Literature Review: Interdisciplinary Studies


Goal

The goal of the literature review is to provide a general description and evaluation of current studies, articles, and theories in the field, and to make recommendations and encourage further research. Although the literature review evaluates methods and results,  its main emphasis is on knitting together theories and results from a number of studies to describe the “big picture” of a field of research.

Structure

Introduction

Why is this topic important? What is the history of this topic? What are the related theories or findings? What is your claim or thesis statement?

Body

What is the evidence that supports your claim? What evidence runs contrary to your claim and how do you reconcile that with your claim?

The body of your paper should describe the research that has previously been done on this topic, as well as any controversies or different viewpoints. At each stage of your discussion, you should relate the evidence you present to the major conclusions you are trying to make.

Discussion/Conclusion/Implications.

What is your final conclusion? What questions remain? What des your conclusion mean for other people’s theories or explanations? In this final section you will want to synthesize the findings you described in the body into a succinct summary. You should return to the issues that you raised in the introduction, and close the loop. You should also discuss the possible implications of your argument for existing theories and for everyday life.

Tips

  • Draw on relevant examples from the texts.
  • You should also consider how to respond for audience criticisms. Analyze a specific piece of the texts.
  • What sophisticated interpretations can you incorporate in your argument?
  • Working through these kinds of questions, you can start to build a coherent argument in your mind even before you begin to write.
  • You can also start identifying terms and concepts. This will be helpful in supporting your argument and providing a strong and sophisticated interpretation of the texts.
  • It’s always useful to recognize potential weak spots in your position and respond to potential objections. Doing so makes for a much stronger argument.
  • Always ask yourself what are some implications of your argument.
  • You do not have to know every single world by every text you read, but you should understand the key arguments, potential pitfalls and how various arguments relate to each other