Sample Preliminary Literature Review

Submit a preliminary literature review that will form the basis of your background information that provides the basis for your hypothesis. A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources on a specific topic. It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research.

Writing a literature review involves finding relevant publications (such as books and journal articles), critically analyzing them, and explaining what you found. You should have at least 4-5 resources, two of which are primary resources (research published in a major journal for the first time and not summarized or referenced by someone else). The minimum required word count is 400 words using APA format. Follow the guideline below, then view the sample.

Outline for writing your literature review:


1. Introduction (without this heading)

Write an introduction paragraph for your review. This paragraph

a. states the topic and inquiry questions for this review

b. tells the reader specific information on how many articles you reviewed and how you sorted the articles into common themes based on findings (results).


2. Body (without this heading)

Before you begin this section, be sure that you have sorted your articles into different themes based on the articles’ findings (sometimes called results). After you sort your articles, it is important to give your sorted groups a descriptive name. The names of the sorted articles will become your headings for each of the paragraphs that you write in the body of your review. The body of your literature review will include,


a. Theme 1: a paragraph or several paragraphs that describe the first theme that you identified and compare, contrast and/or connect the articles you’ve selected.

b. Theme 2: a paragraph or several paragraphs that describes the second theme that you identified and compare, contrast and/or connect the articles you’ve selected.

d. Theme 3: a paragraph or several paragraphs that describes the third theme that you identified and compare, contrast and/or connect the articles you’ve selected.

… …


3 Summary

This is the last paragraph of your literature review. In this paragraph, it is important to briefly summarize the main findings from the articles that you reviewed and to point out how your inquiry questions were answered or not answered, what the gap is (what if my questions are all answered – you then need to identify new inquiries so that you will contribute to the field)..


4. References

This is the last pages of your review. It serves as a listing of all references that you mentioned in your paper (both draft 1 and draft 2). Please make sure that only references cited in your drafts will be listed here. Other references that you earlier found/read but not cited will be listed in your bibliography. Please use APA style when completing this list.



Sample Preliminary Literature Review

The United States is currently the world leader in pecan crop production, accounting for more than 50% of the total production. However, during the last decades, pecan crop production has been introduced to several other countries, including South Africa, Brazil, Australia, Argentina, and China (McEachern, 2014). Pecan trees have two major multiannual reproductive strategies: 1) heavy fruit load in one year, and 2) low fruit load in the following year. This is called alternate bearing (Goldschmidt, 2013). Pecan yield may be inhibited by several factors, such as low rainfall, extreme temperature, high evaporation rates and saline groundwater (Flores et al., 2017).

However, several measures can be taken to ensure high yield of pecan nut. Sammis et al (2013) suggested that water and nitrogen management are very important measures to improve pecan crop yield. High fertilizer costs, lack of water as well as environmental demands have lately resulted in increased interest in nutrient and water management practices. Another important factor that will improve pecan yield include vegetation control in the areas surrounding young bearing pecan trees (Faircloth et al., 2007), since overcrowding may lead to competition of water (Smith et al., 2002), competition of nutrients (Goff et al., 1991) and allelopathy (Smith et al., 2001).



Flores, A. M., Brian J. Schutte, David Daniel, Geno Picchioni, & Manoj K. Shukla. (2017).

Physiologic response of six plant species grown in two contrasting soils and irrigated brackish groundwater and RO concentrate. Arid Land Research and Management31(2), 182–203.

Goff, W. D., Patterson, M. G., & West, M. S. (1991). Orchard floor management practices

influence elemental concentrations in young pecan trees. HortScience26(11), 1379-1381.

Goldschmidt, E. (2013). The Evolution of Fruit Tree Productivity: A Review. Economic Botany,

67(1), 51–62.

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