Organizing and Writing the Literature Review Dr. Karen Bowser, D.Ed., Dr. Berta Capo, Ed.D., Joana Fernandez, M.L.I.S.
Purpose of Literature Review • Provide theoretical framework • Provide a deep understanding of the needs of your intended audience • Provide a deep understanding for your prospective audience • Provide a background for all aspects of your topic • Serve as a source for comparing the results of your own study in Chapter 5
Exhaustive Literature Review • Must be at least 30 pages in length • Must contain required topics from the appropriate FCE template • Must contain theoretical framework • Must provide details about all aspects of your topic • Must be organized by topic—not source
Topic of Interest • Begin by pulling current research from peer reviewed journal articles (last 5 years). • Rummage through their references as well and look for journals, reports, conference proceedings. • Look for theoretical frameworks.
Utilize the Library Databases! Learn to use the databases effectively! Look at the number of times an article has been cited. See who has cited the articles and seek out the source.
Become the Expert! • Read, Read, Read and take notes! • Make sure that your notes clearly label what you have paraphrased. • In your notes, document the citation and page number of any quotes! • You cannot do research in your field without a strong understanding of current research in your field!
Ideas That Work to Help You Organize Your Literature Review • Start by setting regular “doctor” appointments • Can work by time or topic • Before session ends, write yourself a short note as to where you will begin at your next “doctor’s appointment”
Themes Begin to group your research by common themes or subtopics. Avoid bias!!!!!! Create an outline (Extremely Important)! Outline!!!!
Tools That Work to Help You Organize Your Literature Review • Outline topics using a computer or paper • Brainstorm topics and then cut and paste them to reorder so they flow logically • If some areas are subordinate to another topic, indent that topic under the main topic
Tools That Work to Help You Organize Your Literature Review • Use post-it notes • Write one aspect of reviewed literature per note • Select a blank wall • Group like topics together • Check visual balance • Organize one column of notes into a logical order. Continue. • Organize sorted columns on logical order
Tools That Work to Help You Organize Your Literature Review • Start with required topics from the FCE template for Chapter 2 • Theoretical perspective • Historical context • Clear discussion of how further research should extend, differ from, or replicate past studies • Indication of shortcomings that should be avoided in the design of prior research • Critique of the research studies • Summary of findings • Research questions
The Literature Review Outline • The outline should evolve to become your literature review headings. • Your dissertation chair should be able to review and picture the flow of your completed literature review.
Topic, Problem, and Purpose • Continue to tweak your topic, problem, and purpose. • Remember, your literature review, when completed, should provide you with a clear picture of what you will do and how you will do it.
The Literature Review • Helps you find gaps – what is not known • Helps you analyze the different methodologies used • Helps you critically analyze how the topic has been explored
Elements of a Literature Review • Topical research describes the what. • Theoretical framework describes the why and how. • Conceptual Framework - Helps you make an argument for and defend all of your choices as well as select and defend the theoretical framework you will apply.
Major Purposes • Situates your own work within the current research literature • Provides a sound basis from which to build from (research is cumulative). • Identify areas of new research need • To inform your research design and your methodology
The Literature Review “…it should be apparent that we view the whole study as an argument, and much of it is an outgrowth of the process of reviewing the literature” (Ravitch & Riggan, 2012, p. 26).
Literature Review Flaws • Too much emphasis on what is known and where the gaps are located. • Too little synthesis (compare, contrast, summarize). Must do more. Synthesis allows new possibilities to develop. • Too little emphasis on design and methodology. • Literature review is a process not just a product.
How do you know when You Are Finished? • Only when you have a complete conceptual framework! • A complete picture and argument for what you will do.
Work Smarter, Not Harder • No matter how you organized your topic (outline or post-it notes), write your second- and third-level headings into your template/draft • Make sure all of your headings are in parallel construction • Check order of topics by reading through your headings • Reorder as necessary • Now, you can use your headings to write your lit review in any order you choose.
Now It Is Your Turn • Take the next X minutes to start the process while you have dissertation experts in the room who can help you. • Take some post-it notes or start writing an outline on your computer. • Organize your topics • Start writing your second and third-level headings if you have time.
Reference Ravitsh, S. M., & Riggan, M. (2012). Reason and rigor: How conceptual frameworks guide research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.