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ANTH 4670/6670 Research Methods in Sociocultural Anthropology (Papavasiliou): Literature

More info!

This page includes material from Sharon Leslie's excellent Literature Reviews research guide.

See Ms. Leslie's guide for much more information about writing lit reviews.

"How To" Books @ the GSU Library

What is a Literature Review?

A literature review does not present an original argument, but instead is an overview or discussion of existing literature (scholarly writing) on a particular topic. The literature may come from books, articles, reports, or other formats.

It's a review because it usually contains a summary, synthesis, or analysis of the central arguments in the existing literature.

A lit review is not... annotated bibliography.

  • An annotated bib is a list of sources with a summary of each one.
  • A lit review synthesizes and highlights the ideas from many sources, pointing out strengths, weaknesses, common themes and contradictions among them.

...a research paper, although it is often part of one.

  • A research paper presents a single idea or argument and uses sources to support its conclusion.
  • A lit review compares and discusses sources that may contradict each other, without drawing any final conclusions.

Literature Reviews

This video by NC State Libraries is an excellent explanation (not just for grad students!)

"Literature Reviews: An Overview for Graduate Students" by North Carolina State University Libraries.


Creative Commons LicenseThis guide is created by Jason Puckett and licensed by Georgia State University Library under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

You may reproduce any part of it for noncommercial purposes as long as credit is included.  I encourage you to license your derivative works under Creative Commons as well to encourage sharing and reuse of educational materials.