The purpose of this assignment is to provide you with the opportunity to select a topic in the particular area in which you have an occupational or research interest, and to complete a literature review of the topic, using a minimum of ten scholarly references. A helpful Web site for organizing and writing a literature review is www.wisc.edu/writing/Handbook/ReviewofLiterature.html.
You may also want to review the following documents that are available in the Shared Documents area of the course:
- sample literature review,
- PowerPoint document illustrating how to set up your word processor for APA style
- “Guide for Writing a Literature Review”
Based on your review of the most recent, relevant research findings on your chosen topic, submit a final version of your literature review paper, integrating feedback received from your instructor. Be sure to include a research/focal question, synthesis of the literature you reviewed, well-established conclusions, and points of discussion and/or future research.
- Begin the review by defining the objective of the paper. Introduce the reader to your focal question. What is this question intended to address? You may state your “question” in the form of a problem if you like. Describe the topic for your literature review and why you chose this topic. Explain why you think it is important. It is also useful to tell the reader how the review is organized in your introduction section, before you the transition into the body of the review.
- Organize your literature review paper by themes/theories/concepts, rather than article by article. If there is one major theme you want to highlight, state the theme. If there are three major themes or streams of thought on the topic, briefly name them—and then organize the balance of your literature review around those three streams. Think of themes, theories, concepts, lines of thought, and ideas as organizing strategies for your literature review. Your creativity in this assignment is not the content or findings but the clarity with which you organize the review and create a context for understanding the focal question.
- When you are done introducing the first line of thought, create a new paragraph to discuss studies which present another line of thought or opposing view.
- Your literature review should hit the high points of each article. You should not discuss a single article, one by one, like a grocery list. Zero in on the main theme or finding and then move on to the next theme. Remember, this is a synthesis, an integration of all the things you have learned. You are creating a discussion on paper, which in turn gives the reader a context for understanding where the scholarship has been, where it is currently, and where it likely will be heading next. Provide enough details to help the reader understand the significance of the studies you cite without “rebuilding Rome.” Be sure to evaluate the studies and offer critical comments on any shortcomings you’ve observed or that have been reported by the authors.
- Discuss the main findings and their implications. Given the results of your literature review, what is/are the prevailing argument(s)? What research question could you ask in order to further develop this area of study and contribute to the existing body of knowledge? Complete your review by drawing conclusions about your body of research and identifying gaps in the research which still remain to be explored, maybe even by you! Make an argument as to why your research question is important and relevant to the current work being done on your topic.
Apply current APA standards for editorial style, expression of ideas, and formatting of the text, headings, citations, and references. Remember to use your own words to describe and evaluate the articles. Avoid quoting the material and also cite works when you are discussing someone else’s ideas. Your paper should be double-spaced and in 12 point, Times New Roman font with normal one-inch margins, written in APA style, and free of typographical and grammatical errors. It should include a title page with a running head, an abstract and a reference page. The body of the paper should be no less than 5–6 pages in length.