You are to write a 1050 to 1750 word literature review (in addition to the title page and references page) on the articles you selected for Week 2, synthesizing the findings in the articles that you found on your topic. You may incorporate other articles or references to support your discussion, as needed. Use APA citation and reference guidelines.
What is a literature review?
A literature review is a synthesis and critique of the published research in a given area of research. Your focus is on the findings of the studies you are exploring – their methods, approach, results, and implications – rather than the broad topic overall. It should synthesize findings in specific areas. Thus, you should look for themes in the range of articles and write about them as you group common themes.
Synthesize the material you found. In other words, find connected themes in the different areas you cover. Occasionally you might discuss individual articles, but only if the article is very unique and no other article has similar findings. The synthesis should focus strictly on existing, published research.
What else should you include besides a synthesis of research?
Be sure to include in your review other potential areas that still need to be explored. What unanswered questions are there? What holes are in the research that you have not yet found answers to? What contradictions are in the research will you seek to explore?
Examples of Synthesized Findings for Literature Review:
College students were found to have a large number of conflicts with roommates (Darsey, 2003; Smith, 2001; Yarmouth, 2005). Researchers also found that roommate conflicts were most frequent during the first semester of college (Lotspiech, 2004; Nominskee, 2001; Zackarov, 2000). Morissey (2004) found a reduction of roommate conflicts continued as students progressed from freshman to seniors, with seniors having the fewest roommate conflicts. However, Ellensworth (2001) found no correlation with year in school and frequency of roommate conflict. The contradiction between Ellensworth’s and Morissey’s findings suggest that additional research is needed in this area.
Ellensworth’s (2001) research was strictly quantitative, lacking a full picture of the contexts or reasons for the specific conflicts. It asked people to mark the frequency of their conflicts and types of people with whom they typically disputed. Morissey (2004) conducted interviews that allowed participants to provide an explanation for the reasons for the conflicts, and the contexts (dorm roommates, apartment roommates, house roommates, etc.). However, she interviewed far fewer people than Ellensworth surveyed.
Combining Ellensworth’s surveys with Morissey’s interview questions and utilizing a research team to increase the number of interviews could provide more details about the conflicts and contexts, and allow us to further look into the question of year in school and conflict behavior.
DeSoto (2005) and Craig (2004) found that most students lack an understanding of the term “binge drinking.” This research finding suggests that earlier investigations that utilized the words “binge drinking,” as an identifier for students have limited use. It also suggests that researchers should be very careful when using terms to make sure that research participants fully understand the terms being used.
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