Literature Review Assignment Guide


Learn to write an academic literature review. Understand what peer-reviewed literature is and how to find it. Access resources on how to write an academic literature review.


The exercise is to write a literature review essay that analyzes academic, peer-reviewed literature relevant to your research topic. The essay should be 4-5 pages (typed, double-spaced) not including the bibliography. Your essay will review the key themes, debates, methods, data (or lack of data) used in the scholarly literature that you have found that relates in some way to your topic. Read here or download the PDF.

Guides and Examples:

The following links are helpful guides for writing literature reviews. The first link - a short video tutorial – is highly recommend as a first step.

Example of literature review within an article: (See pp. 414-416)

Note: You may need to access this and other articles through interlibrary loan if your library does not subscribe to the journals or provide electronic access. Check with your local library regarding the service. The US Library of Congress has an interlibrary loan service, as does the UC Berkeley Library. For a broader overview of interlibrary loan processes, see the Wikipedia article, “Interlibrary Loan.” 2013. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.

Examples of literature review articles

This issue of JPS contains many articles that are essential literature reviews (e.g Razavi on Gender; Kay on Development Strategies; Scoones on Livelihoods).

Journal of Peasant Studies, Volume 36 Issue 1 2009 Free (!) Special Issue: Critical perspectives in agrarian change and peasant studies

For the Youth Module -- Every article in this journal, The Future of Children, is a literature review. The project's mission is "to translate the best social science research about children and youth into information that is useful to policymakers, practitioners, grant-makers, advocates, the media, and students of public policy."

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