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GESL 580 Action Research: The Literature Review Paper

What is a Literature Review?

A thorough and comprehensive examination of the research and/or theory relevant to a topic. A literature review analyzes and integrates scholarly research and theory in an organized, prose fashion.

Purpose of a Literature Review

As a means of disseminating information to scholars in a particular discipline the literature review has four purposes:

  • to describe work done on a specific area of research 
  • to evaluate this work
  • to identify areas of controversy in the literature
  • to formulate questions that need to be addressed further

How to Read and Understand a Scholarly Article.

 

Literature Review Worksheet

This worksheet can be used to organize your research articles or book chapters

Structure of a Literature Review

A literature review has three main parts:

The Introduction

  • Define the problem or state the thesis.

  • Identify trends in what has been published on the topic.  Identify conflicts, methodology, evidence, gaps in research and new perspectives on the topic.

  • State the reason for reviewing the literature; explain how you will analyze and compare the articles; explain why certain articles are or are not included.

The Body

  • Describe the articles or documents in detail.

  • Group articles together according to types (such as case studies, reviews, empirical studies), the authors' conclusions, or the articles' purposes. 

  • Compare and evaluate the articles or documents.

The Conclusion

  • Summarize the major contributions of the articles or documents to the topic. 

  • Evaluate the current state of the research for the topic.  Explain inconsistencies, gaps in research, and point out issues that need to be studied further. 

  • Provide insight into the relationship between the topic under review and the larger discipline of which it is a part.  Provide implications of the studies or documents discussed for the profession or discipline at large.    

Creating an Academic Poster

Web Resources

The Writing Center

The Writing Center in Rooymans Hall is available to assist with every phase of the writing process. Schedule an appointment online, sign up at the Writing Center, or contact them at 610-902-8573 or writingcenter@cabrini.edu.