Guidelines for Writing the Three Major Parts of the Literature Review

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Guidelines for Writing the three major parts of the Literature Review (Introduction, Literature, and Discussion) follow.

Directions

Do not begin typing until you see the level heading - An Overview and Purpose in your template.

The Guidelines are organized by LECTURES and INSTRUCTIONS.

Lectures and related reading material are included to assist in developing each part of the Review.

Where there is to be writing, there are specific Instructions as what is to be included under each heading.

Instructions appear in a box.

Each instruction is numbered. Respond to ALL NUMBERED INSTRUCTIONS.

Introduction to the Literature

Insert Your Brief Topic before the Colon: An Overview and Purpose

Lecture
Note: This section is revised with each new submission of a draft.

The introductory section should describe the topic (problem area, guiding concept, theme or research question or problem) that is being reviewed. Aim for an “eye catching opening sentence”. Sometimes this is a dramatic expression of a number to catch the reader’s attention such as the prevalence of a disease, crime rate, school drop out rate, or sales volume. Be sure the topic is focused on the literature that will be reported. Briefly define the key concepts. Introduce these immediately. The topic should be sufficiently focused to permit an in-depth, substantial investigation, relevant to an area of advanced study/global leadership that guides a range of inquiry, results in an extensive search of scholarly literature, and generation of questions for further inquiry.

The purpose of a literature review is presented in the introduction. Bourner (1996) reports the following Purposes – of a literature review – (reasons for a review of the literature) before embarking on a research project. These reasons include: • to identify gaps in the literature

• to avoid reinventing the wheel (at the very least this will save time and it can stop you from making the same mistakes as others) • to carry on from where others have already reached (reviewing the field allows you to build on the platform of existing knowledge and ideas) • to identify other people working in the same fields (a researcher network is a valuable resource) • to increase your breadth of knowledge of your subject area • to identify seminal works in your area

• to provide the intellectual context for your own work, enabling you to position your project relative to other work • to identify opposing views
• to put your work into perspective
• to demonstrate that you can access previous work in an area • to identify information and ideas that may be relevant to your project • to identify methods that could be relevant to your project Bourner, T. (1996). The research process: Four steps to success in T. Greenfield (Ed.), Research methods: Guidance for postgraduates (pp. 7-11). London: Arnold. Retrieved 8-13-02 from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology RMIT University http://www.lib.rmit.edu.au/tutorials/literature/litrev.html

As you attempt to define concepts (variables) and their relationships to other variables, if applicable, identify causal (independent) variables and effects (dependent variables). You may also identify other variables that can be contextual, intervening, or mediating (see Creswell, pp. 94-95 or other texts).

After you introduce the topic area properly (instructions follow), you will develop a succinct one-sentence purpose of the review. Three examples of a concluding purpose statement in the overview are:

Example 1: The purpose of this review is to critically analyze the theoretical and empirical literature on web-based instruction as an instructional method in distance education, with an emphasis on effectiveness studies that focus on instructional effectiveness, student learning outcomes, retention, student perceptions of this method of course delivery, and...
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