The Literature Review
This week, we will be expanding on the work we started in week two of this course. Rather than just analyzing resources, this week we will be blending our resources into a larger frame, drawing connections between each of the resources and to our project thesis. For a refresher on the final project criteria, see our preview.
A literature review has two specific goals:
- To demonstrate that you, the researcher, have done your due diligence in exploring the work other researchers have done in the area; and
- To ground the theory in the current research available.
You should think of your literature review as a way to tell a story about your research using sources as guideposts along the way. Think about your role in this as a moderator in a discussion between your sources, and your job is to keep them focused on your thesis (this is usually the first section of a research article, so you should use the literature reviews of your sources as a model for what we are doing here).
You will need a minimum of five (5) sources in your literature review (you will need a total of ten in your Final Project). Consider the following to help you gather these sources:
- Do a library search using Grantham’s EBSCOhost library database or from Google Scholar
- Use key words to search (try different variations)
- Only use scholarly books or peer-reviewed journal articles
- Choose sources from within the past 5 years (you can set your EBSCO search to only show articles within this range)
- Read titles to see what looks relevant (don’t waste your time reading things that don’t look like they will work for your project)
- Read the abstracts and only choose the most pertinent articles (once again, don’t waste your time—if the abstract doesn’t seem promising, move on to the nerxt article).
Please note: information from the Internet may not be used for this project unless the source is from an e-journal (a peer-reviewed journal that is published on the web). The organization’s website is an exception to this rule, but it can only count as one of your ten sources.
Create a literature review, incorporating each of your references (minimum of five), tying them to each other and to the thesis of your project in a single narrative. You should cite each source in the body of your literature review and in a references page at the end of your paper.
Your literature review should be arranged in the following way:
- Introduction: A concise definition of the topic and organization with which you are working. A clearly stated thesis of your project. A brief description about how this project might be interesting and/or important to your readers/adudience.
- Main Body: A discussion of each of your sources, including what they are claiming, how they relate to other sources you are using, and how they support your thesis (make sure you identify and cite each source as you use them). Each work should be summarized and evaluated for its premise, scope, and conclusion. In addition, address any inconsistencies, omissions, or errors, as well as accuracy, depth, and relevance you find compelling or think might be useful to your readers/audience. Use logical connections and transitions to connect sources.
- Conclusion: The conclusion summarizes the key findings of the review in general terms. You may want to revisit commonalities and differences between your sources, whether favorable or not. Make sure you tie your work throughout this review back to your thesis.
References: As well as accurate in-text citations, your literature review must contain complete and correct APA citations for every source in a references page at the end of your review.