To synthesize is to combine two or more elements to form a new whole. In the literature review, the “elements” are the findings of the literature you gather and read; the “new whole” is the conclusion you draw from those findings.


Synthesize to draw conclusions about the findings in the literature so that you can identify how the literature addresses your research question.


  • Gather literature that addresses your research question
  • Review literature and take notes: describe, summarize, analyze, and identify key concepts
  • Synthesize literature: compare & contrast, critically evaluate, interpret, so that you can draw conclusion

Remember: the literature review is an iterative process!

Synthesize E-Lecture (4:41)

Faculty & Student Voices (2:09)