Literature Review: Processing
Locating applicable peer-reviewed articles is certainly a necessary condition for a literature review (Shaw, 1995b); however, it is not a sufficient condition. The data contained in the sources identified must be processed into information that can serve as a foundation upon which new research can be built (Bem, 1995). Accomplishing this processing entails sophisticated cognitive activity. Although the methodology for evaluating the results of that cognitive activity has been explored rather thoroughly (Boote & Beile, 2005; Hart, 1999), the ways and means for actually accomplishing the necessary processing is less clearly understood (Wu, 2005). How can the new or novice researcher learn to effectively use the articles he or she locates to build the necessary foundation?
There is certainly no shortage of theories regarding human learning (Gagne, Briggs & Wagner, 1992; Jonassen, Tessmer, & Hannum, 1999). “Blooms Taxonomy” (“Taxonomy”) (Bloom, Engelhart, Furst, Hill, & Krathwohl, 1956) has been shown to both effectively describe the learning process and offer meaningful insight into promoting development within the cognitive domain (Andrews & Wynekoop, 2004; Manton, Turner, & English, 2004; Noble, 2004; Zahn, Rajkumar, & Zahn, 1996). Two concepts are integral to the Taxonomy: cognitive capability is a developmental process that can be tracked through a series of steps, and each step of cognitive development can be identified by a number of specific types of behaviors. In effect, the Taxonomy provides a set of sequential steps, each of which requires gradually more cognitively demanding activities that the researcher should do in developing the skill to transform the raw data of numerous literature sources into an effective literature review. The following sections provide a review of each of the Taxonomy steps, with emphasis on the sequential process that a given step is as the foundation for the followed...
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