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Writing the Literature Review (Part One): Step-by-Step Tutorial for Graduate Students

writing the literature review effective Writing Center tutorial here at the University of Maryland University College hello everyone my name is David Taylor and it’s a real pleasure to be with you today to talk about this thing right here the literature review you know I thought a good way to begin today would be to talk about not what the literature review is first but to maybe first talk about what the literature review is not and one thing that the literature review is not is that it is not an essay it is not a research paper the literature review is part of your essay the literature review is part of your research paper or maybe it’s a standalone product if you’re in a master’s degree or doctoral degree program and you have to do that first but regardless of whether it’s part of your research essay or standalone product one thing the literature review does not do it does not state prove illustrate cooperate or develop your main points that’s in the body of your essay the literature review does not do that it does not provide the body or development section of your essay or your paper well what the heck does it do then well the literature review is divided into the following key terms first is this whole idea of what the heck is the literature the literature is simply those major works that have been published about your narrow topic now remember I said narrow topic there because you’re not going to be reviewing every published thing on a broad topic like steroid use by athletes you’re going to have a more narrow topic like steroid use by high school athletes or steroid used by baseball players and so you’re going to be reviewing the major works just on that narrow topic so that’s the first thing that you need to know the literature is the published peer-reviewed sources on a narrow topic the second thing the literature review is is that that narrow topic and all those sources published on it are going to be reviewed and what the heck is a review well a review is simply a way of looking at something and taking a snapshot of it that’s what a review is and what is that snapshot going to capture that snapshot is going to capture the major concepts the major points the major outcomes the major whatever in that source it’s not going to be a detailed write-up of that one source it’s going to be a snapshot of it and then once you get all those snapshots done you’re going to show the relationships between those snapshots and in talking about those relationships you’re probably going to be putting them in some kind of timeline situation maybe not but the key is that you’re going to be extracting just the major elements and then the relationships among those major elements may be on a timeline type situation now the next thing to know about the literature review is why the heck are you doing all this stuff well I think there are three reasons probably while you’re doing all this stuff in school and the first one is of course to improve your own understanding as an undergraduate researcher coming into these topics are into this discipline on the undergraduate level one of the first things that you have to do is to build your understanding build your background build your expertise in a particular discipline and subjects in that discipline then and of course in this paper once you have built your expertise or your knowledge in this particular subject you’re going to be demonstrating that knowledge demonstrating that expertise to your professor because this is a college assignment but you know what the real purpose of a literature review is it’s a reader service it’s something you’re doing as a favor for your readers and what are you doing you are bringing them up-to-date have you ever had this experience where you’ve run into an old friend after a number of years what’s the first thing you and that old friend do you ask each other hey what do you been doing all these years fill me in update me you’re doing the same thing in a literature review you’re filling them in you’re updating them you and by bringing them up to date then you can start at the present again you see what I’m saying you’ve kind of bring them along that timeline of the past letting them know the key element remember the major concepts the key elements in your life and once you’re there boom then you can start and that’s the dividing line between the literature review and the rest of your paper or the development you go all their ideas the past scholars the past researchers boom and then come your ideas your present life so to speak

Writing the Literature Review (Part One): Step-by-Step Tutorial for Graduate Students

writing the literature review effective Writing Center tutorial here at the University of Maryland University College hello everyone my name is David Taylor and it’s a real pleasure to be with you today to talk about this thing right here the literature review you know I thought a good way to begin today would be to talk about not what the literature review is first but to maybe first talk about what the literature review is not and one thing that the literature review is not is that it is not an essay it is not a research paper the literature review is part of your essay the literature review is part of your research paper or maybe it’s a standalone product if you’re in a master’s degree or doctoral degree program and you have to do that first but regardless of whether it’s part of your research essay or standalone product one thing the literature review does not do it does not state prove illustrate cooperate or develop your main points that’s in the body of your essay the literature review does not do that it does not provide the body or development section of your essay or your paper well what the heck does it do then well the literature review is divided into the following key terms first is this whole idea of what the heck is the literature the literature is simply those major works that have been published about your narrow topic now remember I said narrow topic there because you’re not going to be reviewing every published thing on a broad topic like steroid use by athletes you’re going to have a more narrow topic like steroid use by high school athletes or steroid used by baseball players and so you’re going to be reviewing the major works just on that narrow topic so that’s the first thing that you need to know the literature is the published peer-reviewed sources on a narrow topic the second thing the literature review is is that that narrow topic and all those sources published on it are going to be reviewed and what the heck is a review well a review is simply a way of looking at something and taking a snapshot of it that’s what a review is and what is that snapshot going to capture that snapshot is going to capture the major concepts the major points the major outcomes the major whatever in that source it’s not going to be a detailed write-up of that one source it’s going to be a snapshot of it and then once you get all those snapshots done you’re going to show the relationships between those snapshots and in talking about those relationships you’re probably going to be putting them in some kind of timeline situation maybe not but the key is that you’re going to be extracting just the major elements and then the relationships among those major elements may be on a timeline type situation now the next thing to know about the literature review is why the heck are you doing all this stuff well I think there are three reasons probably while you’re doing all this stuff in school and the first one is of course to improve your own understanding as an undergraduate researcher coming into these topics are into this discipline on the undergraduate level one of the first things that you have to do is to build your understanding build your background build your expertise in a particular discipline and subjects in that discipline then and of course in this paper once you have built your expertise or your knowledge in this particular subject you’re going to be demonstrating that knowledge demonstrating that expertise to your professor because this is a college assignment but you know what the real purpose of a literature review is it’s a reader service it’s something you’re doing as a favor for your readers and what are you doing you are bringing them up-to-date have you ever had this experience where you’ve run into an old friend after a number of years what’s the first thing you and that old friend do you ask each other hey what do you been doing all these years fill me in update me you’re doing the same thing in a literature review you’re filling them in you’re updating them you and by bringing them up to date then you can start at the present again you see what I’m saying you’ve kind of bring them along that timeline of the past letting them know the key element remember the major concepts the key elements in your life and once you’re there boom then you can start and that’s the dividing line between the literature review and the rest of your paper or the development you go all their ideas the past scholars the past researchers boom and then come your ideas your present life so to speak