The best literature reviews are not individual summaries of articles; rather, they are a combined synthesis. In scholarly writing, to synthesize means to bring various ideas and pieces of information together. In this “bringing together,” new comparisons are drawn and new meanings derived. So, even though you are reporting on information in four different articles, you are also molding that information into a new and unique story you are telling about the research topic.

For a visual, you might think about each piece of information within a theme as a strand of yarn or rope. You weave those strands together, put them against each other, twist them, and eventually, you come up with a beautiful shape. In the literature review, this “weaving” looks like comparing, contrasting, and analyzing the articles in relationship to one another and the social work profession.

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