Most scholarly works include a literature review, which is a summary and analysis of existing scholarship on the subject. It usually identifies gaps in the literature and provides context for your work. Here are a couple of useful resources related to literature reviews:
In trying to follow the scholarly conversation, you may find it helpful to use a research method called “citation tracing.” When you find a source that seems promising, you should do two things: first, you should look at what older sources it has cited. And second, you should see what newer sources have cited it.
If you are submitting your work to a scholarly journal or scholarly press, you will probably be provided with some guidelines for your writing. However, there are some stylistic and structural considerations that hold true regardless of where you're submitting: