Literature Review Overview

A literature review allows you to consider what is known about a topic and allows you to show that you have listened to the most credible voices in the conversation in your research. It gives you a chance to show that you see how other voices in the conversation relate to one another, as you begin to add your own voice to that conversation. You will consider some of the following questions to better understand the conversation on this topic: Whose perspectives are voiced most often? Why? What are those voices saying? Who seems to be the biggest player in this discussion? Start to look for patterns in what is being said and by whom. Think about the sources you evaluated in this discussion. Are they the most credible voices? Do they represent perspectives who are active in this conversation?

You should spend approximately 8 hours on this assignment.

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  1. Research: Research the same topic you began researching in your discussion assignments. Access the Online Library Databases, and search for five sources that you believe will be useful to your research project. (You may use sources from your Source Scavenger Hunt.) Try to find the most credible resources on this topic. If you see that many other sources link to or cite a source, then you should attempt to find and use that source in your own research.
  2. Pre-Write: Carefully read and annotate your five sources. Complete the synthesis matrix to help you organize their key ideas in relation to one another.
  3. Pre-Write: Look closely at the patterns of information you see. Consider where the key ideas in these sources overlap. Where do the sources seem to say similar things? Where do they disagree? What evidence do they hold in common? What evidence is completely different? What goals or purposes do these sources seem to have in common? What is significant about the ways in which these sources are connected in conversation?
  4. WriteAnalyze the sources you see as most prevalent and significant in this conversation. Analyze the conversation you see happening around this topic. Focus on the sources and the perspectives, and not a summary of the debate or the issue. Consider what sources are credible, whose perspectives they represent, and what role in the conversation each source plays. Without summarizing the resources, write a synthesis where you analyze what these sources say and the patterns in information you see amongst these sources. When you state that two sources are similar, you must show how they are similar and analyze why their similarity is significant. Explore how these voices are in conversation with one another.
  5. Your essay should contain 4-5 quotations from your sources, and it should include paraphrasing of other main ideas. Be sure to use quotation marks and in-text citations appropriately and responsibly.
  6. Your essay should be approximately 850 words.
  7. Please be sure to correctly format your essay in MLA Style and create an MLA Works Cited page. Need help with MLA? Please refer to the Online MLA Citation Toolkit


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