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SOSC 1859 - Exploring Society: Start


1. This guide is created to be a resource to you as you work on your Final Project report for SOSC 1859.

It will  help you do a literature review*:  find information, ideas, and theories to provide context and evidence to support your sociological analysis of your field work (interviews).

The ideas and theories you should use are mainly the sociological ones that your professor has introduced in SOSC 1859.

2. You Know More than You Think You Do

You have already learned about doing library & scholarly literature  research and how to  combine it to write papers and reports in different LANG courses. The methods and process are similar.  Refresh you memories with the guides below:

You just will need to apply those methods and processes to new questions and use different research tools.

* This Guide from the University of  Southern California Libraries, "The Literature Review"  is full of useful information & details.

Definition of a Literature Review

You select documents on the topic that contain information, ideas, data, & evidence

You write it from specific standpoints - express views on the nature of the topic & how you will investigate the topic or question(s)

You effectively evaluate  (appraise critically, not just summarize) the documents you selected in relation to the research you propose.

(Hart 1998, p.13)

Purpose of a Literature Review

  • Show your command of the subject area ("I know my stuff!")
  • Show you understand the research problem
  • Justify your
    • research topic
    • research design
    • research methodology

(Hart 1998, p. 13)

Questions your Literature Review can answer about your topic

  • Key concepts and theories & ideas?
  • Main questions & problems answered up to now?
  • Major issues & debates?
  • Origins of the topic?
  • In what ways has the topic been defined or limited?
  • Key sources (authors, books, articles, data, etc.?)

(Hart 1998, p. 14)


Hart, Chris. Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination. London: Sage, 1998.  (HKUST Library H62 .H2566 1998)

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