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Introduction to Literature

Before you start

  1. Create a Research folder in your email.
  2. As you find articles, book chapters, videos, etc, email yourself copies & URLs you find.
  3. Collect resources in the email Research folder for easy reference.
  4. Know what the assignment requires before you start. What are the learning objectives?

Tips & Tools

Databases:

Literature - Understanding it: Analysis, Criticism, Reviews

  • Review: Short evaluation or assessment of a work. It may include the reviewer's thoughts and opinions. 
  • Analysis: Detailed discussion and interpretation of themes, symbols, etc. in a work.
  • Critique is a more comprehensive evaluation or assessment of a work,including: detailed analysis; discussion of other critiques; critic's personal views.

Tip Summaries from the University of Texas Libraries "Literature Reviews" Guide.

A literature review should: 

  • Provide a comprehensive and updated review of the literature;
  • Explain why this review has taken place;
  • Articulate a position or hypothesis;
  • Acknowledge and account for conflicting and corroborating points of view.

Purpose of a Literature Review

A literature review can be written as an introduction to a study to:

  • Demonstrate how a study fills a gap in research
  • Compare a study with other research that's been done

Or it can be a separate work (a research article on its own) which:

  • Organizes or describes a topic
  • Describes variables within a particular issue/problem

 Limitations of a literature review are:

  • It's only a snapshot in time. Unlike other reviews, this one has beginning, a middle and an end.
  • There may be nullifying future developments that could make your work less relevant.
  • It may be too focused. Some niche studies may miss the bigger picture.
  • It is difficult to be comprehensive. There is no way to make sure all the literature on a topic was considered.
  • It is easy to be biased if you stick to top tier journals. There are other places where people are publishing exemplary research.
    • Look to open access publications and conferences to reflect a more inclusive collection.
    • Act objectively: Make sure to include opposing views, not just supporting evidence. 
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