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Lit Reviews: Home

Lit Review vs. History of Scholarship

In Religious Studies, the introduction to a dissertation customarily contains either a Literature Review or a History of Scholarship. The particular genre usually depends on the field(s) of study. For dissertations that draw heavily on the Human Sciences (e.g., Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology, or Political Science), a Literature Review is usually preferred. For those that draw more on the Humanities (e.g., History, Literature, Classics, Philosophy), a History of Scholarship (or Forschungsgeschichte) fits better. Both genres are critical, synthetic exercises that account for the major ideas, figures, and trends in scholarship, while also uncovering gaps in research and writing, thus justifying the value and uniqueness of one's own contribution to the academic discussion in the remainder of the dissertation.