Butler, Octavia “Kindred” – No Cost to Student


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Guide to Writing Literature Reviews

Assignment Conception:

Literature Reviews gives students the opportunity to show their comprehension of assigned readings. Lit-Reviews also help students develop critical writing and reading skills. Successful lit-reviews show that students have read, comprehended the main concepts of an author’s argument and show the ability to critique and/or analyze the ideas being set forth by assigned authors. Thus, students are asked to be critical readers as well as analyzers of given arguments and concepts espoused by scholars.


Lit-Reviews should consist of at least four major paragraphs. (See the creation of 5-step paragraphs below as a good guide)

· Paragraph 1 & 2:

o Introduce the scholar’s general topic and its relevance in contemporary society, academic study, or specific field.

o What is the author’s overarching argument?

o What is his/her concern?

o What is the Big Picture concept in the essay?

· Paragraph 2 & 3:

o What resources, studies, or evidence provided by the author?

o Analyze the author’s research and provide an example (quote from the reading)

o Why is the quote or evidence you present important? Explain?

· Paragraph 3 & 4:

o What is the author missing?

o What other views that could have been discussed?

o Is the author’s argument bias?

o Provide an alternative viewpoint and scholarship.

· Paragraph 5 & 6:

o What do you conclude from the author’s argument?

o What are some new ideas or directions that the author can follow or develop?

o What community or communities’ best served with this scholarship?

5-step process to paragraph development

Step 1. Decide on a controlling idea and create a topic sentence

Step 2. Explain the controlling idea

Step 3. Give an example (or multiple examples)

Step 4. Explain the example(s)

Step 5. Complete the paragraph’s idea or transition into the next paragraph

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