Remember, your Literature Review should demonstrate your mastery of the literature:
CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE (IMPORTANT ELEMENTS *DRAFT*)
Scholarly research is always a leap from the known to the unknown. The literature review and conceptual framework are used to construct a platform of the known from which you jump. Constructed carefully, the literature review and conceptual framework can maximize the chances of your spanning the abyss and reaching something substantive when you land. Constructed carelessly, they can undermine your research.
The literature review should carefully examine prior research and thought relevant to key aspects of your anticipated research. It should be used to inform:
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- The problem to be addressed and its significance
- The conceptual framework (for DSP)
- The research questions, foreshadowed problems, or conjectures
- The research paradigm and the methodology
The subsections indicated below are of the process and components of a literature review and not necessarily subheadings of Chapter 2.
2-A. Introduction: Topic(s), Purposes, and Methods of the Literature Review:
A literature review usually begins with an indication of the topic(s) to be covered and the purposes of the review.
The methods of the review should be briefly described. Indicate the indices and other methods used to search for applicable literature, the terms searched with each, and the years searched (usually the last ten or twenty years, plus key literature from earlier years). A review should address each topic highly applicable to the problem. For problems that are not well researched, the literature review may also address other topics that are tangentially related and might help inform the study. If the literature on a topic is voluminous—it is not uncommon to find more than 100 studies—you should be selective, covering the literature most applicable to the focus of your proposed research, as indicated by the research questions, foreshadowed problems, or conjectures. Consult with your advisor before beginning the literature search to make sure you are covering the topics and years of research that he or she thinks are appropriate.
2-B. Description and Critique of Scholarly Literature:
Each major theoretical discourse conceptual discussion, and empirical study should be described and critiqued briefly. Both the strengths and weaknesses should be identified. For theoretical discourses, indicate the source of the theory, overlaps and disparities with other applicable theories, and whether and how well the theory has been empirically verified. For conceptual discussions, indicate the sources of the concepts, overlaps and disparities with other applicable concepts, and whether and how well the concepts have been empirically verified. For empirical studies (including qualitative ones) indicate the research questions, methodological strengths and weaknesses, results (both their magnitude as well as their statistical significance and extent of cross-verification), conclusions, and implications. It is important to note that a scholarly review of the literature should focus on primary sources such as refereed journal articles rather than secondary sources such as course textbooks.
Organizing the written review can be a challenge because the review has several simultaneous purposes. Often the best strategy is to organize the studies under major topics, theories, constructs research questions, or methodologies. When a given study addresses more than one organizational category, you might critique it under the first applicable category, and then briefly refer to it under each subsequent applicable category. Alternatively, in the subsequent organizational categories, you might extend the critique as appropriate for that category. When considerable literature falls within one organizational category, it might be organized within second level categories. Otherwise the description and critique of literature might be presented chronologically. Lesser literature sometimes can be described and critiqued jointly, for instance, by indicating, “Several other smaller studies found …… (Anderson, 1995; Baxter, 1992, Castro; 1999).”
You should avoid creating a biased review that only covers prior literature that supports your predispositions and disregards other literature. Similarly you should consistently critique the literature. Do not ignore weaknesses in studies supporting your predispositions and do not be hypercritical of studies that contradict your predispositions. Failure to conduct a fair-minded review is likely to compromise your research.
2-C. Inferences for Forthcoming Study:
Once you have described and critiqued the individual sources, you should analyze and synthesize across them to draw inferences applicable to your anticipated research. The inferences generally should be about:
- The problem to be addressed in your research and its significance,
- Possible research questions, foreshadowed problems, or conjectures,
- Possible theoretical or conceptual framework to be used
- Possible research paradigms and methodologies to be used.
The inferences might be stated at the end of each major topic of your review or after all the relevant topics have been discussed. The following questions may generate useful inferences: What does the literature state about the extent of the problem, its underlying causes, where it is most and least severe, and its consequences for theory, knowledge, practice, policy and/or research? How have results of empirical studies varied according to the questions/conjectures that have been addressed? What conceptual frameworks have been applied and with what insights? How might the conceptual frameworks be modified or synthesized to provide new insights to this problem? Which research paradigms and methods have yielded the strongest results and which the weakest results, and why?
2-D. Conceptual Framework for Forthcoming Study (May appear in chapter 3).
The problem and research questions, foreshadowed problems, or conjectures were explained above under Chapter 1, but the “conceptual framework” has not yet been explained. These are a theory or set of interrelated constructs that provide perspective or “lens” through which the research problem is viewed and through which the choices about the research will be made. They help narrow down and focus the research. Note that a theoretical or conceptual framework works like a telescope or microscope, and thus it both enhances what you can see and also restricts your breadth of vision. For that reason, a conceptual framework should be used judiciously to help inform your study rather than to dictate all aspects of it. Sometimes important breakthroughs occur when a researcher abandons the commonly-used conceptual framework and applies one never before used with a given problem.
SLP Assignment Expectations
- 30 40 pages in length
- 50+ references
- narrative and graphic Conceptual Framework
- Conforms to all structural, grammatical, and APA 7th conventions.
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