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A Review of the Literature With Your Hosts Writing Center Staff and Faculty

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Title: A Review of the Literature With Your Hosts Writing Center Staff and Faculty


1
A Review of the LiteratureWith Your
HostsWriting Center Staff and Faculty
2
Objectives
  • Explore the Role of the Literature Review by
    examining
  • The Definition
  • The Purpose
  • Strategies for Accessing the Literature
  • Strategies for Reading the Literature
  • Strategies for Crafting the Review

3
Questions to ask
  • What is the specific research problem that the
    literature review seeks to resolve?
  • What type of literature review is to be conducted
    (theories, policies, methodologies)?
  • What is the scope of the literature review
    (journals, books, popular media)?

4
A template to keep in mind
  • Compile
  • Gather the literature
  • Critique
  • Determine the value
  • Categorize
  • Organize according to common denominators
  • Comprehend
  • Understand the content well enough to teach it.
  • Compose
  • Write the literature review.

5
Literature Review Defined
  • Any collection of materials on a topic.
  • Scholarly peer-reviewed articles
  • Government documents
  • Conference proceedings
  • Personal communication
  • Unpublished pamphlets
  • Internal documents

6
Purpose of the Literature Review
  • To convey to the reader what knowledge and ideas
    have been established on a topic.
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Oddities

7
Purpose of the Literature Review
  • Allows a researcher to demonstrate
  • Information seeking skills, that is, the ability
    to scan the literature efficiently to identify a
    set of useful articles and books.
  • Critical appraisal skills, that is, the ability
    to apply principles of analysis to identify
    unbiased and valid studies.

8
Purpose of the Literature Review
  • Provides a handy guide to a particular topic.
  • Useful reports keeping a professional updated on
    what is current in the field.
  • Emphasizes the credibility of the writer by
    establishing their authority on a topic.
  • Provides a solid background for a papers
    investigation.

9
Accessing the Literature
  • Carry out a comprehensive literature search.
  • May be disciplinary or interdisciplinary.
  • Review all types of publications (journals,
    books, govt. documents, popular media).
  • Start with a broad range and then narrow.
  • Review all internal references.
  • Consult with others.

10
Reading the Literature
  • Active Reading means asking questions.
  • What is similar in the literature (methodologies,
    philosophies, assertions, interpretation of
    evidence)?
  • What is different?
  • What are the gaps, that is, what requires further
    exploration?
  • What stands out?

11
Reading the Literature
  • Active Reading continued
  • Has the author formulated a problem/issue?
  • Is it clearly defined (significance, scope,
    relevance)?
  • What is the theoretical framework?
  • How is the theoretical framework related to the
    research perspectives?
  • Is this a good read?

12
Reading the Literature
  • Keep track of the following
  • Perspective
  • Problem or issue
  • Specific claims
  • Evidence
  • Objectivity
  • Persuasiveness
  • Results
  • Conclusion

13
Reading the Literature
  • Annotate.
  • Ask questions, jot down ideas, highlight.
  • Keep detailed notes.
  • Note the source.
  • Track keywords
  • Note themes.
  • Consider a chart or a table.
  • A matrix can help.

14
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15
Writing the Literature Review
  • In the body you should
  • Group articles according to common denominators
    (examples?).
  • Summarize articles as each merits according to
    its comparative importance in the literature.
  • Provide the reader with direction, leading them
    back to your research problem and to the so
    what and who cares.

16
Writing the Literature Review
  • In the conclusion you should
  • Summarize major contributions while maintaining
    the focus established in the introduction.
  • Demonstrate the gap in the research, returning
    the reader to your specific problem.
  • Provide insight into the relationship between the
    literature and your original research, use the
    language of a social scientist.

17
Counterargument
  • No one who is working on their dissertation
    enjoys coming across material that seems to
    refute a major premise
  • Pretending there are not two sides does not make
    it true
  • Tackle the best points of the other side
  • Look for intersections
  • This is not a cage match it is research

18
Common Problems
  • Reliance on textbooks or books that are not peer
    reviewed
  • Reliance on websites of questionable worth
  • Reliance on secondary sources
  • Using wikipedia or other online encyclopedias to
    substantiate definitions

19
Secondary Sources
  • Identified by
  • (Cass, cited in Boss, 2003)
  • Another type of secondary source involves pulling
    citations from a reference list (e.g., from a
    textbook) and pasting them into your reference
    list. The reference list is not a bibliography.

20
Academic Integrity
  • Cutting and pasting a series of abstracts is not
    reviewing the literature.
  • Remember to place the scholarship in the context
    of your study (this requires that you
    synthesize).
  • Researchers write for a discipline, the
    literature review should be understandable to an
    outside audience.
  • Stealing other peoples words or ideas without
    giving them credit is unethical.

21
Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Copy all materials used as sources (or keep
    electronic copies of original articles).
  • Put names of authors next to all notes that you
    take. If you have quoted the material from the
    source, use quotation marks.
  • Soon all students will be required to submit
    their dissertations to Turnitin to help you spot
    careless omissions and to make corrections
    prior to the final submission.

22
Direct Quotes
  • Avoid them unless absolutely necessary.
  • Randomly pick 10 journal articles - you will
    rarely see quotations used.
  • Excessive quotations means the work really is not
    yours. You are just parroting others.
  • If you use more than a few quotations, your
    committee will likely send you back to paraphrase
    and integrate through synthesis.

23
Elements of Style
  • Revise and rewrite until it flows. Revision is
    everything!
  • Do not overwrite (dont include every study only
    include what is essential for the literature
    review for your study). Write simply and in
    short, complete sentences.
  • Avoid jargonistic writing make sure your reader
    understands you.
  • Stay objective, and write in non-biased language.
  • Omit unnecessary words.
  • Be mindful of grammar and punctuation rules.

24
Resources
  • Literature Review Resources http//writingcenter.w
    aldenu.edu/50.htm
  • Writing Center http//writingcenter.waldenu.edu/
  • Library http//library.waldenu.edu/
  • Residency Information http//residencies.waldenu.e
    du/
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