Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

NH-720 Research for Clinical Practice

Writing a Literature Review

Unless you have a reason to present the literature chronologically (to show development over time, perhaps), the preferred method for organizing your literature is thematically. 

Step 1: Identify your themes.

Step 2: Identify the articles that address those themes

Step 3: Identify the similarities and differences among the articles within the themes

A Literature Synthesis Matrix will be especially helpful in this process.

In essence a synthesis matrix is a way to organize your literature by theme, which is generally the way writers organize their whole literature reviews.

North Carolina State has a very nice description and example of the process. 

This YouTube video also explains the process.


Get started with a synthesis matrix template below. You can choose a template in Word or Excel format.

This video gives examples of how to write an evidence synthesis.

Want help with your writing?

The IHP Writing Tutor can help you write your literature review. Help is provided via e-mail. Contact the writing tutor at