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Literature Review: Development and Peer Review

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This rather informal document guides writers through the research and writing process for literature reviews. Content also includes a peer review, if instructors have made the literature review a …

This rather informal document guides writers through the research and writing process for literature reviews. Content also includes a peer review, if instructors have made the literature review a major assignment. Ideal review questions for any summary writing context.

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  • 1. What is a literature review? Summarizes sources, gives background, blah blah blah.... How does a literature review function? 1.  Enables you to establish trustworthiness and credibility with your audience. Effect:  Placing yourself in a pre­existing conversation about your interested topic.  However, others have already begun that conversation so you have the burden of figuring out how you are going to present your knowledge about your topic in such a way that others will be able to see why what you are doing is both relevant, significant/important. 2.  Demonstrates how you came to the conclusion that your research problem/question is worth investigating. Effect:  We usually can trace (or make a trace) of how we determined our research problems/questions are valid.  When you observe how are researchers TALKING ABOUT THE SUBJECT, you will begin to notice the ways in which other researchers use the literature review to “narrate” how their consultation of materials led them to some type of conclusion about the research problem/questions.  In fact, the way researchers talk about subjects is the exigence for a great deal of research.  In other words, any research problems/questions stem from issues with concepts and key terms.  Sometimes the terminology needs to be re­considered or updated to fit a more contemporary context or needs to be modified when considering historical contexts. So what gets included? 1.  What’s a brief definition of the subject and its importance? 2.  Who seems to get cited most often when researchers undertake this subject area?  Is there work you’ve consulted that isn’t being cited, but you feel should be included in the conversation? 3.  What trends exist when researchers investigate this area?  (what are the sub­topics?) ● What terminology is used?  Which arguments recur?  You can use your lit review as an opportunity to show your sensitivity to the way researchers in your field conceptualize your subject (likewise, you can use it to dispute the way researchers in your field are conceptualizing the subject). ● When you notice the prevalence of a critique, consider what’s legitimate about the critique.  Are there contexts that go overlooked. What Gaps: 1.  Legitimacy of key/terms concepts? 2.  Accuracy, effectiveness, or legitimacy of methodology?
  • 2. 3.  Accuracy, relevance, or importance of findings? 4.  Missing data in between acknowledged research? When organizing the lit review, keep track of sources through JSTOR or Google Scholar. Begin a document with your research problem! Before you actually select particular articles to read.  Be a surveyor, embody your best Sacajawea real­ness! 1.  When surveying the terrain what are the patterns and trends: ● Do I notice any key terms/concepts recurring? ● Do I notice that one work seems to be cited over the other? ● Do I notice certain conflicts?  Do I notice that these conflicts take on different types of conversation? ○ Participatory planning ○ New urbanism ○ Philanthropy and policy 2.  When articles stand out to you, select them.  Begin an annotated bibliography. a.  Here’s what this work is about:  type of source, main argument, evidence presented, etc. (summary) b.  Here’s why I think this work is important, significant, useful, need to be critiqued, etc. (interpretation) c.  Here’s where and how I plan to use this work in my actual research paper (utility) NUMBER OF SOURCES:  Matters or Doesn’t? You’ll have zero problem having multiple sources if you write about substantive issues pertinent to your research problem/question.  Nevertheless, its safe to say at least 12­15 is sufficient. 3.  Group the sources Give em’ some labels Transform the labels into topic sentences For example:  Several authors discuss the limitations of participatory planning in the 21st century, or in deindustrialized geographic areas.
  • 3. Intro/Literature Review Peer Review Initial Reactions. 1.  What’s your initial reaction to your partner’s literature review?  Write at least three questions you have for your partner after reviewing what they have written. 2.  Why is this person’s research project important?  Does the literature they have offered demonstrate why their approach to their research problem is relevant and interesting?  Offer the writer at least one suggestion for strengthening their presentation of their project. Organization. How often did you find yourself getting “lost” while you were reading your partner’s lit review? Comment on the extent to which the writer needs to include: Topic sentences Transitions Concluding sentences Evidence Active vs. passive sentence structure Word choice revision *feel free to mark these areas on their rough draft.
  • 4. Additional Suggestions. Offer the reader any other strategies that you feel will help them during the revision process. Strengths.  Note at least two strengths of the writer’s rough draft.

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