Audience :Peers in your field (civil engineering)
A literature review assembles and synthesizes current contributions to academic knowledge about its topic. You can think of a scientific literature review as a kind of bibliographic essay or a survey of the research front (see the White reading). You might think of it as a more developed, stand-alone version of the section of the introduction in an IMRDS research paper (see Schryer), one that discusses prior research related to the papers topic. You may have already come across this genre by another name: in engineering and computer science, for example, its sometimes called a survey paper or state of the art paper.
A literature review finds patterns in the work that it describes. While it may not be an argument-driven essay, in that there is usually no explicitly stated thesis statement, literature reviews do argue. By existing, they argue implicitly that their chosen topic is worth discussing. They also argue the value of certain texts, which they do by including or highlighting some contributions, while downplaying or omitting others. To quote Penrose and Katz, the review represents one expert readers interpretation of the state of knowledge in the field (133). Meanwhile, it highlights gaps in the existing research, which emerge according to the patterns that this reader (who is now also an author) finds in the body of work. While writing, you may refer to Chapter 5 of Penrose and Katz, especially 5.2 for a full description of the genre, as well a model literature review and tips for writing them later in the chapter.
In addition to giving you the Penrose and Katz, I’m borrowing the following language from Prof. Mya Poe to describe what a review might look like:
Typically, literature reviews begin with a background section, giving some of the history of investigation into the problem. However, because the audience is scholarly, they do not have to frame a problem as widely as the reference document or the popularization. They then move through select published research on the topic in some organized manner. The body of the literature review might be organized by problem, by researcher, or by chronology, discussing individual contributions to the field. The conclusion or discussion section of the literature review synthesizes what has been covered and describes the likely future direction or directions of research. After you draft your review, you should write and include an abstract. Though abstracts look like paragraphs, they are a unique genre, and should only be composed after an argument. We will work on your abstract after you have drafted your review.
In your final literature review, I will be looking for:
Evidence that youve identified a specific academic field as an audience, and that youve surveyed the scholarship in that field.
What field or fields is the work on this topic being produced in? If not the same one(s), what field are you writing your literature review in? Refer to the Penrose and Katz chapters for help on strategies for this.
At least 5, but up to 15 scholarly, refereed or peer-reviewed sources that represent the most prominent work about the topic, or perhaps that comprise a scholarly conversation on a notable sub-topic
While Penrose and Katz cite comprehensiveness and timeliness as features of a publishable literature review, and a publishable review can draw from as many as 100 sources, we won’t have time and you won’t have space for that.
We’ll cover some strategies for identifying what work is most prominent.
Discussion of these sources that compares and contrasts the sources arguments, theories, and methods, rather than only reporting on them.
What do the authors agree about? Disagree about? What are the major areas of consensus, or controversy and debate?
Synthesize and evaluate the research. What are potential assumptions and biases?
Organization of your paper according to some pattern or scheme that you identify in the work, bookended by introduction and conclusion paragraphs.
Some examples of organizational schemes might be by problem, by researcher, or by chronology
An annotated bibliography will also be provided for extra information about the five articles.
Also please link the topic of physics in Basketball to Civil Engineering .