Literature Review

Research output: Other contribution


Context of Activity or Assignment
This assignment is the final project in my SBS 200 course. The literature review project was scaffolded through previous coursework on reading social scientific journal articles, identifying their arguments, and summarizing them; placing two scholarly articles in conversation with one another; and locating and analyzing multiple popular journalistic sources.

Purpose of Activity or Assignment
Students should learn to develop a social scientific research question; distinguish scholarly from non-scholarly sources; locate and evaluate relevant scholarly literature; and synthesize multiple scholarly sources.

Potential Pitfalls and Teaching Tips
Teaching students to synthesize multiple sources can be especially challenging. I strongly encourage students to identify relevant themes across two or more sources, and structure their literature reviews around these themes.
It's especially important to communicate the purpose of a literature review, and its role in an original research project. Students often want to find a clear answer to their research questions, and are frustrated when the literature review does not accomplish this. However, when students understand that original data collection and analysis are usually necessary to answer a research question, they may be inspired to pursue this research through further coursework, undergraduate research opportunities, and/or a capstone project.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • Other Rhetoric and Composition
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences

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