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Master of Fine Arts

A guide to library research for MFA students

Writing a Literature Review

Writing a literature review is about developing an understanding of the contextual ecology of your research problem, or question.

The process of writing a literature review can be broken down into several major activities:

  • Selecting your topic and developing search terms
  • Research - use the library's General Search or use specific databases if you want a smaller, more focused results list. Scan the literature, start to narrow your area of interest down.
  • Read, Describe, Analyze and Critique
  • Compare and Contrast
  • Discover relationships between sources
  • Identify major themes and concepts
  • Identify gaps and disagreements
  • Organizing and managing your sources (this is where Zotero enters the process)
  • Write, revise and create final bibliography

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