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Literature Reviews

Introduction

A literature review provides an overview of the scholarly information published to date on a specific topic, summarizing and synthesizing the ideas presented. At the undergraduate level, a literature review differs from a research paper in that no new primary research is presented. At the graduate level, literature reviews often constitute a chapter of a thesis or dissertation and provide an intellectual context for the author's own research.

The literature review differs from an annotated bibliography: it is a narrative document that synthesizes the sources consulted to develop a conclusion. An annotated bibliography deals with each resource in turn, describing and evaluating the source in a single paragraph.

Literature Review Process

  • Decide on your topic. Begin with an Overview of the topic, including the thesis statement for the review
  • Search relevant databases and library catalogs to Locate Sources
  • Write Annotations for each source, placing it in the context of their contribution to the research on the topic.
  • Organize the Sources into categories - e.g. those that support one position, those against the position, those that offer an alternative thesis. You may also choose to organize sources in chronological order within your categories
  • Connect Sources - explain how each source relates to other sources
  • Conclusion - discuss which sources are most effective in supporting their position and which sources contribute the most to the current understanding of the topic

Lisabeth Chabot

Lis Chabot's picture
Lis Chabot
Contact:
303 Gannett Center
607-274-3182
Subjects:IC Library

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