Your draft Literature Review section (Scaffold Step #3) is not due until the end of Module 4, but the Literature Review Matrix worksheet in your webtext will get you started on your search for articles. Remember, you must have an approved Research Proposal to move forward.
Use the full instructions for the Literature Review paper (below) in conjunction with the Literature Review Resources file as you discover and analyze resources to put in the matrix. The matrix will help you keep track of different arguments and how they relate. It is also useful in discovering themes, trends, and opportunities for further research. We are requiring you to submit your matrix in this module so your instructor can monitor your progress. Failure to submit the matrix will result in an automatic 5-point deduction from your Literature Review grade.
The literature review serves as the foundation for your final research paper. A well-written literature review is broad in scope and illustrates the extent to which you understand the current research related to your topic. Toward this end, you’ll need to dig through the databases in the college library to find peer-reviewed articles and research studies published in academic journals. If you need assistance searching the academic databases, contact an Excelsior librarian. To achieve the broad scope necessary, include 9-15 scholarly (peer reviewed) sources related to your field of study. Do not rely on non-scholarly periodicals, websites, dictionaries, encyclopedias, research starter guides, or similar sources. If you need help understanding the difference between scholarly and popular articles, see the video Scholarly vs. Popular: What's the difference? (Links to an external site.) More information about peer reviewed articles can be found here: What is a peer reviewed article? (Links to an external site.) [PDF file size, 306 KB]
Literature reviews do not advocate for or against a particular position, and do not reflect personal opinions, beliefs, or values. Instead, you will need to think critically and draw upon a broad collection of relevant academic studies and articles so you can recognize diverse arguments and themes as you analyze and synthesize findings from current scholarly research, theory, and practice. By “current” we mean research studies published since 2000. You may choose to use a few select older studies (<10% of all sources) to illustrate how researchers’ understanding of the issue has evolved through time. You must, however, draw explicit connections between historical studies and contemporary theory and practice.
As you’re reading, you’ll notice that the literature reviews included in research studies generally conclude by identifying a “gap” in the literature—that is, identifying something specific that hasn’t yet been fully explored. Those studies then seek to examine the “gap” issue and thus contribute new research to the body of knowledge in the field of study. Because of the compressed nature of this capstone, your literature review will stop short of identifying gaps and opportunities. That would require many more weeks of research! Instead, you will conclude your literature review with a section summarizing, in your own words, the most prominent research and findings related to your topic. You must support your summation by drawing upon well-reasoned evidence from your literature review with appropriate citation and explaining how these findings contribute to the literature and collective knowledge in the field of study. Please do notinclude any discussion of the methodologies used in the studies.
Depending on the number of scholarly sources used, your literature review should be approximately 2,000-2,500 words, and should not exceed 3,000 words. (Word counts exclude title pages, headers, and reference list.)
A well-structured literature review cannot be written in one or two attempts; be prepared to develop multiple drafts. Review, reorganize, revise, and rewrite until you’ve demonstrated the level of scholarship expected of a degree-seeking candidate.
Your Literature Review Matrix must be submitted by Sunday at 11:59 PM. Be sure it includes:
- At least 9-15 scholarly sources
- Current sources (10% can be older, but nothing earlier than 2000)
You must complete matrix entries in the webtext for 9 sources in order to download the Word document for submission to the Assignment dropbox for M3A3. Additional entries can be made once you have saved the Word document. Remember to add your name and a statement of your topic and research question at the head of the document.