How to Write a Literature Review Summarizing Relevant Readings in Your Research Paper What is a Good RRL A lit review is not a report Rather, a lit review is a that summarizes relevant cohesive account of important bodies of works and articles and books one by arguments in your discipline, one sequentially. and the articles and books that are a part of these bodies of work and arguments. The trick is to choose the bodies of work that are most relevant to your project. Literature reviews don’t A good literature review have to be necessarily must be comprehensive. long As you summarize the Relate each piece of literature, be careful that research to the broader you're not just discussing research question, and each piece of writing in a relate individual pieces vacuum of research to each other Be careful not to make For example, if you're your lit review too broad writing about the effects of squash seeds on the On the other hand, don't growth of chickens make your lit review too there's no need to narrow include a background discussion of how squash are grown. How to write a Literature Review: • Step 1: Read a lot. Read with care and purpose Look carefully at the references Read from tangentially related fields • Step 2: Define the area. It is important to know what that body of knowledge says so that we know where our own work should go, and, ultimately, does go. Keep in mind that when you are reviewing the literature, typically you are looking at the literature that deals with your particular area. • Step 3: Keep track of all of this information. Copy articles. Write down all bibliographic information on the copy of the article. Write note cards and bibliog. cards • Step 4: Write it up. When writing a literature review, keep in mind that you are reviewing the literature, not summarizing it. EXAMPLE Your research has something to do with the effects of squash seeds on the growth of chickens A similar study:The effects of organic feeds on the growth of squirrels • You do not want to do this: • Smith (1978) conducted a 3x3x3 factorial design to study squirrels. He concentrated on brown squirrels, stating “flying squirrels are just too damn unpredictable to study” (page 54). 1000 squirrels were broken into six groups and given the choice of nuts to eat. 1 group was given nothing but pecans, the other nothing but acorns, and then allowed to switch, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH...... You may write this instead: • Smith (1978) found that squirrels fed with acorn nuts had a higher mean growth than squirrels fed with pecan nuts. • Then relate this information to your own research. REMEMBER!!!! • The most common mistakes students make are that they don’t do enough literature, or they do too much literature, or they summarize the literature rather than review it. • Remember that you are trying to set the stage for your own work and therefore your discussions about it is important. • Read some literature reviews to find out how others have done this. See what you like, and what you do not like. • Check our research area/library for researches done and their literature reviews.
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