CIRCA:Literature Review


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A literature review is a summary of the important positions in the academic literature on a subject. When writing one you need to ask what are the important articles and books on the subject. One way to do a lit review is the following:

1. Draw up a long list of possible articles and books.

2. Boil it down to those things that seem most relevant and useful. Often we eliminate certain types of works and think of new places to look for materials. You might enter the items on this list into a bibliographic management tool like Zotero.

3. Once we have a shorter list then you skim those readings and identify the ones that seem relevant to your research. Thus you get a list of the important works.

4. You then write a short precis/review of each item on the list. It can also be useful to photocopy or scan these items to PDF so you have a library to refer to when writing later.

5. Finally, it is common to write a summative document (the literature review itself) that introduces the literature and the important points. This you can use later in a paper or thesis as the lit review section.

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