of support to your theory



  • History of standardized tests
  • Different types of standardized tests
  • Rationale of standardized tests
  • Role of high stakes tests
  • Standardized tests and the law

Standardized Tests in Practice

  • Testing at elementary school
  • Testing at secondary school
  • Statistics

Critics and Proponents of Standardized Tests

  • Testing of students with disabilities
  • Testing of minority students
  • Testing of students from different social backgrounds
  • Gender differences in testing
  • Case for bias
  • Case against bias
  • Teachers’ perspectives
  • School administrators’ perspectives
  • Students’ perspectives

How to Structure a Literature Review

Categorizing the Literature

When categorizing your articles, you may consider:

  • the methodology;
  • the quality of the findings or conclusions;
  • the documents major strengths and weaknesses
  • what beliefs are expressed?
  • is there an ideological stance?
  • is the article comprehensive or narrow?
  • are the results generalizable?

Similar Studies

If there are similar studies you may want to discuss the most important ones and write that the results were confirmed in other studies.