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Academic Integrity: Avoiding Plagiarism and Understanding Research Ethics: Literature Reviews

This guide contains slides and information corresponding with the Academic Integrity @ Pitt: Workshops for International Graduate Students series.

PowerPoint Slides

Write Your Review

  • Look at examples within your field
  • Talk to your mentor or advisor
  • Talk to the Writing Center
  • Colleagues

Analyze the Materials

Critical analysis of the reviewed works and their relationship to your research question.

Critically analyze the relevant literature:
  • Overall content of the literature
  • History of the research
  • Theoretical arguments
  • Implications of the research
  • Identify areas of agreement
  • Inconsistencies or conflicting viewpoints
  • Any gaps or deficiencies in the research 

Steps of a Literature Review

The six steps of literature review

Research the Literature

For General Search:

ULS Homepage

For Special Topic:

Subject Specialists

Methods to get Materials:

Define the Research Question

Define the Scope of your research question, make it in a close and detailed view:
  • POOR -- Why did it rain all day?
  • BETTER -- What are some of the environmental factors that occurred in Pittsburgh, PA between June and July 2015 that would cause weather more likely to rain? 

Preliminary Research: See how other people done similar research 

Talk with your Instructor or Advisor

Plan Your Review

1. Where does that discipline publish research?

It depends on your major, the academic organization and your supervisor.

2. What sources of information will you consult?

It could be academic conferences and journals, or some online information, and PittCat is also a good source. 

But don't ignore paper sources

3. How will you keep track of your research?

Using logs and notes including:

  • Research Log
  • Citing Your Sources
  • Citation Manager