Literature Review: What is a literature review?
“Literature reviews … are critical evaluations of material that has already been published… By organizing, integrating, and evaluating previously published material, authors of literature reviews consider the progress of research toward clarifying a problem. In a sense, literature reviews are tutorials in that authors
(APA manual 6th edition, pp. 10)
Objectives: By completing this assignment you will:
The general topic of your paper will be the same as the topic of the article you selected at the beginning of the course.
Choosing an Approach
Within your chosen topic, you must develop a thesis statement, which will guide your research and review. To form an effective thesis statement, you might consider one of the following approaches:
Whatever the approach you take, you should keep careful notes on your sources and critically evaluate them.
Literature Review Overview:
Introducing your topic: Your introduction should explain the question to be explored and provide a preview of your paper. It should include a clear thesis statement and define the concepts, which are central to your paper.
The body of your review: You should organize the body of your review around central ideas, which are supported or refuted by multiple research studies. A strong review must synthesize several pieces of original research to support each idea. Typically, a review article will have many references (often 30 or more). However, the author will not discuss every article in exhaustive detail. Rather s/he may cite only a single idea or main point from some articles, while providing greater detail for others. You must decide how much detail to include from each of your sources. As a general guideline, you should include only as much detail as is necessary to make your point.
The body of your review should be carefully balanced to present all sides of your chosen issue. Specify whether evidence for a particular point is strong (i.e., many peer-reviewed studies have reached the same conclusion), weak (i.e., supporting studies have design flaws, cannot be generalized beyond the sample used, or have not been replicated), or inconclusive (i.e., conclusions from different studies are contradictory). If the definition of key terms in the field is inconsistent, point out these inconsistencies. Identify gaps in knowledge and areas needing continued research.
Future directions/implications: Your review should include a section proposing future studies that are needed to draw a definitive conclusion, as well as practical implications that stem from your review. All papers should offer some guidance regarding next steps that psychologists can take in addressing the issue.
Conclusion: Your paper should end with a section labeled “Conclusion” where you restate your thesis and address the conclusions that can be drawn from past research. Support your thesis by summarizing the evidence you discussed earlier in the paper. This may include evidence supporting your thesis and evidence ruling out alternatives. Your conclusion should not introduce new ideas, but it should give a strong sense of closure to your paper.
Detailed Guidelines & Rubrics
Guidelines for the Literature Review
Your literature review paper should include an introduction of your topic, the body of your review (which will differ depending on the approach you take, an evaluation of future directions or implications, and a conclusion. The paper must include at least 6 peer-reviewed sources and should be about 1000 words in length (excluding title page, and references). Use the rubric below and the overview on p. 2 of this assignment as a guide.
Final Literature Review Paper
|o Does the introduction clearly explain the question to be explored?
o Does the thesis statement identify the problem and briefly explain why it is meaningful?
o Is the thesis statement expressed clearly and effectively?
o Is the introduction concise and interesting?
o Are key topics defined, as necessary?
|Body of the Review
|o Is research evidence incorporated appropriately throughout the body of the paper (main points are summarized and integrated into the paper)?
o Are relevant research findings clearly explained?
o Is evidence well synthesized so that each point is supported by research in an integrated way (avoid study stacking)?
o Are the conclusions drawn from the research valid?
o Does the writer specify whether the evidence is weak, strong, or inconclusive?
o Does the paper avoid quotes, unless the exact wording is critical to the argument?
o Is the paper balanced in considering all aspects of the issue, avoiding bias?
|o Does the conclusion restate the thesis accurately?
o Does it address the conclusions that can be drawn from past research?
o Does it summarize the evidence discussed earlier in the paper?
|Clarity, Organization, & Conciseness
|o Clarity of writing. How clearly does the paper communicate each point?
o Organization. Is the paper well-organized? Does the paper use headings effectively to convey this organization?
o Conciseness. Does the paper state points in a direct, concise manner?
|o Tone: Does the paper use an appropriately formal/academic tone (e.g., avoid slang, contractions, clichés, first person pronouns)?
o Mechanics: Does the paper use grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure correctly?
o Presentation: Is the paper professional in appearance?
|References & APA format
|o Does the paper follow APA style, including format, citations, and references?
o Were at least 6 references used? Were they from peer-reviewed journals?
o Was the reference list complete and accurate?
o Were sources cited correctly within the text?