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Literature Review

Assignment Overview:
This assignment serves as an entry point into a larger public conversation on
queerness. Often as a student and as a professional, you will be asked to explain
complex issues to others and even make decisions based on your understanding and
reasoning. Writing a literature review provides you with an opportunity to refine your
understanding and raise questions about on-going public conversations about
Your literature review should be based on essays from our reader, as well as
secondary research you conduct using library resources (see below). Building on
the summary and response we have practiced in class, your goal is to put your sources
in conversation with one another, analyzing and synthesizing what is said, how/why it is
said, to whom it is said, who agrees and disagrees with whom, who offers a different
perspective from the others, the different contexts and rhetorical situations of the
pieces, and so on.
Through this analysis and synthesis, you should give your audience a clear
understanding of this important issue and articulate its implications for the larger public.
This assignment will feed into the recommendation report and the grant proposal later in
the course. Therefore, your literature review should identify questions or issues for
further exploration as we think about LGBTQ issues as an important public concern.
The Rhetorical Situation:
Genre: Literature Review. According to Graff and Berkenstein, literature reviews
require writers to coordinate a conversation among multiple sources, to explain their
positions fairly and accurately, and to analyze the ways in which the sources agree or
disagree with one another:
In the literature review, you explain what “they say” in more detail, summarizing,
paraphrasing, or quoting viewpoints to which you are responding. You need to
balance what they are saying with your own focus. You need to characterize
someone else’s work fairly and accurately but set up the points you yourself want
to make by selecting the details that are relevant to your own perspectives and
observations. (229)
A literature review also requires writers to analyze and explain lingering issues and
open questions in the conversation. According to Jack and Pryal, “A literature review
does more than just summarize current research: it often makes an argument for why
that research is or is not important, or it may argue for a particular direction for research
in that field” (284). Organizationally, the best literature reviews move topically first, and
only by source second. [Note: Specific fields or majors may have their own, more
narrow expectations for writing literature reviews. As you move into your major, be sure
to ask about expectations for how to write a successful literature review following the
field’s standards.]
Audience: Your audience for this first assignment is your instructor and your
classmates. You should also consider your peers not just as students, but as people
with a vested interest in the topic you are discussing. Although your readers will be
familiar with some of the texts you’ve chosen, you must still thoroughly represent main
ideas and key points and provide specific references to your texts in your literature
review, using TSIS moves to do so. The final draft of this literature review will be
entered into a class archive so that your summary and analysis can become a resource
for later assignments in this course.
Purpose: Your purpose for writing this literature review will be to accurately portray an
important issue related to your topic as initially presented in our reader. This literature
review will serve as both a broad overview of the topic and an entry point into the
conversation. Choose 2-3 articles from our reader and 4-5 outside articles from credible,
library-quality sources. These will be your texts to summarize accurately, examine
critically, and respond to analytically in order to give your audience a clear
understanding of the issue and the implications of your issue for the larger public. A
successful literature review will serve as a useful resource for yourself and your
classmates as our discussion of LGBTQ issues unfolds throughout the semester.
Writer’s Role: By synthesizing and discussing the current research on your topic, you
are becoming an expert on that topic. As an expert, you need to address the needs of
an audience expecting to be informed about your topic, and you need to demonstrate a
thorough understanding and a well-reasoned analysis. To do this, you will need to
present yourself as an informed thinker and writer. You can reflect your expertise and
demonstrate credibility by presenting the issue accurately and documenting your
sources properly.

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Criteria for evaluation:
Criterion Points
Summarizes sources fairly and accurately, using TSIS conventions we
have discussed, to present a thorough view of the issue
Analyzes sources by explaining how they relate to one another and
contribute to the current understanding or thinking on the topic or question
Articulates how and why this topic is important for the larger public;
considers lingering issues and open questions remaining in the
Literature review is organized to provide readers with a coherent and
complex understanding of the topic
Writer represents him- or herself as fair, credible, and knowledgeable on
the topic, including the choice of credible and relevant sources
Demonstrates careful attention to language through correct spelling,
grammar, and appropriate tone and style
Documents sources ethically 10
Total: 100

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