Lit Reviews Are Not Fun

Let me talk to you a little bit about literature reviews.

As a “budding scholar,” I’ve been told time and time again about the importance of understanding what literature exists on a given problem domain. And, intellectually I get that.


From a practical point of view, the task of reading, assimilating, synthesizing, and analyzing such a large amount of research has always struck me as a daunting task.

How far back do you go? What is “quality literature” that is rigorous in nature? Do you stick only with the so-called “Basket of 8” journals, or do you reach outside of that?

How many years back do – or SHOULD – you go when searching?

How do you determine with any degree of comfort or certainty, whether or not a specific article should be considered “seminal” in nature?

So many questions, so many possible directions to go in. That’s what makes doing a lit review so damned tough.

At least for me, anyway…


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