We talked in class today about writing a lit review, before I made you talk about how tech writing and engineering administer and speak to ethics and the messy social world (which I encourage you to continue to think about). Remember that the term literature review is something of a misnomer, because it can address a wide variety of texts, in addition to literature, and, more than a review, it’s an argument–often overarching–about the texts it considers, discusses, describes, categorizes, and (yes) reviews. Perhaps the most important work your literature review will do toward your Unit 2 final project is contextualizing your innovation–or, put another way, describing the gap that your innovation addresses.
Here are some resources for writing a lit review:
- “Ten Simple Rules for Writing a Literature Review” (this is by a computational biologist, but the advice he offers applies to scientific and technical fields; note his emphasis throughout on audience and creating a focused discussion/argument)
- FAQs about Literature Reviews (check out the valuable answers to the question, “What am I supposed to DO in my literature review?”)
- Purdue OWL: Literature Reviews (the questions for revision here will be extremely useful in organizing the literature review)
- Here are some examples of lit reviews covered recently in The Daily, both of which make bold arguments: “Study: Older men adhere closely to an idealized masculinity script that is incompatible with the realities of later life” and “CWRU researchers lead review of phenome-wide association studies.”
- Here is a link to the full version of that lit review of phenome-wide association, in Nature Reviews Genetics. Look how reader friendly this article is, with its use of headings and descriptive subheads, short paragraphs, clean, error-free text, neat use of definition and description throughout and as-needed. Note that this lit review isn’t in IEEE format–for example, if you use footnotes, please place the punctuation mark before the footnote,
So it’s not a perfect example of what we’re trying to do in this course, but it’s a still beautiful piece of technical writing.