LITERATURE REVIEW

CAPS-SYP Literature Reviews due Friday, 3/2.

In writing your Literature Review, you should focus on the following -


1. Formal essay structure
2. A focused (not comprehensive) review of the scholarship you have assembled
3. Your introduction should be a stylized review of your Big 3
4. Pay attention to citation style in both form and function
5. Remember if written well - this Lit. Review could become part of your final paper
6. Remember you are not evaluating each source specifically, but a sample range of the research on your topic
7. Clear and Concise. Lit. Review = No more than 2 pages (not including citations)
8. Leave your SYP project out of your Lit. Review. These documents should be focused on the sample of professional literature on your topic.


What is a literature review?

Written in essay style, a literature review describes, classifies, and evaluates the sources of information published on a given topic.
What is the value of a literature review?

A literature review provides your reader with a comprehensive survey of the professional publications available on your topic. It demonstrates that you have not only thoroughly researched your topic but also carefully examined and critically evaluated the range of relevant sources.
Where are literature reviews used?

Though once most common in the sciences and social sciences, literature reviews—under a variety of names—are now required in almost all academic fields and many professional arenas. For example:


  • NNHS Senior Year Project theses & projects
  • graduate theses in sciences, social sciences & humanities
  • government & privately funded grant proposals
  • law and legal precedent reviews
  • corporate market assessments & feasibility studies
  • etc.

What is the "literature" in a literature review?

The "literature" is the collection of all books, journal and newspaper articles, websites, government documents, etc. you found to be relevant to your research topic.
How is a literature review different from an annotated bibliography?

A literature review is written in the style of an expository essay; it comprises an introduction, body and conclusion, and it is organized around a controlling idea or thesis. An annotated bibliography is simply an alphabetized list of sources accompanied by comments. Moreover, while a single source appears just once in an annotated bibliography, it may be referred to numerous times in a literature review, depending upon its importance in the field or relationship to other sources. Finally, a literature review includes its own intext citations and bibliography or works cited list.

How is a literature review different from a traditional research paper?

A literature review may stand alone and be assigned or published as a discrete entity. Or it may constitute one section of a larger research paper or one chapter—usually the first—of a thesis. Whereas the main body of a research paper focuses on the subject of your research, the literature review focuses on your sources. Put another way, in the research paper you use expert sources to support the discussion of your thesis; in a literature review, you discuss the sources themselves.


(adapted from the UMASS Writing Center)