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Literature Review

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  1. Literature Review Taken From: University of Washington Psychology Writing Center

  2. 2 Main Approaches • Choose an area of research, read all the relevant studies and organize them in a meaningful way • Choose an organizing theme or a point that you want to make, the select your studies accordingly

  3. Two Purposes • To thoroughly describe work done on specific area of research • To evaluate this work • Identify relations, contradictions, gaps, and inconsistencies in the literature and by suggesting the next step needed to solve the research problem • Compare studies in terms of assumptions about the research question, experimental method, data analysis and any conclusions drawn

  4. Select a Research Topic • Select a topic of current interest • Select a well-researched area • Narrow • Plan on spending half of your time selecting a topic and reading articles and the other half writing

  5. Collect the relevant articles • Do a preliminary search on PsycInfo • Further narrow your topic if necessary • Find your pivotal article –what article do all the other articles cite • Do an author search and see what other articles the author has written (PsycInfo) • See who has cited those authors (SSCI) • Find readable articles • Identify accessible articles

  6. Reading the Articles • Read the easier articles first • Scan the articles • Identify the research question • Specific hypotheses • The findings • How the findings were interpreted • Read abstract, look at graphs and read discussion • Jot down main conclusion of articles on a summary sheet or next to the abstract • Now do a careful read of the articles and look for differences in theoretical outlook

  7. Writing the Literature Review • Number of articles reviewed • 5-15 • Length • 8-20 pages • Organization • Introduce research question] • Narrow research question to the studies discussed • Briefly outline the organization of the paper • E.g., 3 methods have been used and each will be described and a comparison among them will be made

  8. Writing the Literature Review • Describe studies in detail • Compare and evaluate studies • Discus implication of studies • USE CONCEPTUAL HEADINGS: • Read 5 articles first then write headings • Literature is SDs for what you write as headings not other way around • Headings are conclusions not predictions • Definition of terms • Description of research question • What population have been used • Skills taught using this teaching procedure • Studies that measured a particular variable • Studies that did not measure a particular variable

  9. Writing the Literature Review • Write the Introduction • Start off with the research question and progressively narrow it. • State the specific lines of research you will be discussing • Establish a brisk but even pace • Avoid sudden jumps in logic • It is your job to make reading your article as easies as possible on the reader –assume nothing about their background

  10. Writing the Literature Review • Describe each article • Compare research assumptions, research theories tested, hypotheses stated, research designs used, variables selected, equipment used, instruction given, results obtained, interpretation of results, researcher speculations about future studies • If you’re having trouble here, then you don’t thoroughly understand the articles. Go back and read them again • Evaluate the work don in the area you are researching • State strengths and weaknesses and what remains to be done. • Assertions must be well supported by evidence • Recommend future studies

  11. Recommendations • Don’t start writing too early –you’ll write in circles because you don’t have anything to say • Leave time for breaks to get a fresh perspective • Use specific language and support your arguments with concrete examples • Don’t say “this illustrates” say “this experiment illustrates” • Use as few words as possible (write actively) • Never use a word with more syllables if the small word says the same thing “utilize and use” • Paragraphs need a main point • Paraphrase NEVER quote • Evaluate what you report • Synthesize the research, not just describe it • Avoid plagiarism –give credit