The research at the department is wide-ranging, both in time and place. In Uppsala University's extensive research evaluation the Department's spread of scholarly interests is called "impressive", as is the volume of research output. The Department is called "a rich intellectual environment." (Quality and Renewal 2007)

Many projects within both Literature and Rhetoric are individually based, but during the last years a number of formalized Focus Areas have been developed. Within the department there are also two specialized units: Section for Sociology of Literature and Section for Rhetoric.

One or two doctoral theses are examined every year, and the dissertations are always printed, often with commercial publishers. The scholars of the department contribute yearly with about one hundred publications of various lengths; from scholarly reviews and critical essays to monographs in several volumes.