"Synthesizing the literature" means comparing themes, methods, findings, and inconsistencies within the articles you found, so that you can show how the articles relate to each other.
Synthesizing the information that you find in multiple articles can be difficult. It is important to analyze and organize the different perspectives, ideas, and methods that you encounter in your reading.
Using a synthesis matrix may help you keep track of the main ideas of each document. A synthesis matrix is a chart that you use to organize and compare your sources.
As you synthesize your research, look for these things:
- The main purpose of each article and how it relates to your topic
- Methods and findings discussed in the article
- Similarities and differences among the authors
- Inconsistencies or controversies within the research
Download a Sample Synthesis Matrix to use as you prepare to write your literature review: