Research 1000 : Research 1000 What is a literature review? Congratulations! : Congratulations! You’ve been assigned a literature review!
What is that exactly, again? A Literature Review is… : A Literature Review is… A paper that summarizes and discusses what has been previously published on a topic.
It explores the past research and it’s strengths and weaknesses. It also should… : It also should… Include major discoveries on this topic.
Find out if there are disagreements in the field.
…or if everyone is in consensus.
Has the area been explored fully? Are their gaps in the research?
Who the “major players” or authors are on this topic. What it is not… : What it is not… A book review. Whether you like the articles or books is not important! Why do we do this? : Why do we do this? You may be saying “What exactly is the point of all this? Doesn’t my professor already know this stuff?” Answer : Answer We do literature reviews because we are scholars. Each paper you turn in contributes to the information we know about this topic. Turning in something that doesn’t cite other sources or the important research and findings in the field makes your paper weak. Example : Example If you were a lawyer arguing a case, you wouldn’t expect the jury to believe what you said without using evidence or citing case law. Example : Example Your professors and peers have no reason to believe you unless you look at what has been done before and analyze it. This makes your paper strong! Ok, so how do I find this literature!? : Ok, so how do I find this literature!? First, pick your topic (broad enough for there to be material on it, but narrow enough for relevant articles). Next… : Next… Look for your literature. For most fields, you want to look at scholarly articles (which can be found in the databases at NEC), but books are also a good source.
Go to the article databases (or books) and make sure you are looking for “scholarly” or “peer reviewed” articles. ( Ex: An article in Time or Newsweek is not the research we are looking for, but in academic journals). Do a search on your topic… : Do a search on your topic… Search for your topic and find relevant articles. Analyze the research : Analyze the research Look at:
The author’s new research
Their lit reviews
What articles/authors they mention
Who they cited in their bibliography
This will give you clues to the important events in the field and who the major authors and scholars are! More Analysis! : More Analysis! What does the community of scholars have to say?
What are the findings?
What is missing from the research? What hasn’t been explored? Time to write! : Time to write! It is now time to write. Remember you are synthesizing/summarizing the research…whether or not you like it is not the point! Literature Review IQ : Literature Review IQ My professor assigned me a literature review on a topic of my choice. I think I’m going to talk about Anne of Green Gables. I loved that book. Don’t you think that is a good idea?
Yes, I am anxious to hear your opinion…
No, that is not quite what a literature review is… Answer: : Answer: The world will have to wait for your opinion on Anne of Green Gables. A literature review should be looking at the scholarly research (peer-reviewed articles and important books) and summarizing the positions. It is not your opinion about it. Question 2 : Question 2 A literature review should include:
The major discoveries in my topic.
The gaps in the research.
The major authors and scholars opinion’s.
All of the above. Answer: : Answer: All of these things are very important for a literature review! It needs to address all of these points!
Click on ! You are almost done! Question 3 : Question 3 You have a literature review assigned and you are looking for the important research. You find two results that are relevant to your topic. One is from Psychology Today and the other from The Journal of Marriage and Family. Which one should you use?
The Journal of Marriage and Family…
Both… Answer: : Answer: While Psychology Today is a great magazine, it does not count as a scholarly journal, and should not be included in a literature review. The Journal of Marriage and Family is peer-reviewed journal, and so it is a very appropriate place to look for articles for a literature review. (for more information on peer-review, check out our tutorial!)
Try again! You’re done! : You’re done! Hopefully this gives you a better idea of what a literature review is all about!
For more information:
Contact your professor or your librarians!
Phone (603) 428-2344