Marymount California University Library

AM 201: Western Civilization Art Since the Renaissance

Sample Literature Review

Anatomy of an Article

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

(Courtesy of NC State Univ Libraries)

Reading the Literature

When it comes time to evaluate articles for inclusion in the review and subsequently for the review itself you should:

Read the article and identify:

  • The research question or the thesis of the article.
  • The hypotheses or argument the author of the article is making.
  • The results of the study, experiment or observation.
  • What conclusions did the author of the article draw from those results or how were the findings interpreted.


Evaluate the article using this criteria:

  • Currency: The timeliness of the information. When was the study conducted?  When was the article published? 
  • Relevance: The importance of the information in relation to the topic of your review.
  • Authority: The source of the information.  Is it from an academic journal?  What credentials does the author have?
  • Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.  Are the results or finding of the paper or study still valid? 
  • Purpose: The reason the information exists.

Writing the Review

After completing all of the previous steps you are ready to write your literature review.  Make sure that you follow the instructions given to you by your professor.  Pay special attention to the number of articles or studies you must include in the review, length and scope of the review as well as the citation style (usually either APA or MLA) to be used not only for citing the sources you reviewed in the works cited or bibliography but also for the numerous in-text citations that will be used in your review. 

Good Luck!

Cite Your Sources - with this easy citation maker

For more information about citations in both MLA or APA please see:

Purdue OWL


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