Spring 2008 Teresa Cortez The University of Texas at El Paso Spring 2008 The Literature Review.

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  • The Literature ReviewTeresa CortezThe University of Texas at El PasoSpring 2008

  • Literature ReviewSystematic identification, location, and analysis of documents

  • Literature Review GoalsDemonstrate familiarity with a body of knowledgeestablishes your credibility.Show the path of previous researchhow your current project is linked to it.Places your research project in a context.

  • Literature Review Goals (cont.)Integrate and summarize what is knownpulls together and synthesizes different results.Indicates direction for future research.Learn from others and stimulate new ideas.

  • Literature Review Goals (cont.)Identifies blind alleys and hypotheses for replication.Divulges procedures, techniques, research designs worth copying.Points out areas where researchers agree, where they disagree, and where major questions remain.

  • Literature ReviewWhy??Assists in formulating research questionPoints out possible research strategiesPoints out possible measuring devicesIntroduces you to significant research personalitiesMay replicate or extend previous studyMay find inconsistencies in studies

  • Literature Review (cont.)May question applicability of findings to different samples, cultures, regionsStudy may already have been conductedProvides a context-rationale for studyFacilitates interpretation of study resultsStudies already conducted related to your research questionProvides suggestions about what studies need to still be conducted

  • Process of conducting a literature search:Analyze the research problem or area of concernDetermine the type of searchSelect the reference service (Databases such as EBSCO, ERIC, JSTOR)Select the descriptors and key termsConduct the searchLocate the references

  • Preparing to WriteAlways keep your research problem centralDiscuss the documents you have readHave a plan of ATTACKBegin discussion like inverted pyramidBroad topic to specific nature of research proposal

  • Preparing to Write (cont.)Headings and subheadingsStrive for clarityEmphasize relatedness between research question and literature reviewedIntegrate-integrate-integrate

  • Preparing to write (cont.)Avoid quotesParaphrase, paraphrase, paraphraseAt the end of the literature review section, summarize your findingsAnswers What does all this mean?

  • Preparing to write (cont.)Make an outlineMain topics orderedSubtopics under each main topicAnalyze references with outlineRead most recent ones first, oldest lastSeminal (influential, decisive, shaping) works are very important

  • Preparing to write (cont.)Read abstracts first--is article appropriate?Sort references where fit in outlineUse data-based, empirical (experimental, observed) studiesOpinion pieces, descriptive research helpful in introduction--set stage

  • Preparing to write (cont.)Do not ignore studies that differ from majority or personal bias.Related literature review is NOT a series of abstracts or annotationsIntegrate-integrate-integrateNot a literary production---be clear and concise

  • SourcesJournal articles, journal reviews, ERIC papers, monographs, online materials, books, periodicals, abstracts, government documents, and dissertationsIncludes: theoretical discussions, reviews of literature, philosophical papers, descriptions and evaluations of current practices, and empirical research

  • Source GuidelinePrimary Source -- description of study written by person who conducted it.Primary sources are the original studies or writings by a theorist or researcher, which are found by using indexes to journals, educational documents, government documents, and dissertations.Use Primary Sources to the most extent possible.

  • Source GuidelineSecondary Source -- much briefer description of study written by other than original researcherSecondary sources are syntheses of the research-based knowledge on a topic and are usually articles in general and specialized educational journals, annuals, yearbooks, encyclopedias, or books.Use Primary Sources to the most extent possible.

  • Judging Literature ReviewA lit review is judged adequate in the context of the proposal.A lit review is NOT judged by its length nor by the number of citations.The quality of a lit review is judged according to whether it increases the understanding of the status of knowledge of the problem and provides a rationale for the study.

  • Literature ReviewSome of questions the Review of Literature can answerWhat are the origins and definitions of the topic?What are the key sources?What the key theories, concepts, and ideas?What are the major issues and debates about the topic?What are the political standpoints?

  • Some questions the Review of Literature can answer (cont.)How is knowledge on the topic structured and organized?What are the main questions and problems that have been addressed to date?How have approaches to these questions increased our understanding and knowledge?

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