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The Literature Review. What is a Literature Review?.

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what is a literature review
What is a Literature Review?
  • According to Creswell (2005), a review of the literature “is a written summary of journal articles, books and other documents that describes the past and current state of information, organizes the literature into topics and documents a need for a proposed study.” (pp. 79)

Creswell, J.W. (2005) Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research

focusing on empirical research
Focusing on Empirical Research
  • What does Empirical Mean?
  • Primary Sources
    • Original Research Article
  • Secondary Sources
    • Newspapers
    • Book chapters
    • Television/Radio
    • Magazines
    • Wikepedia
empirical research
Empirical Research
  • All empirical research is inherently flawed
    • Limitations
  • Sampling
    • Generalizability
    • Representative
  • Measurement
    • Measurement Error
    • Social Desirability
  • Problem Identification
    • Grasping the “Whole” Problem
literature reviews
Literature Reviews
  • Well-written analytical narrative that brings a reader up-to-date on what is known on a given topic, but also provide fresh insights that advance knowledge
    • Resolve conflicts between studies
    • Identify new ways to interpret research results
    • Creating a path for future research
anecdotal reports
Anecdotal Reports
  • A description of an event or experience that happened to be noticed
    • No control
    • No comparison
review of key elements of previous definition
Review of Key Elements of Previous Definition
  • The LR is a summary of research:
    • It is not a “list” of found research but a coherent and articulate account of past and current research findings
    • Suggestion: read 2 or 3 LRs in order to become familiar with summary styles
review of key elements of previous definition cont d
Review of Key Elements of Previous Definition (cont’d)
  • The sources typically are journal articles, books and other documents that describe past and present status of research in a given field:
    • The LR should be exhaustive and as current as possible.
    • How many articles?
      • There is no set number. As long as the search is exhaustive and focused on the research topic, the review will be acceptable.
review of key elements of previous definition cont d1
Review of Key Elements of Previous Definition (cont’d)
  • How far back should one search?
    • A reasonable and widely accepted timeframe includes research conducted during the past 10 years. Important studies (i.e., studies that had a significant impact on the field of study) should also be mentioned even if these go beyond the mentioned timeframe.
review of key elements of previous definition cont d2
Review of Key Elements of Previous Definition (cont’d)
  • The LR should be organized:
    • The review should not only be coherent, but should organize the studies reviewed under themes or topics.
    • The reviewer is a guide and should be able to provide readers with an in-depth and current status of research in a given area.
    • This aspect is essential for readers to understand what the reviewer found during the search.
review of key elements of previous definition cont d3
Review of Key Elements of Previous Definition (cont’d)
  • The LR should document the need for a proposed study:
    • Studies should not duplicate research that has been already done.
    • Even in cases when research is duplicated (replicated is the appropriate term), one is responsible for documenting the need for replication, e.g., need to explore the same methodology with a different group or population, or need to change methodology with the same group.
creswell s 5 steps to conduct a literature review
Creswell’s 5 steps to Conduct a Literature Review
  • Step 1: Identify Key Terms or “Descriptors”
    • Extract key words from your title (remember, you may decide to change the title later)
    • Use some of the words other authors reported in the literature

Creswell, J.W. (2005) Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research

step 1 identify key terms or descriptors cont d
Step 1: Identify Key Terms or “Descriptors” (cont’d)
  • Use the “Thesaurus of ERIC Descriptors to look for terms that match your topic: go to www.eric.ed.gov and in “Search” select “Descriptors (from Thesaurus)”
  • Scan both electronic and library journals from the past 10 years and look for key terms in the articles

Creswell, J.W. (2005) Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research

creswell s 5 steps to conduct a literature review cont d
Creswell’s 5 steps to Conduct a Literature Review (cont’d)
  • Step 2: Locate Literature
    • Use academic libraries, do not limit your search to an electronic search of articles
    • Use primary and secondary sources. A “primary source” is research reported by the researcher that conducted the study. A “secondary source” is research that summarizes or reports findings that come from primary sources

Creswell, J.W. (2005) Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research

step 2 locate literature cont d
Step 2: Locate Literature(cont’d)
  • It is “best to report mostly primary sources” (p. 82)
  • Search different types of literature: summaries, encyclopedias, dictionaries and glossaries of terms, handbooks, statistical indexes, reviews and syntheses, books, journals, indexed publications, electronic sources, abstract series, and databases

Creswell, J.W. (2005) Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research

creswell s 5 steps to conduct a literature review cont d1
Creswell’s 5 steps to Conduct a Literature Review (cont’d)
  • Step 3: Critically Evaluate and Select Literature
    • Rely on journal articles published in national journals
    • Prioritize your search: first look for refereed journal articles, then, non-refereed articles, then books, then conference papers, dissertations and theses and then papers posted to websites

Creswell, J.W. (2005) Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research

step 3 critically evaluate and select literature cont d
Step 3: Critically Evaluate and Select Literature (cont’d)
  • Look for research articles and avoid as much as possible “opinion” pieces
  • Blend qualitative and quantitative research in your review

Creswell, J.W. (2005) Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research

creswell s 5 steps to conduct a literature review cont d2
Creswell’s 5 steps to Conduct a Literature Review (cont’d)
  • Step 4: Organize the Literature
    • Create a “file” or “abstract” system to keep track of what you read. Each article you read should be summarized in one page containing
      • Title (use APA to type the title so that you can later copy-paste this into the References section of your paper)
      • Source: journal article, book, glossary, etc.

Creswell, J.W. (2005) Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research

step 4 organize the literature cont d
Step 4: Organize the Literature (cont’d)
    • Research problem: one or two lines will suffice
    • Research Questions or Hypotheses
    • Data collection procedure (a description of sample characteristics can be very handy as well)
    • Results or findings of the study
  • Sort these abstracts into groups of related topics or areas which can then become the different sections of your review

Creswell, J.W. (2005) Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research

creswell s 5 steps to conduct a literature review cont d3
Creswell’s 5 steps to Conduct a Literature Review (cont’d)
  • Step 5: Write a Literature Review
    • Types of Reviews:
      • Thematic Review: a theme is identified and studies found under this theme are described. Major ideas and findings are reported rather than details.

Creswell, J.W. (2005) Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research

step 5 write a literature review cont d
Step 5: Write a Literature Review(cont’d)
  • Study-by-study Review: a detailed summary of each study under a broad theme is provided. Link summaries (or abstracts) using transitional sentences. Must be organized and flow coherently under various subheadings. Avoid string quotations (i.e., lengthy chunks of text directly quoted from a source)

Creswell, J.W. (2005) Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research

preliminary literature review
Preliminary Literature Review
  • This succinct review of current literature should:
    • Provide further contextual background
    • Reveal issues related to your study
    • Describe similar problems in other organizations
    • Provide significance to your approach to the study
guidelines on style mechanics and language usage
Guidelines on Style, Mechanics, and Language Usage
  • Does your draft follow the logic or idea that is presented in your intro and title?
  • Avoid overusing direct quotations, especially long ones
  • Check style manual for correct use of citations
    • (Doe, 2005); Doe (2005); (Doe & Smith, 2005); Doe and Smith (2005);(Black, 2005; Brown, 2006; Yellow, 2007)
guidelines on style mechanics and language usage1
Guidelines on Style, Mechanics, and Language Usage
  • Avoid using synonyms for recurring words
    • This is not creative writing and stay consistent with terminology
      • Group I, Phoenix Cohort, Experimental Group
  • Spell out all acronyms when first using them
    • Traditional - American Psychological Association (APA)
    • Non-traditional - Collective Efficacy (CE)
  • Yes - Do NOT use contractions; No – Don’t use contractions
  • Coined terms should be set off by quotes
guidelines on style mechanics and language usage2
Guidelines on Style, Mechanics, and Language Usage
  • Avoid the following:
    • Slang – “cool”
    • Colloquialisms – “thing” >> “item” or “feature”
    • Idioms – “rise to the pinnacle” >> “to become prominent”
  • Use great care to avoid Plagiarism
activity
Activity
  • Please Read page 119-121, from the Galvan book. Then answer the following questions on page 9.
  • Have the reviewers clearly identified the topic of review? Have they indicated its delimitations? Does it deal only with certain aspects of the problem
  • Have the reviewers writing a cohesive essay that guides you thorough the literature from subtopics to subtopic? Explain.
  • Have the reviewers interpreted and critique the literature, or have they merely summarized it?
  • Overall, do you think the reviewers make an imporatnt contribution to knowledge through their synthesis of the literature? Explain.
what needs to be included in the literature review
What needs to be included in the Literature review.
  • Provides contextual background
  • Reveals related issues
  • Reviews similar problems elsewhere
  • Provides significance to your approach to the study
  • Includes major/seminar research articles pertaining to study
  • Written in an integrated manner
  • Uses peer-reviewed research
  • Includes a Reference section
writing your research question s
Writing Your Research Question(s)
  • Reflect the problem that the researcher wants to investigate
  • Can be formulated based on theories, past research, previous experience, or the practical need to make data-driven decisions in a work environment
writing your research question s cont d
Writing Your Research Question(s) (cont’d)
  • Are vitally important because they, in large part, dictate what type of statistical analysis is needed, as well as what type of research design may be employed
  • A research question should address only 1 concept
  • Question must be measurable
slide30

Types of Questions Asked

  • Once you have identified the topic of study, you will need to consider the type of question you want answered and how it will be answered
  • Two paradigms
    • Quantitative Paradigm
      • Generally attempt to quantify variables of interest. Questions frequently address “how well or how much.”
slide31

Types of Questions Asked

  • Qualitative Paradigm
    • “there are times when we wish to know not how many or how well, but simply how.” (Shulman, 1988, pg. 7)
class exercise
Class Exercise
  • Now you’re ready to formulate your own research question(s)
  • Sample questions:
    • Is there a relationship between participation in an Elluminate chat session and course grade?
    • How do 5th grade students experience the anticipation of standardized testing?
research questions
Research Questions
  • From Topic to Research Question A good research topic asks a clear, concise question. Asking a research question helps you keep a tight focus on your topic.
  • Tweaking Your Research Question

A good research topic is broad enough to allow you to find plenty of material, but narrow enough to fit within the size and time constraints of your paper.

    • If your topic is either too broad or too narrow, consider adding or eliminating the following elements:

Time Period, century, decade, future, Population Type, age, gender, nationality, species, Geographic Location country, state, region, Point of View economic, social, cultural, biological

assignment 2 components see syllabus for details
Assignment 2 Components (see syllabus for details)
  • Title Page
  • Nature of the Problem
  • Background and Significance of the Problem
  • Literature Review
  • Research Questions
  • References