Marymount California University Library

San Pedro Community Research

Anatomy of an Article

This interactive tutorial reviews the parts of a scholarly article, and how to use an abstract to quickly determine relevance.

(Courtesy of NC State Univ Libraries)

Introducing Literature Reviews

Knowledge Accumulates

(Or, Your Work Isn't an Island)

A literature review is based on the idea that knowledge accumulates, and that we learn from and build on what others have done. Your goal in doing a literature review is to critically situate your work within that larger body of knowledge. You will situate it by looking thoroughly at the existing research related to the work you are doing in your fieldwork.

How to Connect Your Work to Others

(Or, Why is my work interesting or important?)

Questions you'll be seeking to answer include:

  • What is the larger context that my work fits in?
  • What has been discussed on my topic and by whom?
  • Why is my work interesting or different? 
  • How does my work build upon the existing body of knowledge?

Where to Find Related Research

(Or, Where do scholars talk about my topic?)

To show how your current project links to past research and to integrate and summarize this past research, you'll have to use the scholarly literature on the topic.

News articles, many popular website, and magazine articles aren't considered scholarly. While they may help you learn about your topic, that's not where in-depth discussions take place. Instead you'll need to go deeper using many books and journal articles.

Sample Literature Review

How to Read a Journal Article

Review this video on how to read scholarly articles

(Courtesy of UC Irvine Libraries).

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