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“A literature review summarizes and evaluates the state of knowledge or practice on a particular subject.”
How have previous scholars tried to answer your ‘Why’ question? Identify, describe, and critique three distinct hypotheses or theories from a set of articles and book chapters on your research question of choice. A literature review does not only summarize theories from the literature; it also critiques them, identifying areas where they may fall short or cases they may not adequately explain. You should evaluate the existing evidence for and against each theory. Finally, because we often find many different explanations for social science outcomes, you should evaluate whether the theories in your study are compatible, complementary, or competing. You must cite at least six sources (beyond the syllabus).
From the abstract: "Students entering a graduate program often encounter a new type of assignment that differs from the papers they had to write in high school or as college undergraduates: the literature review (also known as a critical review essay). Put briefly, a literature review summarizes and evaluates a body of writings about a specific topic."