Literature Reviews

This guide provides information to understand the purpose of a Literature review, search for information, analysis; synthesis of the literature and writing the review.

Writing with an academic voice

The literature review critically analyses and summarises the content of the literature by grouping together material with similar conclusions or themes. Connections are made between the literature and your research question. Any gaps, inconsistencies or conflicting viewpoints are appraised within the context of the research question.

Literature reviews and systematic literature reviews are written in a formal tone known as academic voice. Writing in an academic voice requires the author to be clear, straightforward, and professional without using unnecessarily complicated vocabulary. The central components of academic voice include:

  • Authoritative register (voice) i.e. express ideas strongly with the power of research to back up the idea
  • Declarative statements. It is possible to write a declarative statement merely by deleting the "I" part of the sentence. Example: Instead of "I think that the world is round" write "The world is round" and then follow up with your evidence.
  • Formal language: Avoid using conversational / casual style
    • Avoid words like "okay," or storytelling indicators like, "then," "next," and "after that."
    • Avoid slang or colloquial expressions. Example: Instead of "The guy was nailed while taking down the newsagents" write "The man was caught robbing the newsagent".
    • Avoid the use of contractions. Example: Instead of can't use cannot, or instead of there's use there is.
    • Avoid the use of pronouns (I/me/my, he/his/him, she/her, we/us/our etc.). Example: Instead of "We went on a field trip to the Blue Mountains and discovered a new species of algae" write "A new species of algae was discovered during a field trip to the Blue Mountains".

The CQUniversity Academic Learning Centre can assist you with academic voice. Make an appointment.


Additional resources:

University of Melbourne, Academic Skills Writing the Literature Review