Saturday, 5 August 2017

Week 19

Writing a Literature Review

When reading you need to critically evaluate things and ask yourself questions like:
  • Are there clearly stated research questions?
  • Does the article explain why the topic is important?
  • Is the research design and methodology described? Does it seem appropriate for the area of study?
  • If there are research subjects, is the sample fully explained (number, age, selection method, profile etc.)?
  • What is the data analysis like? Are the results clearly explained?
  • Are there any ethical issues that are raised / important?
  • What are the conclusions? Are they a reasonable reflection of the data analysis?
  • What are your overall impression of the article? Was it interesting? Useful? - helpful for how to critically review articles

While reading make sure you are looking for key themes while you synthesize the information

When writing start with the introduction: The introduction should inform your reader about the topic and purpose of your literature review. For your assessment you need to establish your purpose in the form of one or more research questions.

Then the main body: You should organise the main body of your literature review into subsections. Each subsection should focus on a different theme within the literature (they may also relate to any research sub questions you may have).

Then in the subsections: For each theme you need to discuss the key ideas, definitions and findings. You should highlight where there is agreement and commonality between different studies. You should also try to analyse any areas of disagreement and to identify any gaps within the literature.

Lastly the conclusion: which summarises the key ideas you have discussed. In your conclusion you could also briefly reference how the literature relates to and will help to inform your future research plan (the Teacher Inquiry project).

Try to avoid using the first person (‘I’ statements). For example, instead of writing ‘I think that’, turn it around and write in the third person, ‘the literature shows’ or ‘this suggests that’. This way you are still putting across your own interpretation of the literature without using the first person.

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