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Literature Review

Conduct a short literature review of your course topic area in order to: show your understanding of the research space, critique the existing research, illustrate how the related work ties together, and show what has and has not been researched in your topic area. Ideally you want to show that even though there has been research in your topic area, nobody has done specifically what you are looking at.

The literature review should include reading between 5 and 8 research papers and writing a document that describes and critiques each. Normally, literature reviews require reading many more papers than this, but we are limited in time so select which papers you think are most important. Research papers should be conference papers, journal articles, or book chapters and should specifically relate to your topic. Web page news stories can be included but will not count to your needed amount of articles.

The document should include the following:


Summarize the research space that you are looking at and illustrate why it is important. Describe the goal of the document.

Descriptions of Papers:

For each paper you read, summarize the paper and include details on:

  • the topic of focus
  • the paper’s study or design method (e.g., interviewing 18 people, designing a system using participatory workshops, conducting an experiment with 20 people)
  • the main findings
  • the importance of the findings
  • your view of the work and what its weaknesses might be or what areas it does not cover (a critique) (e.g., “While the paper provides a comprehensive understanding of how families in general use video conferencing, it does not specifically look at how older adults use video conferencing.”)

Each paper’s summary will likely be between a half page and full page long, but this is not set in stone. Use as much space to summarize the paper as you feel is needed. Work that is more relevant to your topic should have more space dedicated to it because there will be more findings to discuss. Work that is only tangential should be summarized in smaller amounts of space.

The summary of the paper should be in your own words. You may include quotes from the paper, but these should be short (e.g., two or three lines at the most).

Include references to all papers when you write about them. References should be listed as numbers in square brackets (e.g., [5]) at the end of the sentence where the number points to the paper in the reference list at the end of the document. If you want to refer to the authors’ names, use notation like this for one or two authors: “Neustaedter and Judge [4] studied how families use video conferencing tools in the home.” If a paper has more than two authors, use notation like this: “Neustaedter et al. [5] studied …”


Summarize the overall findings from your literature review, detail what the focus has been in the related work, what you have learned that will help you in your project, and what was not covered in the related work that you will now focus in your project.

Reference List:

Include a list of the papers you read for your related work. These should be cited in the document according to their number in the list. The list should be organized alphabetically by the last name of the first author on each paper. The format of the references should follow the samples in the ACM CHI Conference format document.

Length and Format: The document should be between 4 and 8 pages in ACM CHI Conference format. Don't stress over this page count though. Take the amount of space that you think the related work warrants.

Submission deadline: Due in lecture during your selected Case Study Presentation. Email the document to Carman as a PDF file and also bring a printed copy to class.

Evaluation: You will be evaluated on your ability to concisely document the related literature, show your understanding of the research space, critique the existing research, illustrate how the related work ties together, and show what has and has not been researched in your topic area. You will also be graded on your writing ability.