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INST 4850: Contemporary Middle East: Political transformations, human rights and gender politics

This course is a reading intensive course on the modern Middle East, “the cradle of civilization,” located at the juncture of Africa, Asia and Europe. Designed primarily for advanced undergraduates students, it covers a wide time span. We will begin t

Goal of Literature Search

The overall goals of the literature search are 1) to refine your topic, and 2) then find as much relevant information as possible on your topic, within reason. Talk to your professor to get guidance on this. The extent of your search will depend on:

  • your final product (research paper, thesis, dissertaton)
  • the time period you will cover
  • how much time you have before deadlines.

Here are objectives that will help you meet the goal of the literature search:

  • Determine the most important databases for your discipline and topic
  • Search for all source types allowed or relevant for your topic, e.g., books, articles, reviews, dissertations and theses, websites, films, etc.
  • Find peer-reviewed empirical and theoretical literature
  • Find peer-reviewed primary and secondary sources. A previously published literature review related to your topic is an invaluable source for developing your topic and finding the important literature.
  • Develop an understanding of the academic terminology for your topic
  • Determine the time frame for the literature review

What Is Peer Review?

Many instructors require you to use peer-reviewed sources for your papers and projects, but what does that mean?

  • Peer review is the process of having experts in a field review the quality of an article or book before it is published
  • Most articles in scholarly and academic journals are peer-reviewed
  • Books published by university or academic presses are peer-reviewed

Most databases allow you to limit your search to peer-reviewed articles. Here are two examples:

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