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Justice: L9 Literature Review Assignment


“The way things are does not determine the way they ought to be.”
― Michael J. Sandel, Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?

Research Assignment: Literature Review

Due: March 26th

ASSIGNMENT: Select a significant aspect of human injustice about which you feel strongly. Conduct some focused research in order to write a literature review which presents a complete picture of the conversation around the issue. 

Below, please find a general research process by which it is recommended that you complete this assignment. You can also use the resources at the link above to help you.


A literature review is preparation to join a conversation already in motion; it is an engagement with the intellectual work of a specific community. To do this, you will be asked to interpret, analyze, and evaluate sources and information in order to present a balanced understanding of the current state of the conversation. In the process, you might identify gaps in the research, and, after completion, identify pathways to fill those gaps and/or to address one or more of the issues involved. 

During this process you will:

  • Engage in the process of gaining knowledge of a subject 

  • Interpret, connect, and critically evaluate the knowledge that you’ve gained

  • Critically evaluate the sources from which you gather knowledge

  • Comply with a style guide (MLA 8)

The process steps will be graded as part of your P1 score. 


Through the research and writing of the literature review, narrow your topic down to one specific aspect of that injustice.

Ex: the topic of Black Lives Matter could narrow in this way: Black Lives Matter → Racial Profiling → high incarceration rates among Black males in America → disproportionate sentencing for Black Americans → underage minorities sentenced to death for crimes white people can get dismissed.

  • Choose a topic about which you feel strongly. 

  • Read as much as you can about it, and keep notes about what you learn and from where you learned it.

  • The sources for this assignment must be written in English, so consider that while selecting your topic and writing your question.

  • After reading, generate a specific question that emerges for you about your topic.

  • Read more, looking for answers to your specific question. Keep notes about what you find and from where you find it. Note any more questions that emerge.

  • Generate a new question which emerges from your research. 

  • Read more, looking for answers to your more specific question. Keep notes about what you find and from where you find it. Note any new questions that emerge.

  • Craft a new and more specific question based on your research at this point. Share this question with your teacher for feedback and approval.


  • Keep reading. Ensure that all sources are credible and worth your valuable time. 

    • Sources should present a wide range of scholarship, including scholarly articles from a library database, news broadcasts, data repositories, interviews with experts, etc.

    • Some resources to consider: library, Google Scholar, EBSCO, Point of View, etc. 

    • You will need at least 8 sources in your final Literature Review.

  • Read. A lot. Be prepared for the reading. 

  • Annotate while you read. 

    • Information that shows the variety of perspectives on your topic

    • Connections between sources

    • Thematic words/phrases that are repeated throughout

    • Sources that are referenced within your source

  • Make careful notes of the research and your thoughts. 

    • Work with your teacher on an appropriate process and product. 

  • Follow your teacher’s guidance about the organization of your sources, collected evidence, and reflection along the way.


  • Have a conference with your teacher at least one time during the research process.


  • Choose a suitable design for the information you want to present and hold to it (Strunk & White 15). 

    • Remember: “Planning must be a deliberate prelude to writing” (15), so if it is helpful to you, create an outline of your literature review. If you prefer, you can organize in some other way.

    • Avoid writing a paragraph about each source; instead make your thinking central and synthesize the sources to support your ideas and move your reasoning forward.

    • Your opening should be focused and clearly present your purpose. 

    • Your body paragraphs should interpret the sources, analyze their connection to each other, and critically evaluate their place in the conversation surrounding your topic.

    • Your conclusion should show your understanding of the significance of your research. It should flow logically from your analysis/reporting in the body paragraphs.

  • Share your draft with peer readers and ask for specific feedback: are you clear about the connections you’re making and is your reader able to follow your logic? Are your conclusions reasonable?


  • Write 3-5 pages in MLA format with a Works Cited page

  • Include at least 8 sources in your final paper

  • Submit to by 11:59 PM on Friday March 26, 2021.