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  • Literature Review:
  • Literature Review: What to do
  • From U of Washington:
  • 1. choose an area, read the studies, organize the information according to theme
  • EX: Theme can be conflict or controversy in the area. First discuss the studies that support one side,
  • then discuss the studies that support the other side
  • Is drug addiction a choice?
  • Does divorce harm children?
  • Does ADHD exist?
  • Is pornography harmful?
  • Literature Review: What to do
  • 2 approaches:
  • 2. choose an organizing theme or point to make, then select studies to discuss
  • EX: The theme can be a particular problem/point and the effects of that on those involved.
  • Overweight and its psychological effect
  • How domestic violence between partners affects their children
  • Literature Review: What to do & WHY
  • 2 purposes:
  • 1. To thoroughly describe work done on a specific area of research
  • AND
  • 2. To evaluate this work
  • NOTE: 1. If you just describe past research without evaluating it, then you are merely summarizing information without digesting it.
  • 2. If you just evaluate recent theories without describing the work done to test those theories, then your arguments lack supporting evidence.
  • Literature Review: What to do
  • What to Evaluate:
  • Identify relations, contradictions, gaps, & inconsistencies in the literature.
  • Compare the assumptions, methods, analysis, & conclusions of each study you read.
  • Literature Review: How to begin
  • How to Develop a Review:
  • Requires about 7-12 articles and is 10-15 pages long.
  • Select the topic
  • Collect and read articles
  • Write the review
  • Literature Review: How to begin
  • Choose a current, well-studied, SPECIFIC topic:
  • Narrow your topic:
  • Hypnosis? Dreaming?
  • DON’T: pick broad topics (language production in early childhood) and present and article on different aspects of it (one on syntax, one on semantics) – this coverage will be too superficial
  • DO: choose narrower topics (production of passive constructions in children ages 4-6 years) and explore IN DEPTH the recent work done in this specific area
  • Literature Review: How to do it
  • Reading the Articles:
  • 1. Read easier articles first
  • 2. Scan the article to identify the
  • Research Question
  • Specific Hypothesis
  • The Findings
  • The Interpretation of the Findings
  • 3. Read again for depth
  • Important tips from the U of Toronto website:
  • (and here in a printer friendly PDF form)
  • Literature Review: How to organize
  • Writing the Review
  • 1. Introduction
  • General introduction of the research question: what it is and why it is worth examining
  • Narrow the research question to explain the studies discussed
  • Briefly outline the organization:
    • If there is a controversy, describe it and state that you will present first one side, then the other.
    • If three methodologies have been used to address your topic, describe them and then state that you will compare results from each method
  • Literature Review: How to organize
  • Writing the Review
  • 2. Body
  • Describe each study in detail
    • Provide the reader with strong "umbrella" sentences at beginnings of paragraphs, "signposts" throughout, and brief "so what" summary sentences at intermediate points in the review to aid in understanding comparisons and analyses
    • Use HEADINGS to help show the organization of your paper. Headings are useful only if they are specific. Vague article titles and headings are weaknesses in papers, but can be easily corrected.
  • Discuss implications of the studies:
    • Present your judgment of what the studies show, and where to go from here.
  • Literature Review: How to organize
  • Writing the Review
  • 3. Conclusion
  • Evaluate the current "state of the art" for your topic, pointing out major flaws or gaps in the research, inconsistencies in theory and findings, and areas or issues for future study.
  • Conclude by providing some insight into the relationship between the central topic of the literature review and a larger area of study such as a discipline, a scientific endeavor, or a profession. Or comment on the importance of the information presented.
  • Literature Review: How to
  • Procedure
  • 1. Introduction
  • Start with a research question, narrow it down, and finally state the specific lines of research you will discuss.
  • 2. Body
  • Describe each article, then compare them. Comparisons are essential; don’t simply describe each. Compare the assumptions, theories, hypotheses, variables, results, and interpretations.
  • Literature Review: How to
  • Procedure
  • 3. Conclusion
  • All studies have strengths and weakness. Find them for your comparisons and evaluate the work in your conclusion. State the strengths, weaknesses, and what needs to be done in the future.
  • Literature Review: How to
  • Tips
  • Leave time to revise your paper
  • Use specific language and concrete examples: avoid vague references such as “this” – “this illustrates” should be “this experiment illustrates”
  • Paraphrase instead of extensive quoting. BE SURE TO CITE your paraphrased material.
  • Literature Review: See a sample here
  • Title page: includes a running head for publication, title, and byline and affiliation.
  • Page numbers and running head: in the upper right-hand corner of each page, include a 1-2 word version of your title. Follow with five spaces and then the page number.
  • From The OWL at Purdue Website
  • Writing a Summary
  • The cause of autism has also been a matter of dispute. Its incidence is about one in a thousand, and it occurs throughout the world, its features remarkably consistent even in extremely different cultures. It is often not recognized in the first year of life, but tends to become obvious in the second or third year. Though Asperger regarded it as a biological defect of affective contact—innate, inborn, analogous to a physical or intellectual defect—Kanner tended to view it as a psychogenic disorder, a reflection of bad parenting, and most especially of a chillingly remote, often professional, "refrigerator mother." At this time, autism was often regarded as "defensive" in nature, or confused with childhood schizophrenia. A whole generation of parents—mothers, particularly—were made to feel guilty for the autism of their children. Excerpted from Oliver Sacks’ essay “An Anthropologist on Mars”
  • The following materials were prepared and written by Jerry Plotnick, Director, University College Writing Workshop, University of Toronto.
  • In “An Anthropologist on Mars,” Sacks notes that although there is little disagreement on the chief characteristics of autism, researches have differed considerably on its causes. As he points out, Asperger saw the condition as an innate defect in the child’s ability to connect with the external world, whereas Kanner regarded it as a consequence of harmful childrearing practices (247-48).

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