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11 Writing Literature Reviews and Research Proposals Galvan, Jose L. 1999. Writing literature reviews: A guide for students of the social and behavioral

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  • 11 Writing Literature Reviews and Research Proposals Galvan, Jose L. 1999. Writing literature reviews: A guide for students of the social and behavioral sciences. Los Angeles, CA: Pyrczak Publishing.
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  • 22 Information Sources Primary (empirical) sources***** original; empirical; first published account details on methodology, findings, and discussion systematic observation (carefully planned) Secondary sources found in books, magazines, newspapers global descriptions of findings
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  • 33 3 Potential Problems with Empirical Research Sampling unrepresentativeness sampling bias Measurement flawed instrumentation (surveys, interviews, observation, experimentation) multiple measures -- consistent results? Problem identification researchers studying same problem might examine different specific (narrow) areas of the problem
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  • 44 Other Sources Theoretical articles theory built on existing empirical work pieces of theory can be tested empirically follow up on leads in bibliography Literature review articles new and fresh insights that advance knowledge resolve conflicts in articles that contradict each other identify new ways to interpret results lay out a path for future research/generate propositions Antecdotal Reports (do NOT use these)
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  • 55 Writing Process Planning defining a topic and selecting literature Organizing analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating review articles Drafting writing a first draft of the review Editing checking draft for completeness, cohesion, correctness Redrafting
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  • 66 Questions to Ask in Evaluating an Empirical Article Are there obvious sampling problems? Are there obvious measurement problems? Is the problem narrow enough? Too narrow? Are there any other flaws in the paper? Does the research make an important contribution to advancing knowledge?
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  • 77 Questions to Ask in Evaluating Review Articles Have the reviewers clearly identified the topic of review? Have the reviewers indicated its delimitations (time period, aspects of the problem, etc)? Have the reviewers written a cohesive essay that guides you through the lit from topic to topic? Have the reviewers interpreted the literature (as opposed to summarizing)? Did the reviewers make an important contribution?
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  • 88 Writing for Specific Purposes Term paper for class Plan carefully -- use a timeline. Dont wait til the last minute to start. Pace yourself. Stage 1: Prelim library search and selection of topic Stage 2: Reading list and prelim paper outline Stage 3: First draft of paper Stage 4: Revised final draft of paper Ask questions of your instructor -- understand expectatns Keep your topic narrow; choose a well-defined topic Use textbook subheadings or articles to help you choose Get feedback on drafts (if possible)
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  • 99 Writing for Specific Purposes Journal Article introduction to topic, statement of purpose of empirical research, and lit review establishes scientific context for study very straightforward, short, focused. Provide rationale and background for specific and often very narrow research projects should reflect current state of research; articles included should be the most recent
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  • 10 Identifying Literature Search an appropriate database can start with general topic better to start with more specific topic, but can narrow down a general topic after seeing list of articles Shorten list to a manageable size which articles pertain to your major field of study? reclassify articles in the list is the journal respected in your field?
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  • 11 Additional Steps to Get Started Write the first draft of your topic sentence name the area you will investigate, in general after examining more focused list of articles Pick on-line databases that are appropriate for your topic As you search databases for articles and narrow your search, redefine your topic more narrowly. Start with the most current and work backwards
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  • 12 Steps to Get Started Use most recent applicable article(s) as sources for more articles. Compare bibliographies to your previous list and make strategic decisions about which to include. Keep in mind: list should represent the extent of knowledge on the topic list should provide a proper context for your investigation Search for theoretical articles in databases and bibliographies of articles Search for review articles, proposals, meta-analyses Identify landmark or classic studies
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  • 13 Guidelines for Analyzing Literature Analyze chosen articles before you start writing 1. Scan articles to get an overview of each first few paragraphs, paragraph before Method, major and minor subheadings, hypotheses, purposes, scan text (but dont get caught in details), first para of Discussion keep an eye on big picture by pre-reading take notes on first page about overall purpose/findings 2. Based on #1, group articles by category by topic and subtopic, then chronologically
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  • 14 Guidelines for Analyzing Literature 3. Organize yourself before reading computer, pack of note cards for comments, self-adhesive flags to mark important places 4. Use a consistent format in notes begin reading and making notes of important points on cards start a system of note-taking and use system consistently what is notable about the article? Landmark/flaws/experimental/qualitative? Use several cards per article
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  • 15 Guidelines for Analyzing Literature 5. Note explicit definitions of key terms note differences between/among researchers 6. Note methodological strengths and weaknesses e.g., triangulation of methods, sample sizes, generalizability. does one article improve upon another bc of method? does innovative methodology seem appropriate? Is there enough evidence to support conclusions? critique groups of studies together, esp if similar flaws note patterns of weaknesses across studies
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  • 16 Guidelines for Analyzing Literature 7. Distinguish between assertion and evidence understand empirical findings from data collected v. authors opinion 8. Identify major trends or patterns in studies if conflicting results, try to explain them can make a generalization based on majority of articles or those with strong methodology. Describe these generalizations carefully. 9. Identify gaps in literature and discuss why
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  • 17 Guidelines for Analyzing Literature 10. Identify relationships among studies when write, discuss them together 11. Note how each article relates to your topic keep your specific topic in mind all the time and make sure your articles address it. If not, do not include 12. Evaluate your list for currency and coverage start with most recent 5 years and include others if necessary.
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  • 18 Guidelines for Analyzing Methodology 1. Qualitative or quantitative? (makes notes) Quantitative: results presented as stats and numbers explicitly stated hypotheses large (100-1500), random sample from particular population objectively scored instruments inferential statistics -- make inferences about pop from sample Qualitative: results presented as narrative general, nonspecific problem, with no rigid, specific purposes small, purposive (not random) sample measure with unstructured instruments (interviews) results in words with emphasis on understanding sample
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  • 19 2. Experimental or nonexperimental? Experimental: treatments administered to participants for purposes of study effects of treatments assessed almost all are quantitative Nonexperimental: participants traits measured without attempting to change them quantitative or qualitative do not use the term experiment to describe, use study, investigation, etc. Guidelines for Analyzing Methodology
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  • 20 3. Participants randomly assigned to conditions? Guarantees no bias in assignment. More weight given to true experiments (with RA). 4. Cause/effect relationships asserted in nonexperiments? 5. How were major variables measured? Reliability and validity; appropriateness of measures triangulation and strength of conclusions discrepancies in results and patterns in method Guidelines for Analyzing Methodology
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  • 21 6. Characteristics of participants/samples? Make notes on demographics. Could demographics have played a role in results? (no way you can say for sure, but might raise question 7. How large is difference?... not just significance statistically significant -- greater than chance, not necessarily big. 8. Major flaws? (do not dissect each article) Safe to assume that all empirical studies have them. Degrees of evidence Guidelines for Analyzing Methodology
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  • 22 Synthesizing Literature 1. Decide purpose and voice Purpose: term paper, dissertation/thesis, journal article? Voice: formal, de-emphasize self, avoid first person (usually) 2. Consider how to reassemble your notes NOT a series of annotations of research studies describe the forest (not the trees) from a unique perspective using the trees you found how do the pieces relate to each other?
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  • 23 Synthesizing Literature 3. Create a topic outline that traces your argument establish for the reader the line of argumentation (thesis) develop a traceable narrative that demonstrates the loa is worthwhile and justified (writer formed judgments

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