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Literature Review Paper


A literature review paper contains several key elements, including an introduction, summary, analysis of the work of literature, and a conclusion. The analysis is by far the most important part of any literature review paper, because the goal of a literature review is to prove the value of a work of literature to people who have not yet read it. Therefore, students who are writing literature review papers should spend the majority of their papers discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the work.

First, the student who is writing an analysis within a literature review paper should clearly identify the strengths and weaknesses of the text, which may include discussions of style, logic, and research. The student who is unfamiliar with any aspect of the text's discussion should consider performing some brief outside research that will confirm or deny his or her suspicions; unless the student has excellent knowledge of the subject, he or she should not assume that the supposed flaws in the text are actual flaws until outside research has proven so. In this situation of unfamiliarity with the subject of the text, the student may look for potential strengths and weaknesses by paying attention to the questions that arise in the course of reading the text. If he or she mentally asks a question about the material, whether because of possible faulty logic or because of gaps in information, and the text never answers it, this may be an area of weakness that deserves further investigation. On the other hand, if the text does anticipate and eventually answer the questions that the student mentally asks, this may indicate that the writer of the text competently and authoritatively manages the subject.

In writing their analyses for literature review papers, students should use a reserved, academic tone, avoiding highly emotive language. Unless the text clearly deserves a unilateral acclamation or condemnation, review writers should try to present a balanced analysis of its pros and cons.


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