Writing a Literature Review: Some General Guidelines For Students
What Is a Literature Review?
A literature review is a survey of scholarly articles, books, or other sources that pertain to a specific topic, area of research, or theory. The literature review offers brief descriptions, summaries, and critical evaluations of each work, and does so in the form of a well organized essay. Scholars often write literature reviews to provide an overview of the most significant recent literature published on a topic. They also use literature reviews to trace the evolution of certain debates or intellectual problems within a field. Even if a literature review is not a formal part of a research project, students should conduct an informal one so that they know what kind of scholarly work has been done previously on the topic that they have selected.
A literature review is a specific type of academic essay that synthesizes and evaluates the relevant scholarship on a particular topic, usually one that is fairly narrow in scope. A literature review does not contain any new research, but rather is an overview and critique of work that already has been published. Forms of this kind of essay are used in almost every field across the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. These essays are like book reviews, but examine a whole group of scholarly journal articles or books rather than just one book. Writing a literature review often serves as a first step before embarking on a research project. Most large-scale research projects—like a doctoral dissertation—incorporate a literature review as a formal component. Overall, writing a literature review will help you obtain a better understanding of the police deviance, and also give you insight into some of the major concerns and debates within the criminal justice discipline. Typically, literature reviews are written about scholarly journal articles or books.
How Is a Literature Review Different from a Research Paper?
An academic research paper attempts to develop a new argument, and typically has a literature review as one of its parts. In a research paper, the author uses the literature review to show how his or her new insights build upon and depart from existing scholarship. A literature review by itself does not try to make a new argument based on original research, but rather summarizes, synthesizes, and critiques the arguments and ideas of others, and points to gaps in the current literature. Before writing a literature review, a student should look for a model from a relevant journal or ask the instructor to point to a good example.
Evaluating the Literature
After students have found a number of articles or books related to a topic, they will evaluate them to determine which ones seem to make the most important contributions to the scholarship on the topic. For undergraduate students, this step is often difficult since they are not experts and are just beginning to learn about major themes and debates within a field. Nonetheless, by asking some of the questions below, student writers can make a pretty well-educated assessment about whether or not an article contributes something significant to the relevant area of scholarship. In addition, evaluating articles with these questions will be helpful in figuring out how to organize the material later when composing the essay.
Questions to Ask about Individual Articles
· Does the article have a clear thesis statement? Is that thesis supported by a well-organized argument that uses convincing evidence?
· What strategies or methodologies does the author use in the article?
· Was the article published in a respected academic journal? (Undergraduates should ask their instructor to identify the leading journals in the field. Databases like JSTOR tend to carry only journals with good scholarly reputations.)
· Is the author someone who seems reliable? Might the author have some sort of agenda or ideological motivation that might affect the way the argument is presented? (A Google search can be useful.)
· How recently was the article published? In rapidly changing fields, research can become dated quickly, so it is generally preferable to use articles published within the past five years or so.
· What original contribution does the article make to the discussion about the topic?
Organizing a Literature Review
LITERATURE REVIEW- Students are expected to read and review historical and recent research on their problems when developing a literature review. A literature review is not a series of study summaries. Rather, key topics and themes emerging from the literature need to be identified and integrated into a discussion on these topics and themes.
Key questions that should be addressed through a critical literature review include:
1. What key issues and research questions are being addressed in the literature?
2. What theories guide specification of variable relationships?
3. What are the key findings from research studies? Are they consistent, or do they vary from study to study?
4. Do you find limitations with the methodological and analytic approaches?
5. Are there gaps in the literature, and, if so, what are these gaps?
A successful literature review should have following parts that break down in the following way:
Abstract – Brief summary of the contents of the literature review paper.
Writing the introduction – In the introduction, you should:
· Define or identify the general topic, issue, or area of concern, thus providing an appropriate context for reviewing the literature.
· Point out overall trends in what has been published about the topic; or conflicts in theory, methodology, evidence, and conclusions; or gaps in research and scholarship; or a single problem or new perspective of immediate interest.
· Establish the writer’s reason (point of view) for reviewing the literature; explain the criteria to be used in analyzing and comparing literature and the organization of the review (sequence); and, when necessary, state why certain literature is or is not included (scope).
Writing the body- In the body, you should:
· A critical assessment of the work done so far on this topic. o Each work should be critically summarized and evaluated for its premise, methodology, and conclusion. It is as important to address inconsistencies, omissions, and errors, as it is to identify accuracy, depth, and relevance. Use logical connections and transitions to connect sources.
· Provide evidence to support your position within the literature.
· Provide alternatives that may offer a logical solution to your position within the literature.
Writing the conclusion- In the conclusion, you should:
The conclusion summarizes the key findings of the review in general terms. Notable commonalities between works, whether favorable or not, may be included here.
Point out major methodological flaws or gaps in research, inconsistencies in theory and findings, and areas or issues pertinent to future study.
Conclude by providing some recommendations for further research in the area.
Writing the list of references – Include full citations for all of the items mentioned in the literature review. As well as accurate in-text citations, a literature review must contain complete and correct citations for every source.
Students should find at least 10 sources within the reference section of their paper. Research sources may include books, peer reviewed scholarly publications, government publications, and professional trade journals WIKIPEDIA IS NOT ALLOWED. Any online sources other than these do require the student to contact the instructor so the credibility of the website can be assessed. Include a detailed References section using APA format. Papers with incorrect APA format will be returned with no grade for revision.
Proposed Research Title: True or Falsified Evidence Within Police
Proposed Research Topic: The proposed research topic is intended to shed a light on the falsification of evidence by the police. In order to get a better understanding of the police subculture within policing in America. Does the attitude/training of police influence their judgement when handling evidence? Who are the primary targets of police misconduct with falsification of evidence? What are the types of methods used by police to falsify evidence?
Introduction: The aim of the literature review is to collect data that views the topic of falsification of evidence by police. The topic is important because it looks into the police subculture and how it influences how evidence can be mishandled. The topic is being reviewed because of its importance of shedding light and gathering of data. It shows how and why evidence is mishandled or falsified and how departments handle such situations. The scope of the related literature being investigated is that it helps to gather needed evidence. Describe the scope of the related literature being investigated. The intentional exclusions would be outcomes of the falsification of evidence. The literature review will be organized in a manner that helps to better understand the research topic. This will be achieved by the gathering of data that will be made available to the reader. The data will be able to help drew any conclusion between the research question and data.
Background: The background of the proposed research is to evaluate police deviance in the realm of police falsification of evidence through different methods. In order to see how the police subculture has influence this type of behavior and whether departments have policies in place to combat this issue. In summing up the literature review a thorough evaluation of police deviance will be conducted by researching key sources. These sources will help to support the proposed topic that the subculture of police falsification exists within police departments. For example, certain police agencies have issues with police misconduct that can negatively impact the outcome of a police investigation. In 2003 & 2004 a mother of 3 was abuse by a group of Chicago police officers who were a part of an elite tactical team (Futterman, Mather, and Miles, 2008). This type of behavior can be reflected on the subcult that is allowed in police departments and in elite units. There have been areas on research within this field, but there are still things that are missing that must be address and that is police accountability.
Study design: Data will be collected by review key sources and collecting key data from creditable sources. It will look at when incidents occurred and how they occurred within the police department. It believed that a case study will be implanted in order to achieve this study design.
Conclusion: In conclusion, it is believed that police subculture plays a large role in how police falsification of evidence is allowed within police departments. There is the need for more polices that hold officers accountable for their actions. In doing so it will help to address police misconduct given the evidences that has been found within the research.
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