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SOC 489: The Research Experience

The Literature Review

A literature review assesses a body of research, published by accredited scholars and researchers, that is connected to your research question and can either be a part of a larger work (e.g. thesis or dissertation) or stand on its own. 

Purpose: A literature review

  • Identifies what is already known about an area of study
  • Includes all the facets that might touch the topic
  • Helps identify questions a body of research has yet to answer
  • Makes a case for why further study of research questions is important


It is a journey that is cyclical rather than linear.  Expect to return to and refine earlier efforts as your understanding of the research changes and grows.  

Literature Review as Process