Assignment Instructions

There are two parts to this assignment: a 5 page written literature review and an audio summary. Each is described below. The literature review should be written in Word and uploaded as an attachment within the Assignments section of the classroom.  Use 12 pt. New Roman font and double-space.  Be sure to put your name and class information on the document and put your name on the file.  Insert page numbers on all graduate-level work. The audio portion of this assignment should be uploaded along with the written literature review, and instructions are below. Assignments will be graded using a rubric appropriate for your class level (please see the rubric below for the required number and type of sources, and the other criteria on which you will be assessed).

The Literature Review

The purpose of this assignment is to propose a theoretical perspective that informs your research and assess the scholarly literature that has been written on your research question, including how it informs your research question and hypothesis. It should be 5 pages in length, and accompanied by an audio component (see below).

Content of the literature review:

The literature review should assess (1) which theoretical approach that we have covered in the course best informs your overall argument and hypothesis (e.g., socialization and interest convergence, liberal institutionalism, structural realism, feminist theory, etc.) and (2) evaluate the findings from the scholarly literature that exists on your research topic.  

Structure of the written literature review:

The literature review is NOT an annotated bibliography. Rather, it is an analytical exercise in which you evaluate a body of literature. As such, your literature review should be organized by theme (NOT an article-by-article summary). A good literature review is a thoughtful study of what has been written, a summary of the arguments and findings that exist (whether you agree with them or not), and is arranged thematically. The literature review should be written in coherent narrative style. At the end of the evaluation, there should still be gaps in the literature that you intend to fill with your research. 

Here is a site explaining various ways to construct a literature review.  Note that a good literature review is not a list of sources with description, but it involves synthesis and dissection of sources, with minimal use of quotes. 

All references must be cited in Chicago/Turabian format, which means including page numbers. 

The audio component: this can be typed out and I will do the recording myself.

Along with your written literature review, please submit a 5 minute audio file in which you summarize the main themes, areas of agreement and disagreement among scholars, and any gaps in knowledge that remain that your research can help address. Some options for recording the audio are below. 

– Windows media audio file 

– Audacity ( Audacity is an open source digital audio editor.  You can use this tool to create audio files to share.  Compatible across most of the major platforms, Audacity also works with a variety of audio formats.  

GRADING RUBRIC: Literature Review Assignment



Sources and Source Quality

(10 points)

10  or more sources, including 8 sources from peer-reviewed material. Includes a variety of sources from high quality journals, and juried publications.


Inquiry Question

(10 points)

Inquiry question and area of study clearly described; significance of the problem is addressed.



(15 points)

Organization pattern demonstrates understanding of prior literature information on the topic (historical, general to specific, segments of the topic, etc.) and organizational plan enhances the presentation, promoting ease in reading, and clear demonstration of arguments within the literature.


Connection to Defined Problem Area

(10 points)

Shows thorough understanding of the relationship of the sources selected to the problem area.


Incorporation of Theoretical Framework (15 points)

Theory or model is clearly defined and linked to the study.



(10 points)

Summarizes and shows insightful synthesis of the literature information, including analysis of gaps in and/or limitations of the research.



(30 points)

Contains no spelling or grammatical errors, scholarly/academic tone is used throughout, full citations for all sources mentioned, all listed references used in the literature review, follows Turabian style perfectly, incorporates smooth transitions. (25-30)