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POLS 4000: Senior Seminar (Spero)

Background Research

Literature Review

A literature review covers the major works on a narrow topic to provide a snapshot or summary of the findings of other scholars relevant to your research question.

  1. Identify a research question and any subtopics that might provide context for your question.
  2. Identify search terms that describe your research question and subtopics
  3. Search databases and gather potential sources (articles, books, etc.) 
  4. Read each source, summarize, and critique findings along with citations just like you would for an annotated bibliography.
  5. Organize your sources by theme or concept, making sure you connect sources to each other and your overarching research question. 
  6. Identify gaps -- do you have enough sources of evidence for each area? Is it possible you missed a source or not enough research has been published on that topic?
  7. Gather additional sources and repeat, if need be. 
  8. Read, organize, and formulate a thesis for your paper.
  9. Outline your paper and start writing! (Don't forget to cite).

Web Resources: National Focus

Web Resources: International Focus