What is a literature review?
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Writing a literature review is the capstone project for VIBS 310--Biomedical Writing. Literature reviews are also integral to science as a knowledge-generating enterprise, so understanding their structure and purpose makes students better consumers of scientific literature. In this lecture, I introduce students to the concept of literature reviews by having them imagine a world before we understood the material substance of genes. I then take them through the classic Avery, MacCleod, and McCarty study that demonstrated that DNA most likely the genetic material. Along the way, I craft a concept map that could be used as an outline for the literature review of that famous paper, opening the floor for a discussion about the importance of outlining. Finally, I give students an in-class, group activity in which they practice identifying the central question of a recent research paper.
DepartmentVeterinary Integrative Biosciences
Hartberg, Yasha (2019). What is a literature review?. Available electronically from
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