Literature Review 10 ~ pages due Thursday 6pm (CDT)

DESCRIPTION

You will conduct a review of the literature (including an Introduction section) on a research topic of your choice. Your final paper must be 10 pages in length (excluding the References section) and cite at least 10 peer-reviewed scholarly publications. (You may also cite non peer-reviewed publications—magazines, newspapers, websites, and books—but the number of peer-reviewed articles must be 10 or greater.)

One important concept is the scope of your analysis of studies. Although you must cite at least 10 scholarly sources in your review, you do not have space to critically analyze 10 studies.

You should focus your review on two major studies—supplemented by a brief review of two, complementary, minor studies.

HOW TO GET STARTED

All of these students earned either an A or A- on the assignment. The papers are not perfect, but they’re very, very good. Some have errors in APA formatting, others have minor grammatical mistakes. So don’t rely on these to guide you on APA formatting—refer to the official APA 6th Edition Publication Manual. If I were you, I’d read through these to get an idea about how to: 1) write a good, short Abstract that summarizes the entire paper (think one-paragraph SparkNotes summary), 2) write an Introduction that provides background and context for the review, 3) write a literature review that is broken out by theme/topic, 4) analyze major studies by describing them, reporting the results, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and most importantly, describing how they are related to each other and the research question 5) conclude with an answer to your research question

lit-review-sample-1(attached)

lit-review-sample-2 (attached)

lit-review-sample-3 (attached)

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Here is a document that provides answers to the most frequently asked questions about the upcoming Literature Review assignment:

lit-review-frequently-asked-questions.doc (attached)

One important concept is the scope of your analysis of studies. Although you must cite at least 10 scholarly sources in your review, you do not have space to critically analyze 10 studies.

You should focus your review on two major studies—supplemented by a brief review of two, complementary, minor studies.

Here is a sample outline for a literature review answering a quantitative research question:

Page 1: Title page

  • Includes a header, page number, title (research question), your name, course name, Professor’s name, and assignment due date

Page 2: Abstract

  • A complete summary of your entire paper including the conclusion. (It is not a “teaser” about what you will write about.)

Page 3: Introduction

  • Introduce the reader to the topic and the importance/significance of the problem. Many of your citations will appear here because every statement of fact needs to be cited. Read through the three students samples I provided to get a sense for what this section looks like.

Page 4: Description of independent and dependent variables

  • Write a 1/2-page paragraph description (each) of the independent and dependent variables. There will be several citations in each of these sections as well.
  • Note: If you are reviewing qualitative studies, rather than describing the IV and DV, you should write three paragraphs about the central phenomenon, the participants, and the setting.

Pages 5 and 6: Description and analysis of first major study

  • You should allocate about two pages to your description and analysis of the first major study with the space being divided about equally between the two. Think back to your Critical Review assignment. You’re doing essentially the same thing but with much less space.
  • Note: You are not trying to find studies you think have problems in order to demonstrate your ability to critique them, rather you are looking for the absolutely highest quality studies you can find. Remember, the objective of this assignment is to answer your primary question with the best evidence available.
  • Make sure to relate the studies you selected to your primary question as well to each other

Pages 7 and 8: Description and analysis of second major study

  • Same as first major study—just repeat the exercise. Make sure to relate the two studies to each other. How did they complement each other? Are there contradictory findings? If yes, what is the cause of the differences?

Page 9: Brief description and analysis of two minor studies

  • Allocate about 1/2 page for each description and analysis of two minor studies to complement your major studies. These studies should provide an interesting spin on the findings of the major studies that are still related to your primary question. For example, if your primary question is “What is the effect of caffeine consumption on athletic performance among student-athletes at U.S. universities?” Your two minor studies might focus on “What is the effect of caffeine consumption on academic performance among student-athletes at U.S. universities?” and “What is the effect of marijuana consumption on athletic performance among student-athletes at U.S. universities?” Notice how I just changed the independent and dependent variables? Alternatively, you can change the subjects, setting, and time (issues of external validity).

Page 10: Conclusion

  • One paragraph that directly answers the primary question. Do not provide any new information in this section. You are simply summarizing what you have found. (And don’t bother writing “…more research is needed.” More research is always useful.) If you think it’s important for more research to be done to more definitively answer the question, be very specific about the type of research needed.

Page 11 (and more if necessary): References

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