Review of the Literature Essay
NRS 441 Week 2 Assignment 1 Review of the Literature Essay
A literature review is a document or section of a document that gathers important sources on a subject and converses about those sources with one another (also called synthesis). Not just in literature but throughout many disciplines, the literature review is a crucial genre (i.e., the study of works of literature such as novels and plays). The research (scholarship) in a certain topic is what we are referring to when we use the terms “literature review” or “the literature.” The words “the research,” “the scholarship,” and “the literature” are frequently used synonymously.
The where, when, and why of writing a
A literature review can be written in a variety of different contexts, each with slightly different expectations. Additionally, different disciplines have expectations unique to their fields for what a literature review is and does. For instance, in the sciences, authors are more likely to report study designs and results in their literature reviews, whereas in the humanities, authors may include more overt argumentation and interpretation of source material; these differences reflect these disciplines’ purposes and conventions in scholarship. To make sure you comprehend the norms of your profession, for literature reviews as well as for any other genre, you should constantly look at examples from your own discipline and consult lecturers or mentors in your field.
A literature review can be included in a research paper or academic article; it typically comes before the research methods section and follows the introduction. In these circumstances, the literature review only has to discuss scholarship pertinent to the topic you are writing about; occasionally, it will also discuss relevant sources that shaped your research methods.
Literature reviews can be published on their own or assigned as homework for classes. As part of their coursework, students may be required to conduct a literature review to become acquainted with a subject and relevant scholarship, learn about other researchers studying the subject of their interest, identify gaps in the literature that could be filled by future projects, and/or develop a theoretical framework and research methodology. As a publication, a literature review typically aims to simplify the work of other academics by compiling, summarizing, and evaluating current research on a subject. This is especially useful for students or researchers transitioning into a new field of study, or for drawing the attention of the broader academic community to unresolved issues.
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Write a paper (1,500-2,000 words) in which you analyze and appraise each of the (15) articles identified in Topic 1. Pay particular attention to evidence that supports the problem, issue, or deficit, and your proposed solution.
Hint: The Topic 2 readings provide appraisal questions that will assist you to efficiently and effectively analyze each article.
Refer to “Sample Format for Review of Literature,” “RefWorks,” and “Topic 2: Checklist.”
Prepare this assignment according to the APA guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the
Student Success Center. An abstract is not required.
You are required to submit this assignment to Turnitin. Please refer to the directions in the Student Success Center. NRS 441 Week 2 Assignment 1 Review of the Literature Essay
Topic 2: Checklist
Review of Literature and Incorporating Theory
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This checklist is designed to help students organize the weekly exercises/assignments to be completed as preparation for the final capstone project proposal. This checklist will also serve as a communication tool between students and faculty. Comments, feedback, and grading for modules 1-4 will be documented using this checklist. NRS 441 Week 2 Assignment 1 Review of the Literature Essay
- Search for relevant literature
- Evaluate sources
- Identify themes, debates and gaps
- Outline the structure
- Write your literature review
A good literature review doesn’t just summarize sources—it analyzes, synthesizes, and critically evaluates to give a clear picture of the state of knowledge on the subject.
Table of contents
- Search for relevant literature
- Evaluate and select sources
- Identify themes, debates, and gaps
- Outline your literature review’s structure
- Write your literature review
- Free lecture slides
- Frequently asked questions about literature reviews
What are the parts of a lit review?
Most lit reviews use a basic introduction-body-conclusion structure; if your lit review is part of a larger paper, the introduction and conclusion pieces may be just a few sentences while you focus most of your attention on the body. If your lit review is a standalone piece, the introduction and conclusion take up more space and give you a place to discuss your goals, research methods, and conclusions separately from where you discuss the literature itself.
- An introductory paragraph that explains what your working topic and thesis is
- A forecast of key topics or texts that will appear in the review
- Potentially, a description of how you found sources and how you analyzed them for inclusion and discussion in the review (more often found in published, standalone literature reviews than in lit review sections in an article or research paper) NRS 441 Week 2 Assignment 1 Review of the Literature Essay
- Summarize and synthesize: Give an overview of the main points of each source and combine them into a coherent whole
- Analyze and interpret: Don’t just paraphrase other researchers – add your own interpretations where possible, discussing the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole
- Critically Evaluate: Mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources
- Write in well-structured paragraphs: Use transition words and topic sentence to draw connections, comparisons, and contrasts.
- Summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance
- Connect it back to your primary research question
How should I organize my lit review?
Lit reviews can take many different organizational patterns depending on what you are trying to accomplish with the review. Here are some examples:
- Chronological: The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time, which helps familiarize the audience with the topic (for instance if you are introducing something that is not commonly known in your field). If you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order. Try to analyze the patterns, turning points, and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred (as mentioned previously, this may not be appropriate in your discipline — check with a teacher or mentor if you’re unsure).
- Thematic: If you have found some recurring central themes that you will continue working with throughout your piece, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic. For example, if you are reviewing literature about women and religion, key themes can include the role of women in churches and the religious attitude towards women. NRS 441 Week 2 Assignment 1 Review of the Literature Essay
- Methodological: If you draw your sources from different disciplines or fields that use a variety of research methods, you can compare the results and conclusions that emerge from different approaches. For example:
- Qualitative versus quantitative research
- Empirical versus theoretical scholarship
- Divide the research by sociological, historical, or cultural sources
- Theoretical: In many humanities articles, the literature review is the foundation for the theoretical framework. You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts. You can argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach or combine various theorical concepts to create a framework for your research.
What are some strategies or tips I can use while writing my lit review?
Any lit review is only as good as the research it discusses; make sure your sources are well-chosen and your research is thorough. Don’t be afraid to do more research if you discover a new thread as you’re writing. More info on the research process is available .
As you’re doing your research, create an annotated bibliography (). Much of the information used in an annotated bibliography can be used also in a literature review, so you’ll be not only partially drafting your lit review as you research, but also developing your sense of the larger conversation going on among scholars, professionals, and any other stakeholders in your topic.
Usually you will need to synthesize research rather than just summarizing it. This means drawing connections between sources to create a picture of the scholarly conversation on a topic over time. Many student writers struggle to synthesize because they feel they don’t have anything to add to the scholars they are citing; here are some strategies to help you:
- It often helps to remember that the point of these kinds of syntheses is to show your readers how you understand your research, to help them read the rest of your paper.
- Writing teachers often say synthesis is like hosting a dinner party: imagine all your sources are together in a room, discussing your topic. What are they saying to each other?
- Look at the in-text citations in each paragraph. Are you citing just one source for each paragraph? This usually indicates summary only. When you have multiple sources cited in a paragraph, you are more likely to be synthesizing them (not always, but often
The most interesting literature reviews are often written as arguments (again, as mentioned at the beginning of the page, this is discipline-specific and doesn’t work for all situations). Often, the literature review is where you can establish your research as filling a particular gap or as relevant in a particular way. You have some chance to do this in your introduction in an article, but the literature review section gives a more extended opportunity to establish the conversation in the way you would like your readers to see it. You can choose the intellectual lineage you would like to be part of and whose definitions matter most to your thinking (mostly humanities-specific, but this goes for sciences as well). In addressing these points, you argue for your place in the conversation, which tends to make the lit review more compelling than a simple reporting of other sources. NRS 441 Week 2 Assignment 1 Review of the Literature Essay