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I started to write my own literature review today for my master's thesis and I found a very good paper which sums up/overviews the history and concept of the specific topic I am writing about. Usually I track down each cited source to read the original and paraphrase it in my own words. However and with that paper as a guide, I feel like I am 'copying' it or copying its chronological order. Is this a bad thing? I am also reading other papers and I will also try to address the gaps in such papers.

1 Answer 1

First off: Using review papers as a guide line for your review is perfectly normal. What you should consider is, that even if the review is comprehensive, since its release there has been new research and publications were released that you should address.

Personally I don't think there is anything wrong with using review papers for tracking down other papers, but the least you can do is to also cite the review paper and remark that the review has a good take on the topic.

If you have any additions or own takes on the reviewer's opinion: do that! Discuss why you added other papers to your literature that the author neglected, give a different order to the topics if you prefer it, etc. In a historical context it might be difficult to change many things, but you should try not to copy it too much. As long as you formulate own sentences, your're fine.