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How to Write a Research Paper: Scholarship as Conversation

Step by step description of how to write a research paper

Think about this

Just like academic books and articles have a common pattern, the literature review also follows a common pattern of its own. A literature review is your opportunity to jump into a scholarly conversation. With some variation in style across the disciplines, most literature review sections make these three rhetorical moves:

  • Establishing a Territory
    • The author makes topic generalizations of increasing specificity to indicate the field of study under review.
  • Establishing a Niche
    • The author challenges existing interpretations, or points out a gap in knowledge that requires additional study.
  • Occupying a Niche
    • The author announces the present research that will solve the problem or fill the gap identified above.

Look for these rhetorical devices the next time you read the literature review section of an academic book or article.

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To learn more about writing a literature review, please follow this link: Literature Review

Scholarship Conversations