USF Writing Studio

Archive for November, 2015


Writing Studio Closed

Thursday, November 19th, 2015 | Posted in Uncategorized by dmfarrar | No Comments »

Studio closes on 12/10 at 4 pm and will re-open on 01/11 at 10 am


Finals Week Extended Hours

Thursday, November 19th, 2015 | Posted in Uncategorized by dmfarrar | No Comments »

Friday, 12/4: 4-9
Sunday, 12/6: 5-9

During finals week, in addition to our normal hours, the Writing Studio will be offering extended hours for walk-in consultations. Appointments are not required for these extended hours, and clients will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis.


Thanksgiving Holiday Hours

Thursday, November 19th, 2015 | Posted in Uncategorized by dmfarrar | No Comments »

Wednesday, 11/25: 10am – 2pm
Thursday, 11/26: Closed
Friday, 11/27: Closed
Sunday, 11/29: 1pm – 5pm


A Few Pointers for Writing an Out-of-This-World Literature Review

Thursday, November 5th, 2015 | Posted in USF Writing Studio Blog: Tips, News, and Updates by dmfarrar | No Comments »

Vintage red rocket is on the green asteroid, backdrop blue space.

Vintage red rocket is on the green asteroid, backdrop blue space.

by Sashi Gurram, a PhD student in Civil & Environmental Engineering and Writing Consultant

Literature reviews are an essential part of a university’s academic curriculum. You can bet that you will perform at least one literature review, in the form of a thesis, dissertation, or even an essay for a class by the end of your program.

What does a literature review typically do? The answer to this question varies depending on the end goal of your writing project. Some literature reviews, which focus less on the analysis, require you to simply summarize the literature whereas others require you to synthesize the literature in addition to the summary. In general, a literature review identifies the current state of knowledge on a given topic and also identifies the gaps in the research and raises interesting questions that need further research. So, how can one perform a good literature review?

One of the key points to remember before embarking on a literature review journey is to be focused. It can be very easy to get lost in the jungles of books, journal articles, and reports when you do not know or keep track of for what it is you you are looking. As such, it would help to clearly identify the topic of interest and also the bounds of the literature review. For example, if you are performing a literature review on the “taste of Brazilian coffee,” you should find out articles that specifically talk about taste of Brazilian coffee. It might be tempting to also review literature on the “taste of Hawaiian coffee,” but that would be beyond the focus of your literature review unless your literature review seeks to identify the similarities or differences between the taste of Brazilian and Hawaiian coffees.

Raising questions enables one to write an effective literature review. There might be a natural tendency to trust reading material especially the material of scholarly nature. However, questioning the material in terms of its methods, limitations, and conclusions, often produces an effective, engaging, and critical literature review.

Finally, a good organizational structure helps build a good literature review. You can perform a literature review either in chronological order, starting from the oldest to the latest or in thematic order where the literature review is layered by themes. For example, while performing a literature review on “air pollution’s impact on human health,” you can discuss the literature on this topic in a chronology (i.e., 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, etc.). Alternatively, you can discuss this topic by looking at air pollution’s relation to cancer, cardiovascular diseases, asthma, and allergies under separate subtopics.

Additional details that can help in writing effective literature reviews are detailed by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Birmingham City University.

You can also read one of our older blogs that discuss literature reviews and synthesis matrices found here.

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