Masterís Capstone Project Proposal

Suggested Steps for Completing a Literature Review

 

A literature review is a descriptive summary of research on a topic that has previously been studied. The purpose of a literature review is to inform readers of the significant knowledge and ideas that have been established on a topic. Its purpose is to compare, contrast and/or connect findings that were identified when reviewing researchers' work.

 

The purpose of this literature review is to establish an educational research context for your action research project by comprehensively identifying what is known about the topic (or question) that you are studying. Studentsí writing should provide a broad, critical analysis of literature using a coherent organizational structure.

 

The following is a list of suggested steps to complete a literature review:

 

1.      Choose an educational topic that you are interested in studying.

2.      Formulate an inquiry question(s) or topic that specifically describes what would like to know about your educational topic.

3.      Go to the library to search for and locate journals that include your topic's information (or access educational databases such as ERIC at http://www.eric.ed.gov)

4.      Find articles, read the abstracts and skim the articles to determine if they correspond well to your topic AND inquiry question.

5.      Begin by selecting at least 7 journal articles and photocopy them for your project.

6.      Read your articles and begin to sort and classify them according to their findings.

7.      Organize your articles by sorting and classifying their findings in a meaningful way, always considering your original topic and inquiry question.

8.      Once you have determined that the articles youíve found are ones that specifically pertain to your research topic (question), locate at least 8 more articles and photocopy them for your project.

9.      Read the new articles youíve found and sort and classify them according to their findings with the same sorting rules that you used for your initial set of articles.

10.  Write an outline for your literature review.

11.  Write your review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suggested Literature Review Outline

 

1.      Introduction

The introduction is used to establish the context of your review to the reader. To establish the context, it is important to do the following in this opening paragraph:

a.       Define the topic of your study and provide any background information that helps your reader to understand the topic.

b.      Explain your reason (perspective) for reviewing the literature on this topic.

c.       State your inquiry question for this review.

 

2.      Body

This section of your paper begins with an explanation of how you have organized your literature review and describes findings from articles that provide answers to your inquiry topic or question. Before you begin this section, be sure that you have sorted your articles into different themes based on the articles' findings (sometimes called results). After you sort your articles, it is important to give your sorted groups descriptive names. The names of the groupings will become your headings for each of the paragraphs that you write in the body of your review. To write the body of your literature review, it is important to include the following:

a.       Write an introduction paragraph for the body of your review. This

paragraph tells the reader specific information on how many articles you reviewed and how you sorted the articles into common themes based on the findings (results).

b.      This will be a paragraph that describes the first theme that you identified and compare, contrast and/or connect the articles you've selected.

c.       This will be a paragraph that describes the second theme that you identified and compare, contrast and/or connect the articles you've selected.

d.      This will be a paragraph that describes the third theme that you identified and compare, contrast and/or connect the articles you've selected.

 

3.      Summary

This is the last paragraph of your literature review. In this paragraph, it is important to summarize the main findings from the articles that you reviewed and to point out the information that you found particularly important to know that answered the inquiry topic or question that you established in the first paragraph of your review. Try to conclude your paper by connecting your inquiry question back to the context of the general topic of study.

 

4.      Appendix

This section should include a chart (format provided in class) that outlines all of the articles (studies) that you reviewed and pertinent information about each.

 

5.      References

These are the last pages of your review. The reference page serves as a listing of all references that you mentioned in your paper. Please use APA style when completing this list.

Literature Review Self-Evaluation Chart

 

The following chart can be used to self-evaluate you literature review. Be sure that your writing falls in the targeted performance category for content, mechanics and organizational structure:

 

 

Target

Acceptable

Unacceptable

Content

The inquiry topic/question was well established in the broader context of an educational topic.

The inquiry topic/question was established in the context of an educational topic.

The inquiry topic/question was not established in the context of an educational topic.

At least fifteen articles were selected and each specifically related to the initial inquiry topic or question(s).

At least fifteen articles were selected and each related to the initial inquiry question.

At least fifteen articles were selected; some minimally related to the inquiry question.

The findings/results of articles were thoughtfully compared, contrasted and/or connected to each other.

 

The findings of articles were compared, contrasted and/or connected to each other.

The findings of articles were mentioned with little and or no comparison or connection to each other.

 

The final paragraph(s) of the review summarized the knowledge found from this review and related the knowledge gain to the inquiry topic/question(s).

The final paragraph(s) of the review summarized the knowledge found from this review.

The final paragraph(s) of the review did not summarize the knowledge found from this review.

 

The references were cited using APA style with no errors.

The references were cited using APA style with 1-2 minimal errors.

The references were cited with little regard to APA style.

Organization

The review was organized using subheadings. The review was suitably organized considering the contents of the selected articles.†††††††††††††

The review was suitably organized considering the contents of the selected articles.

The review was minimally organized and writing was difficult to follow throughout.

 

Mechanics

There were no grammatical, spelling and/or punctuation errors and transitional phrases were used to guide the reader throughout the review.

There was an occasional grammatical, spelling and/or punctuation error that did not distract the reader.

There were many grammatical, spelling and/or punctuation errors that distracted the reader from the content of the writing.