Literature Reviews

A guide to writing literature reviews for Peabody students.

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Campus Resources

Writing Strategies

Concept mapping, or mind mapping, is a great way to organize your research. Use it to brainstorm keywords, and to keep track of the databases you've tried or want to search.

You can also use concept mapping for revising your paper drafts. Try this template (created with Popplet):

Signal phrases are an essential element of research writing. A signal phrase introduces source material, indicates where the material came from and aids your reader’s response to the source through an appropriate choice of wording.

Examples of signal phrases:

acknowledges

comments

describes

maintains

reports

adds

compares

disputes

notes

responds

admits

concedes

emphasizes

observes

shows

agrees

confirms

endorses

points out

states

argues

contends

illustrates

reasons

suggests

asserts

declares

implies

refutes

summarizes

claims

denies

insists

rejects

writes

When writing, it is very important to use language that fits your audience and matches purpose. Inappropriate language uses can damage your credibility, undermine your argument, or alienate your audience. This handout will cover some of the major issues with appropriate language use: levels of language formality, deceitful language and Euphemisms, slang and idiomatic expressions; using group-specific jargon; and biased/stereotypical language.

  1. Levels of Formality: Writing in a style that your audience expects and that fits your purpose is key to successful writing.
  2. In-Group Jargon: Jargon refers to specialized language used by groups of like-minded individuals. Only use in-group jargon when you are writing for members of that group. You should never use jargon for a general audience without first explaining it.
  3. Slang and idiomatic expressions: Avoid using slang or idiomatic expressions in general academic writing.
  4. Deceitful language and Euphemisms: Avoid using euphemisms (words that veil the truth, such as "collateral damage" for the unintended destruction of civilians and their property) and other deceitful language.
  5. Biased language: Avoid using any biased language including language with a racial, ethnic, group, or gender bias or language that is stereotypical.

Source

Incorporating Sources into Your Writing

How to avoid plagiarism:

  •          Use quotation marks around the author’s words
  •          Place an in-text (parenthetical) citation at the end of the quote
  •         Include a complete citation to the source in your reference list

Example of a direct quote:

“Why write a research paper? The answer is twofold. First, you add new information to your personal storehouse of knowledge by collecting and investigating facts and opinions about a limited topic from a variety of sources. Second, you add to the knowledge of others by effectively communicating the results of your research in the form of a well-reasoned answer to a scholarly problem or question (Lester, 1976, p. 1).

How to avoid plagiarism:

  •         Use a signal phrase that states who and what you are paraphrasing
  •         Use the same ideas as the original text, but use your own words to paraphrase
  •        Place an in-text (parenthetical) citation at the end of paraphrase
  •        Include a complete citation to the source in your reference list.

Example of a paraphrase:

Lester (1976) states that when writing a research paper you create a storehouse of knowledge not only for yourself but also for your reader by collecting and communicating information on a particular topic (p. 1).

How to avoid plagiarism:

  • Use a signal phrase that states who and what you are summarizing
  • Create a brief description of the main points of the content using your own words
  • Place an in-text (parenthetical) citation at the end of the summary
  • Include a complete citation to the source in your reference list

Example of a summary:

In the book “Writing Research Papers: A Complete Guide”, the author declares that writing a research paper aids in developing familiarity on a particular subject for both the author and their reader (Lester, 1976, p. 1)

How to avoid plagiarism:

  • Common knowledge is information that the majority of people knows or can find quite easily in sources.
  • Common knowledge is also factual information, such as the state bird of Tennessee is the mockingbird.
  • If you are not sure whether something is common knowledge or not, go ahead and make a reference for it

 Examples of common knowledge:

  • There are 365 days in a year
  • George Washington was the first president of the United States
  • The United States has 50 states

APA for Peabody Students