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

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This page includes material from our excellent Literature Reviews research guide.

See that 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:

"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.