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Writing a Literature Review


Writing a literature review can provide the student an excellent opportunity to delve deeply into a new, obscure, or beloved piece of literature and to share insights into it with other people. The goal in writing literature reviews is to convince the review reader of the value (or lack thereof) of the piece of literature, and in order to achieve that goal, the student may follow several standard steps.

First, the student should read the work carefully in order to grasp fully its content, intent, contributions to the field, and flaws. Reading the work once quickly and then reading it again slowly while taking notes is an excellent way to perform this part of writing a literature review.

Second, the student should write the literature review. It should contain a brief introduction, which may include a short biography of the author if it seems relevant to the work, including the author's credentials, and it should also contain a faithful but short synopsis of the work of literature.

However, while the student should include the introduction and the synopsis, writing a literature review revolves around providing a keen analysis of the work of literature. The student should invest the majority of his or her effort in this section. The analysis is the part in which the student tells the review readers what the book accomplishes, what it fails to accomplish, and whether or not they should read it, and the good academic review writer tries to present a balanced view on each of these areas. Academic review writers usually do not allow themselves the emotional freedom found in popular reviews that newspapers publish; instead, they try to adhere to objective or authoritative praise and criticism, both of which usually seem modest and restrained. It is unusual to read an academic review that overtly gushes or raves about a work of literature. The student who is writing a literature review should imagine an audience of colleagues rather than an audience of buddies.

Last, the student should include a conclusion that briefly summarizes the review's content.


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