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Writing a Literature Review in Social Sciences

Checklist for Evaluating Literature

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Source: wikipedia 

1) Read & think critically

2) Make connections with related materials

3) Find out the most important landmark studies and key authors on the topic 

4) Evaluate sources 

5) Be selective : for every material that is reviewed for your paper, you should be able to justify why you include it.

6) Place your working thesis in context

While You Keep Reading....The Questions to Ask

  • How are sources similar in terms of methodologies, theories, claims, choice and interpretation of evidence, etc.?
  • How do they differ?
  • Do you observe gaps in the research or areas that require further study?
  • Do particular issues or problems stand out? Do you want (or does your prompt ask you) to compare texts in general or hone in on a specific issue or question?

Source: Duke University Writing Studio 

Check this How to Read a Scholarly Article guide, if you are new to academic research. 

Critical Reading

Critical Thinking

What to Consider to Evaluate Works

  • The author: credibility, reputation
  • A list of references or other citations 
  • The intended audience
  • The content of the source: fact, opinion, or propaganda
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Objective language 
  • Generalization with no overstating or oversimplifying of a matter
  • Accuracy
  • Timeliness of the source 
  • Cross-checking of the given information
  • Generalization backed up with evidence 
  • Balanced arguments acknowledging other viewpoints 

Source: Purdue Univ.'s OWL :Evaluation During Reading 

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