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LA 498 Liberal Arts capstone

Literature Review

You have been working hard on identifying appropriate scholarly sources to inform your final written product, and you have an approved research proposal.

As noted in Excelsior College’s Online Writing Lab (2016):

The purpose of the literature review is to give you an overview of a particular topic. Your job is to discover the research that has been done, the major perspectives, and the significant thinkers and writers (experts) who have published on the topic you’re interested in. In other words, it’s a survey of what has been written and argued about your topic.

By the time you complete your literature review you should:

  • Understand the history of what had been written and researched on your topic.
  • Know the significance of the current academic thinking on your topic, including what the controversies are.
  • Have a perspective on what work remains to be done on your topic.

“What do researchers know? What do they not know? What has been researched and what has not been researched? Is the research reliable and trustworthy? Where are the gaps in knowledge? When you compile all that together, you have yourself a literature review.” ~ Jim Ollhoff, How to Write a Literature Review

A good literature review serves as the foundation for your final paper. You may need to review, reorganize, revise, and rewrite this assignment until you have demonstrated the level of scholarship expected. To help you with this process, review this Literature Review Instructions resource. You can also download the following matrix to help keep you organized: svg icon download download.


Your literature review should be submitted here and should follow these guidelines:

  • Include 9-15 scholarly (peer-reviewed) sources related to your field of study/problem.
  • Use the literature review matrix you create to inform your paper.
  • Have an introduction paragraph that identifies your global problem.
  • Identify your thesis statement (Links to an external site.) in the last sentence of your introduction paragraph.
  • In the body, focus on analysis and synthesis (not summary or description) of articles. What are the similarities and differences?
  • Conclude with a paragraph that concisely summarizes the literature.

If you need help searching the academic databases, contact an Excelsior librarian.

NOTE: This is a Turnitin assignment. Please review your Turnitin similarity report to make sure it has less than 15% similarity. Even if you have properly cited and referenced your sources, a similarity score higher than 15% indicates you need to use more of your own words to complete the assignment. Notify your instructor and revise, then resubmit

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