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HUM 101: Gender and Media (Dr. Miller)

Tips for Writing a Literature Review

The purpose of a literature review is to communicate to your reader what we know - and don't know - about a topic, based on what has been written about your topic in the scholarly literature. Your literature review should SUMMARIZE and SYNTHESIZE research articles that are relevant to your topic. Despite the name "literature review," you are not giving your opinion on a topic or article, as in a movie review; you are recapping what research has already been done in order to help your reader understand how your research fits in with academic work that has already been carried out.

  • Choose your sources selectively. Use the most helpful articles and books to set the reader up to understand the state of your field of research.
  • Think about how to organize your review. Most literature reviews are organized chronologically (from the earliest article to the most recent) or by theme.
  • Your literature review is not meant to review articles in the sense of giving them a thumbs up or thumbs down; however, if a study seems poorly carried out, or has a major limitation, you can point that out.

Wofford OneSearch

Wofford OneSearch is a single search platform that contains books, ebooks, journal articles, magazines, newspapers, audio, video, and reference materials. It is a great place to explore your topic and find scholarly resources, but it can sometimes be overwhelming due to the amount of information a normal search will pull up. Think of it like shopping on Amazon: you should tell OneSearch exactly what you're looking for using keywords and choosing the right limiters in the left column of your search results.

Library homepage with OneSearch search box in the center of the page.



For example, a search for genetic engineering retrieves nearly 1.7 million results. You can narrow your search by adding additional keywords or using the limiters in the left column.

In OneSearch, the first box has the keywords "genetic engineering." Below, 1.7 million results are listed.



Choosing only scholarly and peer reviewed articles and limiting our results to articles published in the last 5 years reduces the number of articles to about 160,000. 



Finally, we can add additional keywords to make our search more specific. Adding the keyword food to our search brings up scholarly articles published in the last five years about the genetic engineering of food. Play around with your keywords and limiters until you find articles or books that will work for your project.



When you find resources that you'd like to save, click on the pushpin icon next to the item. Log in using your MyWofford credentials to save the items to your OneSearch account.