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Writing Assignments

This guide should help you get started on any writing assignment you may be given. If you don't see your particular type of assignment here, or if you need any help, please feel free to contact us!

What is a Literature Review?

·         An examination of the significant works (books, scholarly articles, dissertations, and other works) published on a particular issue, area of research, or theory which provides a critical evaluation of each significant work.

·         Focuses on what is known about a specific topic and what methodologies, theses, and models have been applied to that research by other works.

·         Highlights areas of the research topic that appear to need additional research in order to reach a conclusion.

·         Provides background for the issue/topic and puts it into a chronological and/or historical perspective.

·         Clarifies areas where there is consensus (and not) within the prior research.

·         Indicates which information will be most useful to the current research (if the literature review is a part of a larger report).

Tutorial: The Literature Review or Review of the Literature

Types of Literature Reviews:

1.       A self-contained review of writings on a subject.

o   Contains no additional research to present.

o   Summarizes and explains the arguments and ideas of others.

o   Offers conclusions and opinions identifying the research works that provide significant contributions to the development and understanding of the subject at hand.



2.       An  essential piece of a larger work (i.e., scholarly article, dissertation, or thesis).

o   Offers an overview of relevant research conducted on the topic at the beginning of the work.

o   Used as a foundation to which the researcher will link his/her new research findings.



Subject Guide

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Page Brannon
301e Consortium Library
Subjects: Justice / Law

Lit. Review Websites

Consult these websites for more information about how to write a literature review:

 -      Graduate Writing Workshops: Literature Reviews (OWL at Purdue)

·         Write a Literature Review (UC Santa Cruz)

·         Review of Literature (UW Madison Writing Center)