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ANT 4302/ANG 6905: Sex Roles in Anthropological Perspective

Literature Review

A literature review is an integrated analysis-- not just a summary-- of scholarly writings related directly to your research question. That is, it represents the literature that provides background information on your topic and shows a correspondence between those writings and your research question.

Lit reviews can be organized in several ways depending on how you want to present the information: chronological, thematic, or methodological.

For additional help and examples, see the UWF Libraries guide for writing a Literature Review.


As you read the literature, pay attention to the themes that emerge. 
Imagine that each theme is a bucket and every author/source can be put into a bucket.
Remember that a source can be put into more than one bucket.

Don't Do This!

Literature reviews DO NOT just summarize each source within the paper.

Do This Instead!

Integrate your sources!

Make the connections between articles and how they relate to one another and your topic.


For the final paper, you will write a critical review of key literature on a topic of interest (related to sex, gender, or sexuality) using an anthropological frame/perspective. The literature review should be arranged thematically or chronologically, not article by article. Since you’ve already demonstrated that you’ve read all the articles with your annotated bibliographies, it is more important to show that you have identified the dominant arguments and themes that characterize your topic, and can arrange evidence from a number of sources into a clear and compelling narrative.

Critical components:

1. Title

2. Introduction

  • Background and overview of your topic/problem and why it’s important; orientation to the scale and scope of the issue (using statistics, vignettes; etc.)
  • Roadmap paragraph – where is this paper going (“In this paper, I argue...”)

3. Body

  • Principal themes/key threads/cohesive narrative
  • Subheads! Dividing up the body of your lit review into principal themes under subheadings is an effective way to more clearly organize your paper, as well as your thoughts during the write-up process
  • Can include outside information/evidence (informal interviews and casual conversations, examples from your own life, etc) but sparingly, and only to further a narrative thread or argument, not as stand-alone evidence

4. Further research

  • Gaps in the literature that you’ve identified
  • New research questions that have emerged over the course of your research (at least three)

5. Conclusion

  • Clearly and succinctly outline the key themes you’ve discussed
  • Final ‘take home’ points

6. References/Bibliography

  • Using a recognized citation style (see AAA Publishing Guide on eLearning) – including all sources

Criteria: A successful paper will...

…be written clearly and professionally, and obviously proofread and edited (no typos, grammatical errors, etc.)
…identify the principal arguments/themes and provide evidence to support these arguments, clearly linked and appropriately cited
…feature at least 6 or 10 scholarly sources (undergrad and grad, respectively)

The final paper will be 3000-4000 words (approximately 12-15 pages long, not including bibliography).

All papers must be written in 12 point, Times New Roman font with 1” margins all around, double-spaced, and include page numbers.

Students may choose the referencing system they use in their papers, but be consistent and be sure to cite throughout your paper according to the citation guidelines of the system you use.