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Writing Your Literature Review - SOCI 352: Quantitative Methods and Analysis
This guide is intended to help you understand what a literature review is and it outlines the steps to writing your own literature review.
First things first: WHAT is a literature review?
A literature review is summary that pulls together, interprets, and logically arranges the current state of knowledge on a subject that others have been researching. It can be done as an introduction to one's own research, or it can be presented as a stand alone paper. In your case, you will be writing a stand alone literature review on a narrow topic that is of interest to you. Before we get into the nuts and bolts of how to go forward with your own literature review, have a look at this video.
Like the video above? Are you a visual learner? If so, have a look at this one. Here you'll learn how to make sure your lit review more than just a list of disjointed references and you'll learn to put your own voice into your synthesis.
HOW to approach writing your own literature review
It's time to get organized. The more organized your ideas are in the early stages, the more things will flow later.
Step 1.Read this handout provided by UNC's Writing Center. This is an excellent jump starter that will help you think ahead. After reading this guide, remember to return to this page to go on to step 2.
Click here. →
Step 2.Time to get hands-on and to do some brainstorming! No need to get on a computer quite yet! It's probably best to to this with paper and pencil. Click on the image to see what happens when we are too anxious to start typing before doing the mind mapping and brainstorming needed to get good results. Don't forget to to return to this page in order to go on to step 3.
(Source: Leonard Lief Library of Lehman College.)
Click here. →
Step 3.Now that you have your keywords on paper, you're ready to begin the detective work at your computer! Start with some of the databases you see in the column on the far right side of this page. If you need help, be sure to visit the library to ask for assistance. If you want to feel like a search pro, ask for tips on using boolean operators, truncation, wildcards, and quotations.
Step 4.Things are starting to come together. In fact, you're starting to find so much information that you're unsure how to keep track of it. There are many places to conveniently save and organize what you find including Google Drive, EBSCOhost, EndNote, etc.
With all this talk about the literature review, you probably want to see what a finished one looks like, right?! Click on the image to the right to see how two co-authors collaborated to create a published literature review. Once you've seen what this final product of a lit review looks like, you might want to reinforce your understanding of the differences between a literature review and an annotated bibliograpy byclicking here.
Click here to see a finished literature review. →
Step 5.You will probably write multiple drafts before you are happy with your final literature review. If you are having any trouble with the writing process, be sure to speak to Dr. Schorpp to ask for her feedback and suggestions. Also consider making an appointment with the Roanoke College Writing Center for assistance.
A comprehensive scholarly, multi-disciplinary full-text database, with full-text periodicals, peer-reviewed journals, monographs, reports, conference proceedings, etc. It features PDF content going back as far as 1887.
Full text journals, many back to the original issue. Provides access to journals in the arts & sciences, business, ecology & botany, and languages & literature. JSTOR's coverage typically begins 3 -5 years after the current year.
Provides cover-to-cover full text for more than 70 national (U.S.) and international newspapers including the Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Times (London), Toronto Star, etc. and television & radio news transcripts from CBS News, CNN, CNN International, FOX News, NPR, etc. The database also contains selective full text for more than 330 regional (U.S.) newspapers.
Contains full text of articles from over 2,500 publications, and indexing and abstracts from nearly 3,600 publications, supporting research in all core undergraduate subjects and for cross-disciplinary work. Also contains the old database "Applied Sciences & Technology Index".