What is a “literature review”?• Short definition – A synthesis and analysis of the published research in the discipline that is relevant to your argument.• A literature review is NOT – A long list of the articles and books you read for your research.
What makes a good literature review?1. Relevant to your argument.2. Demonstrates how scholars, ideas, and data connect. Even better? Points out connections in the literature that others have missed.3. Identifies areas for further research. These gaps might be theoretical, applications of data, new data yet to be gathered.4. And…sets the stage for your contribution
Literature Review: Checklist What are the primary journals and databases for me to search for information on my research topic? Who are predominant scholars? How do they agree or disagree with each other? What are the terms I need to know to thoroughly research and write about this topic? What data and evidence are used most frequently for this research area? Are there gaps, inconsistencies, or emerging new areas of scholarship? Have I captured the breadth of scholarship relevant to this research area? How has research changed over time?See “Writing Up Research” Language Centre, Asian Institute of Technology , UNC’s Writing Center , andUMD’s Helen-Mongan Rallis.
This feels big. How on earth do I start?1. Reference and scholarly books – Background and broad historic review of your topic – Critical references to authors, journals, data2. Literature reviews – Review of the published literature in the field3. Broad scan in multidisciplinary databases – Consciously skim for data, scholars, journals, dates, terminology