Literature Review

The major research project in this course is a literature review about a topic in your field of study. This topic may draw upon the one you explored in your Discipline Awareness. You have completed two preliminary steps to help you write this review: a brief Research Proposal that established the focus and purpose of your literature review, as well as potential audiences for it and an Exploratory Annotated Bibliography to identify a current “problem” and ongoing conversation about the topic. What is a Literature Review? A literature review is a synthesis of published information about a very specific topic in a field of study. The synthesis evaluates that information and discusses how it reflects a diversity of perspectives that address a particular “problem” or controversy about the topic. Quite often, literature reviews establish that there is a “gap” in the published information that proves there is a need for more research to better resolve the problem. Your literature review will discuss the published sources you selected about the topic, but it will not be just a summary of those sources; instead, you will organize your literature review by ideas rather than by sources, as you might in an annotated bibliography. Your discussion of these sources, to include how they are in a conversation about the same issue, demonstrates your perspective on the problem and why it is relevant. Additionally, a literature review differs from an argument paper or even the traditional “research paper” you may have written in other classes because it does not have the type of thesis that argues for a position. Instead, the thesis in a literature review argues for a particular scope or perspective that the sources you discuss reflect. Thus, your thesis and synthesis of the published information will enable you to contribute to the conversation about a topic in your field of study, a key learning outcome in ENGH 302. For the topic you chose for your Research Proposal assignment, complete the following: • Go through your Exploratory Annotated Bibliography again. • Based on information presented in the sources from your EAB (and others if needed), define a problem statement that, in your opinion, would be useful to your research. • Organize your sources by sorting and classifying their findings in a meaningful way, always considering your original topic and problem statement (we will practice with an “Organizing Your Data” chart in class). • Write a Review of the Literature, resulting in the formation of a Research Question that would offer the greatest potential for developing a solid theoretical framework, using four to six references. All of these can be from your Exploratory Annotated Bibliography, or you can use others in addition to those in your EAB. • Develop a Theoretical Framework (see below). • Generate a testable Hypothesis(es) based on the Theoretical Framework. Your report must contain the sections outlined below. APA formatting standards must be followed throughout. The Introduction, Research Question, and Hypothesis statement sections should be short and succinct. Most of the word count in your report will be in the Review of the Literature and Theoretical Framework sections. Introduction: In this section, give a clear and concise statement of the problem. Briefly indicate why it is a problem, why you selected it, and why it is important to solve the problem. Use references as necessary to support your arguments. Review of the Literature: This should be one of the longer sections in your report. It should summarize other work related to the problem you identified. It should identify important variables and document significant findings from earlier research. According to Sekaran and Bougie (2013), it should: …convince the reader that (1) the researcher is knowledgeable about the problem area and has done the preliminary homework that is necessary to conduct the research, and (2) a theoretical framework (in deductive research) will be structured on work already done and will add to the solid foundation of existing knowledge. (p. 55) Unlike the Annotated Bibliography, the Review of the Literature is not a listing of sources with a summary of the findings of each and a critique of the findings. Read through the example attached to the assignment in Blackboard. Research Question: This should be a brief section with a clear and concise statement of your question. It should be clear to the reader that your question is a logical outgrowth of previous research as summarized in your Review of the Literature. Theoretical Framework: This section applies to deductive research. It should be one of the longer sections in your report. The Review of the Literature provides a solid foundation for developing the Theoretical Framework, which expands on the relationship among the variables. A theoretical framework consists of concepts and, together with their definitions and reference to relevant scholarly literature, existing theory that is used for your particular study. The theoretical framework must demonstrate an understanding of theories and concepts that are relevant to the topic of your research paper and that relate to the broader areas of knowledge being considered. The theoretical framework is most often not something readily found within the literature. You must review course readings and pertinent research studies for theories and analytic models that are relevant to the research problem you are investigating. The selection of a theory should depend on its appropriateness, ease of application, and explanatory power. The theoretical framework strengthens the study in the following ways: 1. An explicit statement of theoretical assumptions permits the reader to evaluate them critically. 2. The theoretical framework connects the researcher to existing knowledge. Guided by a relevant theory, you are given a basis for your hypotheses and choice of research methods. 3. Articulating the theoretical assumptions of a research study forces you to address questions of why and how. It permits you to intellectually transition from simply describing a phenomenon you have observed to generalizing about various aspects of that phenomenon. 4. Having a theory helps you identify the limits to those generalizations. A theoretical framework specifies which key variables influence a phenomenon of interest and highlights the need to examine how those key variables might differ and under what circumstances. The Conceptual Framework. College of Education. Alabama State University; Corvellec, Hervé, ed. What is Theory?: Answers from the Social and Cultural Sciences. Stockholm: Copenhagen Business School Press, 2013; Asher, Herbert B. Theory-Building and Data Analysis in the Social Sciences. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 1984; Drafting an Argument. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University; Ravitch, Sharon M. and Matthew Riggan. Reason and Rigor: How Conceptual Frameworks Guide Research. Second edition. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE, 2017; Trochim, William M.K. Philosophy of Research. Research Methods Knowledge Base. 2006; Jarvis, Peter. The PractitionerResearcher. Developing Theory from Practice. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1999. Hypothesis/Hypotheses: This brief section should contain a clear and concise statement of your hypothesis or hypotheses. The hypotheses should be a logical outgrowth of the theoretical framework. References: Your report must contain a reference section that includes all sources in your paper. References must be in APA format. Inquiry-based Research Study: Literature Review Outline Your Review You may find it helpful to outline your paper before you begin to write it. An outline helps you see the logical connections (or lack thereof) among the parts of the paper. Following is a suggested outline with a simple example: Outline Your Review Introduction (setting up the discussion) o The problem is … [people are carrying onto airplanes more and more luggage, resulting in delays in boarding and continued problems for flight attendants and gate agents] o It’s important because … [the airline industry is vital to the economy; no one likes delays; customers must not abandon airline travel for other options] o Solving it would result in … [improved customer experience, resulting in better economic stability for the airlines] Review of the Literature (what has already been ‘said’ in this ‘conversation’) o Previous research in this area has shown … • Ideas that keep coming up in articles and other sources are … [the desire to carry on is driven by several factors: security of personal valuables, convenience, baggage charges, fear of lost luggage and wait time at arrival airport] • Pros and cons [how these sources support and/or contradict each other] • Solutions explored so far include … [size and number limits, baggagefees, improved tracking of luggage] o Summary of lit review findings (where we are now with this problem) • Researchers seem to keep trying to … [find solutions focused on limits to plane’s carry-on capacity and reducing fear of lost luggage Research Question (what new question/solution will be investigated) o What would happen if … [customer time were the focus of improvement, specifically, if promptness of delivery to carousel at arrival were improved? How important is it to customers that their baggage arrives quickly at the pickup point?] Theoretical Framework (how the question arises logically from the literature review) o The dependent variable(s) is/are … [delays in boarding, problems for flight attendants and gate agents, others….] o The independent variable(s) is/are … [amount of carry-on baggage] o Hypotheses (what testable speculations arise from the identified independent variables) o Customers who are confident that their bags will arrive at the carousel for pickup within 10 minutes of exiting the plane will be more likely to check baggage rather than carry it on. o Customers who value quick pickup of luggage upon arrival will be more likely to check baggage rather than carry it on. References (in APA format) We will peer review a first draft of this assignment. The purpose of the draft is to give you an opportunity to get feedback prior to writing your final version – the draft isn’t expected to be perfect. Should you have any questions, please contact me right away

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