Students in this course will write a a substantive literature review on a topic related to psychology. That is, most of your research articles for this literature review should come from peer-reviewed psychology journals. It is also important that this literature review be unique. Thus, if you have written a similar style of paper for another class, you should not use the exact same topic here (this will also help you avoid the academic dishonest behavior turning in the same work for two different grades). The literature review must be at least 8 pages of text and include at least 10 references.
Literature reviews do more than summarize an area of research. They synthesize information and evaluate research in a particular area. Literature reviews are difficult and time consuming, but by the end of the semester you should have the tools you need to complete this endeavor. Below I provide additional information about these assignments.
Writing the literature review
- To begin the literature review, first chose a topic. Your topic should be current, well studied, and specific. Make sure it sufficiently narrow so that you can review the research on it thoroughly.
- Find scholarly research articles on your topic (these must come from primary, scholarly sources only; most of your sources should be empirical peer-reviewed journal articles). Evaluate each article your find in terms of its currency. Decide if the publication is outdated (is it an important “classic” study or is it just old?) and if the publication meets the need of your topic and paper. Is it relevant? Does the article provide new information about your topic
- Summarize and analyze each article. Paraphrase important content. Paraphrase the main claims and the main evidence used to support the claims. Take your time with each article (re-read it several times) to make sure you understand it well and can explain it in your own words.
- Synthesize the content. Once you fully understand all of your source material, organize your knowledge by topic or subtopic. Draw connections and correlations between the various research studies. Examine points of contradiction and hypothesize the reasons for these discrepancies. Be skeptical of the claims presented—does the evidence support each claim? Your paper should be organized by ideas, claims, or arguments.
- Write the review.
- The literature review format
Keep in mind
Your literature review should
- Place your study in the context of other work that has already been done in the field
- Inform the reader about the main theories in the area or field
- It may establish the need for the future research by identifying gaps in knowledge
Do’s and don’ts for your literature review
- Organize your paper before you begin writing
- Provide strong transitions between the discussion of one idea and another (e.g., transitional statements help the reader follow your line of thought and create “flow” throughout the paper [see Mitchell, Jolley, & O’Shea, 2013, pp. 18-19])
- Reference appropriately (please see Mitchell, Jolley, & O’Shea text)
- Write well and see someone in the success center or smart thinking if you need help
- Simply paraphrase an existing literature review
- Use more than one or two quotes in the entire paper
- Rely heavily on secondary sources (use primary articles published in peer reviewed scholarly journals)
- Include anecdotal information
- Discuss each article separately as if writing an abstract on each
My topic is
: A big controversial topic that I would like to discuss is wether there is a connection between two extensive sleep disorders insomnia (ID) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
I attached my 10 sources
Literature Review Students in this course will write a a substantive literature review on a topic related to psychology. That is, most of your research articles for this literature review should come
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