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Political Science 302: Writing in Political Science: Literature Reviews

An online course guide for researching topics in the field of political science for POLISCI 302

What's a literature review???

A literature review is an overview or discussion of existing scholarship that has been published on a topic. It is not an annotated bibliography. It explains what previous scholarship exists on the topic, it places the current research into the context of what is already known, and it may identify knowledge gaps or conflicts.

Literature Reviews: An Overview [Video]

"Literature Reviews: An Overview for Graduate Students" by North Carolina State University Libraries.

Review Matrix

Scholarly Article Example

Masip, J., & Herrero, C. (2015). Police detection of deception: Beliefs about behavioral cues to deception are strong even though contextual evidence is more useful. Journal of Communication, 65(1), 125-145. doi:10.1111/jcom.12135

Reading Research Articles [Tutorial]

Scholarly articles often have different sections with headings. The literature review usually appears in the introduction. See more about the segments used in many scholarly articles that publish research results in: "What's a research article?" When considering whether an article is useful for your research, it may be efficient to first look at certain segments.

Start by using the article title and abstract to decide whether to keep reading. Then skip to the findings and discussion. If it's still relevant, read the entire article critically. There's a tutorial on this from another University:

University of Indiana tutorial on reading scholarly articles