A literature review is not an annotated bibliography in which you summarize briefly each article that you have reviewed. While a summary of what you have read is contained within the literature review, it goes well beyond merely summarizing studies. It focuses on a specific topic of interest to you and includes a critical analysis of the relationship among different works, and relating this research to your work. It may be written as a stand-alone paper or to provide a theoretical framework and rationale for a research study such as a thesis or dissertation. Mongan-Rallis,
Rule of Thumb Only use either present or past tense. Also recognize that dissertations require both past and present tense, says Bikos. Use past tense for the introduction, method and results sections; use present tense for your discussion. Introduction: use a mixture of present and past tense; the present tense is applied when you are talking about something that is always true; the past tense is used for earlier research efforts, either by your own or by another group. If the time of demonstration is unknown or not important, use the present perfect. Present tense is a grammatical term used for verbs that describe action happening right now.
Literature Review Verb Tense: The verb tenses in the literature review will depend on two main factors. First, you need to consider the type of citation you are using. Second, you need to think about the status of the information you are providing. On this page, we give some guidelines for the use of tenses in citations in the literature review.
Download this Handout PDF. But how do you do this well? What kind of quotations do you use? On this page we clarify the purpose of using literary quotations in literary analysis papers by exploring why quotations are important to use in your writing and then explaining how to do this.