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Literature Reviews and Annotated Bibliographies: How to Write a Literature Review?

Best Practices: Components, Resources Sites

How to write a Literature Review?

Components:

  • Introduction: State your research topic
  • Body/Presentation of Sources Used: A research topic have different angles/viariables/themes. Organize your finding based of those categories.
  • Discussion/Analysis of Literature: Summarize/synthesize major literature that deal with your research topic. Discuss common themes, gaps, etc...
  • Conclusion: Re-state your topic and explain if it has changed after the review and what are the next steps for your research

Tips

Tips:

  • Do not over "quote." If you only quote from every single author you found, then you are not showing any original thinking or analysis. Use quotes judiciously. Use quotes to highlight a particular passages or thought that is exemplary of the research, theory or topic you are researching.
  • Instead use paraphrasing to report, in your own words, what the author was reporting or theorizing.
  • Summarize findings, important sections or a whole article--this is different from paraphrasing since you are not re-stating the author words but identifying the main points of what you are reading in a concise matter for your readers.
  • When synthesizing your findings for the literature review (this is when make comparison, establish relationships between authors' works, point out weakness, strenghts and gaps among the literature review, you still need to give credit to these sources.

Best Practices: Quoting, Paraphrasing, etc.

Definitions:

Quoting*: "(a) to speak or write (a passage) from another usually with credit acknowledgment. (b) to repeat a passage from especially in substantiation or illustration."

Paraphrasing*: Paraphrase is the “restatement of a text, passage, or work giving the meaning in another form.” 

Summarize*: It’s the process of summarizing a text or paragraph to its the main points succinctly.

Synthesize*: “1. (a) the composition or combination of parts or elements so as to form a whole."

*Definitions from Merriam Webster Dictionary Online, http://www.m-w.com <Accessed September 1st, 2011>

Useful site to start the Research Process: http://www.umuc.edu/writingcenter/onlineguide/Online-Guide-Chapter-4.cfm (University of Maryland)

Useful sites with tips on how to write a Literature Review:

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