How many references should I put in a 2500 word literature review?

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AliceSwann
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I will probably have 15-20 references when I finish, and each paper I reference would be described briefly in my literature review as I explain the history of my research area. I don't know what's the ideal number of references for such a literature review, and whether there is an upper limit of number of references?
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PhoenixFortune
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(Original post by AliceSwann)
I will probably have 15-20 references when I finish, and each paper I reference would be described briefly in my literature review as I explain the history of my research area. I don't know what's the ideal number of references for such a literature review, and whether there is an upper limit of number of references?
While some people recommend 1 reference for every 100 words, I'd say it's more about quality than quantity, and also depends on your discipline. If you use only 10 sources, but all are peer-reviewed and you can discuss each critically, that's a lot better than using 40+ citations that you don't utilise well.
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Reality Check
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(Original post by PhoenixFortune)
While some people recommend 1 reference for every 100 words, I'd say it's more about quality than quantity, and also depends on your discipline. If you use only 10 sources, but all are peer-reviewed and you can discuss each critically, that's a lot better than using 40+ citations that you don't utilise well.
Couldn't agree with this more, PF

AliceSwann - exactly as PF says, it's about how well you use the references, rather than the total number. 10-20 relevant, well-chosen and good quality references, incorporated into your argument and used to support it are worth a hundred 'papers' which you've essentially found via a pubmed or web of science search, had a quick glance at the abstract and chucked into your paper.

That said, the usual rules of referencing apply - if they're not your thoughts or ideas, and they're not 'accepted common facts', then you need to reference them.
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AliceSwann
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(Original post by PhoenixFortune)
While some people recommend 1 reference for every 100 words, I'd say it's more about quality than quantity, and also depends on your discipline. If you use only 10 sources, but all are peer-reviewed and you can discuss each critically, that's a lot better than using 40+ citations that you don't utilise well.
That makes sense, thank you!
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AliceSwann
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(Original post by Reality Check)
Couldn't agree with this more, PF

AliceSwann - exactly as PF says, it's about how well you use the references, rather than the total number. 10-20 relevant, well-chosen and good quality references, incorporated into your argument and used to support it are worth a hundred 'papers' which you've essentially found via a pubmed or web of science search, had a quick glance at the abstract and chucked into your paper.

That said, the usual rules of referencing apply - if they're not your thoughts or ideas, and they're not 'accepted common facts', then you need to reference them.
Oh great! On it now, thanks!
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