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GSFS 400 Capstone: Engaging Fields of GSFS

A guide to help students conduct a literature review for their final capstone project

About this guide

A guide to writing a literature review in GSFS

This guide aims to help students:

  1. learn how to constitute a literature review
  2. understand the importance of a literature review
  3. constitute a literature review on their research topic
  4. discover library resources such as subject specific databases that will aid in the constitution of a literature review


What is a literature review?

The literature review:

  1. is a summary of research that has already been published on a topic and often follows the introduction
  2. helps identify holes or gaps in the current literature while situating your research topic in the larger body of research.
  3. points out the strengths and weaknesses researcher already published in a subject area 
  4. indicates how your study is going to contribute to this greater body of research.

The literature review is often composed of scholarly publications such as:articles, books and book chapters, but can also be composed of government documents and reports published by associations and community organizations. 

What is a literature review in video

A video introduction explaining what is a literature review.

Components of a literature review

A literature review includes:

  1. a summary of the subject area being studied 
  2. a clear categorization of selected sources supporting your position, those opposing your position and those with different arguments
  3. a discussion of how your selected sources interact with each other, support each other and oppose one another
  4. a clear indication of how your study contributes to this body of research

Guide acknowledgments

The curator (Michael David MILLER) of this guide would like to thank the following institutions and their literature review guides for helping make this guide possible:

Many components of this guide were inspired from the existing literature review guides from these four institutions. Special thanks to the Schulich Library's Liaison Librarians for the boolean operators page in their Health Sciences Research Basics Guide. 

Liaison Librarian for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies

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