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Critical Literature Review

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  1. Critical Literature Review Writing Resources Center http://wrc.uncc.edu

  2. Writing Resources Center (WRC) Locations: 220 Fretwell 109 Atkins Library Phone: 704-687-HELP (4357) E-mail: wrchelp@uncc.edu Web: http://wrc.uncc.edu Appointments: http://rich65.com/uncc/

  3. Purpose of a Critical Literature Review • Establishes a foundation of prior research • Illustrates your breadth of knowledge • Discusses your position on the topic • Justifies why your research is necessary • Explains how your research contributes to the field

  4. Keep an Open Mind • You may have to alter your topic if you have difficulty finding adequate information or are overwhelmed with information. • You may want to refine your topic as you read more about the subject and discover a niche to fill.

  5. What to Consider as You Read Note the General Nature of the Available Research What research has been conducted? What are the current trends in the field? Scrutinize the Prior Research Could the focus have been broadened or narrowed to yield more conclusive results? Could the research have benefitted from a different methodology? Was an idea overlooked or treated dismissively? Identify an Area for Research Is there a new problem to solve? Is there a new solution to an old problem?   Is there a need to re-examine an issue or continue work in an area? Is this a breakthrough idea? 5

  6. Writing the Review Demonstrate a critical understanding of the work of others Provide fair, balanced information that addresses all sides of the issue, including neutral or opposite perspectives Organize the text according to: method theory chronology theme Rely on paraphrases and summaries more than direct quotations Synthesize your interpretation of others’ work into a coherent, fluid expression of ideas

  7. Synthesizing Information • Group like ideas together to form paragraphs and sections of the text • Present the research as an integrated representation of thoughts, not as a progression of sources

  8. Weak Synthesis Sexual harassment has many consequences. Adams, Kottke, and Padgitt (1983) found that some women students said they avoided taking a class or working with certain professors because of the risk of harassment. They also found that men and women students reacted differently. Their research was a survey of 1,000 men and women graduate and undergraduate students. Benson and Thomson’s study in Social Problems (1982) lists many problems created by sexual harassment. In their excellent book, The Lecherous Professor, Dziech and Weiner (1990) give a long list of difficulties that victims have suffered. Neuman, W. Lawrence. (2003). Social research methods: qualitative and quantitative approaches, 5th ed, Allyn and Bacon, Boston. Source: RMIT’s Study and Learning Centre

  9. Stronger Synthesis The victims of sexual harassment suffer a range of consequences, from lowered self-esteem and loss of self-confidence to withdrawal from social interaction, changed career goals, and depression (Adams, Kottke, and Padgitt, 1983; Benson and Thomson, 1982; Dziech and Weiner, 1990). For example, Adams, Kottke, and Padgitt (1983) noted that 13 percent of women students said they avoided taking a class or working with certain professors because of the risk of harassment. Neuman, W. Lawrence. (2003). Social research methods: qualitative and quantitative approaches, 5th ed, Allyn and Bacon, Boston. Source: RMIT’s Study and Learning Centre

  10. Engineering Examples • Consult the bound dissertations housed in Atkins Library for examples more specific to engineering • Review the following websites for easily accessible samples on the Internet: http://www.comcol.umass.edu/academics/deansbookcourse/pdfs/sample_lit_review.pdf http://www.jstor.org/sici?sici=0022-0027%28199506% 2939%3A2%3C224%3AEIODAW%3E2.0.CO%3B2-2

  11. Writing Tips • Include a strong topic sentence for each paragraph • Provide transitions between paragraphs or within paragraphs • Beware paragraphs that are too long or too short • Vary word choice and sentence structure • Avoid redundancy