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For Literature Review


At times, students may have to choose a subject for literature review. If the instructor assigns a certain text or provides a list of approved texts, the student may have a rather easy time selecting a subject for literature review, but if not, the student may have to do some brainstorming.

Students who select texts to examine for literature reviews should first determine the purpose or goal of the assignment. For example, perhaps the instructor simply wants students to learn the style of writing necessary for literature reviews, or perhaps he or she wants students to think critically about a prominent or new work in that academic discipline.

Second, once the student has ascertained the goals of the project, he or she may create a list of possible texts. If the student must write a review on a book in a particular field, he or she should begin by determining what the most recently published books are, because these are usually the ones about which potential readers will be most curious and most likely to read a review. If the instructor emphasizes the writing of the review, the student may choose a text from any discipline and perhaps from any time period, as long as the instructor approves the text. The student should create a list of perhaps a dozen texts that sound intriguing in some way.

Third, the student should narrow that list to the two or three most promising subjects. He or she may decide which texts might produce the best literature reviews by determining the ones that others have already reviewed; the ones that fit the student's length or style preferences; and the ones for which the student has a marked partiality, such as those written by authorities the student already respects. Then, after choosing the two or three that look the most promising, the student should begin reading each of them and choose one based on his or her preferences after a preliminary perusal.

This three-step process may help the student find an excellent text for literature review.


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