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Literature Review Instructions100 PointsAssignment Overview:The purpose of this assignment is for students to demonstrate their ability to synthesize findings from a stream ofresearch on a specific topic and to evaluate the methodology used in the reviewed studies. Students will identify 10empirical research articles published recently on a narrow topic. The Literature Review consists of an introduction,synthesis of findings from scholarly sources, a discussion and evaluation of the sources (including disputes anddisagreements), and a conclusion.The purpose of a literature review is threefold:1. To summarize and assess the state of existing knowledge on your narrowed topic. What knowledge existsand is generally accepted with regard to your topic? Are there important differences or disagreementsamong scholars? Are there significant problems or limitations with any of the research studies? Whichresearch methods were employed in the various research studies, which were not, and with whatconsequences? What questions remain unanswered? What aspects or approaches seem relativelyunexplored?2. To develop a more nuanced understanding of your topic. Through the process of reviewing existingknowledge you will also develop a deep and more complex understanding of your topic. 3. To raise questionsfor further research. In other words, what is the gap? What are you left wondering? What questions oraspects of the issue do you find have been unanswered, underexplored or overlooked? How would ourunderstanding be improved by pursuing those questions or angles?*Note. After reading a literature review, you should be able to identify several potential research questions forfuture research. In published articles, you may notice that the purpose statement follows the literature review andshows the need for the current study.Required Elements: Each element should be included as a Level 1 (APA Style) header in the paper.I. Introduction (~3 paragraphs; 1-1.5 pages): The introduction begins with a hook statement that grabs thereader’s attention and introduces the research problem. (This is often done with the use of statistics toshow prevalence). The topic of interest is adequately explained to the reader. The introduction alsopresents an overview of the various sub topics and issues that scholarly researchers have studied in thistopic area. This section should include key definitions to help the reader understand the topic. Theintroduction should demonstrate why a review of the literature is necessary by showing a clear gap in theliterature.a. The introduction should contain references separate from the 10 articles reviewed in the synthesissection of the paper. The references in the introduction include information to introduce theproblem, demonstrate the impact of the problem, and show gaps in current research.b. Although commentaries, white papers, reviews (systematic, literature, or meta-analyses) are notacceptable for the synthesis section, they may be used in this section. All references used in thispaper must be included on the reference page.The introduction concludes with the purpose statement (Module 5). For example, “The purpose of thisliterature review is to investigate the effect of (independent variable) on (dependent variable).”II. Synthesis (about 3+ paragraphs; 1.5-2 pages): The synthesis section presents the findings from the 10empirical research articles you identified that addressed your narrow research topic. Focus the synthesis on thepurpose and findings of the articles being reviewed. When writing this section, be sure to include all in-textcitations for all 10 reviewed articles. The goal of this section is to fill the identified gap as stated in theintroduction. Students should use the synthesis process (Module 2) to write this section of the paper. a. Thesynthesis should be organized into sub-sections using Level 2 (APA) headings. Each sub-sectioncovers a specific topic to synthesize and organize the reviewed articles. Students should use theirmatrix/concept map (Module 5) to organize the synthesis section.b. Each paragraph should have a clear topic sentence. Do not simply summarize each source inseparate paragraphs. The paragraphs in your synthesis should focus on specific issues, notnecessarily on individual authors. For example, if you were studying obesity in rural children, oneparagraph might present what three scholars have reported regarding education programs inschools, even though one or more of those authors might show up again in another paragraph onhome-based programs. This paper may have subsections in the synthesis labeled “School-BasedPrograms” and “Home-Based Programs.”III. Discussion and Evaluation (about 2+ paragraphs; 1-1.5 pages): This section is your discussion andevaluation of the articles from your synthesis section and not your discussion of the issues themselves.Instead, you are interpreting and evaluating the knowledge presented in the summary section in order toraise questions for further research (gaps in knowledge). This section should focus primarily on themethodology of each article.a. Topics for this section may include discussions of the significance of various conclusions andarguments, the completeness of individual studies, the research methods used in reviewed studies,substantial areas of disagreement among the reviewed studies, debates over definitions of terms inthe reviewed studies, and/or the consistency of the results among the reviewed studies.b. As you present your evaluation, do so cautiously with thorough analysis and explanation.Challenging the results of a professional study with only one isolated observation or opinion willreveal your naiveté more than any real weakness in the study. Share your evaluation without usingthe first person (I, me, my, mine); doing so will shift the reader’s focus away from the subject andonto you, the writer. As you discuss and evaluate the knowledge and issues about your narrowedtopic, raise questions for further study. Refer directly to your reviewed studies by using in-textcitations. Do not introduce new references in this section.*Note. Although you may take issue with aspects of the research and findings in your sources, it is very rare for thediscussion to include a complete dismissal of any one source. If you read a source and find that it has nothing orlittle of value to offer on your topic, then do not include it in the literature review. Further, it is important todistinguish between evaluation for analytical purposes and evaluation for entertainment purposes. While this kindof essay is called a literature “review,” it is not a review in the sense of a movie review. You should not beconcerned with whether the material you have reviewed is interesting. The purpose, rather, is to demonstrate howconsidering various arguments and approaches improves our understanding and engages us in new questions forfuture exploration.IV. Conclusion: (1-2 paragraphs; 1 page): The conclusion summarizes the knowledge revealed through thesynthesis and the discussion and evaluation section while identifying areas for further research. Theconclusion section should address the following “big questions”:a. After reviewing the literature, what do we know?b. After reviewing the literature, what don’t we know (gaps in knowledge)?If you have personal experience or knowledge relevant to the topic, it may be included in the conclusion.*Note. If you are conducting research for reasons beyond this course, bring your conclusion to a close with anadditional purpose statement that summarizes the intent of your future study. Notify the instructor if this appliesto you by leaving a note in the assignment comment box. There should be an apparent connection between the newarea of inquiry and the summary of existing knowledge.Formatting:• Papers should be 5 – 6 pages (excluding the title page and reference page)• The synthesis should include 10 empirical studies published within the last 5 years.• Papers should be formatted using APA (7th ed.) formatting (AMA acceptable for Nutrition students). • Papersshould include in-text citations and a reference page for all sources used in the paper. • Information fromsources should be paraphrased. Papers should not include direct quotations. This will result in a reductionof points on the assignment.• Credible websites, commentaries, white papers, and reviews may be in the Introduction section tointroduce the topic but will not count as one of the 10 reviewed studies for the synthesis section. •Papers should be double-spaced in 12-point Times New Roman or Arial font with 1-inch margins. •Papers should include the following elements:o Title Page Include an informative, interesting, creative title that reflects your narrowed topico Running head included on all pages following the title page (APA style)o Introductiono Synthesis Include subsection headings to organize the synthesis.o Discussion/Evaluationo Conclusiono References• Include Level 1 headers for all components of the Required Elements section. Use Level 2 sub-headingsbased on your topic to guide the reader in the Synthesis section.Additional Considerations:• Audience: The audience for a literature review is a somewhat hypothetical body of fellow researchers. Theseare people interested in the same issues and who are usually working in a similar field. Thus, you areexpected to use vocabulary appropriate to your subject matter. For example, the term “attachment” has aspecific set of meanings and connotations within child development. If you choose to write about thissubject, then you are expected to familiarize yourself with that word and others and use them accurately inyour explanations and analysis. Note and lookup commonly used terms as you run across them in yourreading. Consider how they are used in context and with what connotations. Acquiring the vocabulary of thediscipline is an important part of being able to express yourself with clarity and precision. Showing that youare conversant with the vocabulary and concepts common to the discipline is also an important part ofestablishing your authority to analyze the contributions of others.• Style and Tone: In tone, consider that you are writing for a body of professionals. You should be reasonablyobjective, particularly in quantitative disciplines. Betraying a strong emotional investment may cast doubton your credibility. Thus, your tone and style should emphasize that you are interested in furtheringunderstanding rather than establishing that you are right or winning an argument. Moreover, the focus inthis paper is not on you; it is on the texts and topic you are analyzing and synthesizing. Therefore, do notuse the first person (I, me, my, mine). Nor should you find occasion to use the second person (you, your,you’re), for example, to address the reader directly as in, “Having considered the many facets of thisproblem, you may wonder how it can possibly be solved.” Such language is overly informal for this kind ofacademic writing and shifts the focus to the reader and away from the topic of your essay. A possiblerevision could be: “A consideration of the many facets of this problem clearly indicates that solving it willbe difficult.” Avoid the use of direct quotations. Direct quotations are rarely used in published studies.Summaries, as opposed to direct quotations, demonstrate your level of comprehension.• Organization: Each of your body paragraphs should have a topic sentence. Paragraphs in academic writing are(usually) between 1/3 – 3/4 of a page long. If shorter than that, you may not be adequately developing yourideas. If the ideas or information don’t deserve to be developed further, then you might consider combiningthe content of the short paragraph with another paragraph; in such a case, you would need to revise thetopic sentence so that it covers the combined materials. If a paragraph is much longer than 3/4 of a page,you risk losing the attention of your reader as well as losing focus in your paragraph itself. Finally, be sureto use headings and transition sentences that logically guide the reader.

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