1. Ask yourself questions like these:<br />What is the specific thesis, problem, or research question that my literature review helps to define? <br />What type of literature review am I conducting? Am I looking at issues of theory? methodology? policy? quantitative research (e.g. on the effectiveness of a new procedure)? qualitative research (e.g., studies )? <br />What is the scope of my literature review? What types of publications am I using (e.g., journals, books, government documents, popular media)? What discipline am I working in (e.g., nursing psychology, sociology, medicine)? <br />How good was my information seeking? Has my search been wide enough to ensure I've found all the relevant material? Has it been narrow enough to exclude irrelevant material? Is the number of sources I've used appropriate for the length of my paper? <br />Have I critically analysed the literature I use? Do I follow through a set of concepts and questions, comparing items to each other in the ways they deal with them? Instead of just listing and summarizing items, do I assess them, discussing strengths and weaknesses? <br />Have I cited and discussed studies contrary to my perspective? <br />Will the reader find my literature review relevant, appropriate, and useful? <br />Ask yourself questions like these about each book or article you include:<br />Has the author formulated a problem/issue? <br />Is it clearly defined? Is its significance (scope, severity, relevance) clearly established? <br />Could the problem have been approached more effectively from another perspective? <br />What is the author's research orientation (e.g., interpretive, critical science, combination)? <br />What is the author's theoretical framework (e.g., psychological, developmental, feminist)? <br />What is the relationship between the theoretical and research perspectives? <br />Has the author evaluated the literature relevant to the problem/issue? Does the author include literature taking positions she or he does not agree with? <br />In a research study, how good are the basic components of the study design (e.g., population, intervention, outcome)? How accurate and valid are the measurements? Is the analysis of the data accurate and relevant to the research question? Are the conclusions validly based upon the data and analysis? <br />In material written for a popular readership, does the author use appeals to emotion, one-sided examples, or rhetorically-charged language and tone? Is there an objective basis to the reasoning, or is the author merely "
what he or she already believes? <br />How does the author structure the argument? Can you "
the flow of the argument to see whether or where it breaks down logically (e.g., in establishing cause-effect relationships)? <br />In what ways does this book or article contribute to our understanding of the problem under study, and in what ways is it useful for practice? What are the strengths and limitations? <br />How does this book or article relate to the specific thesis or question I am developing? <br />Objectives of the Literature Review: What should students strive for?When a student is performing his or her literature review, perusing all that information, having a specific objective(s) in mind is very important. Without a specific objective(s) in mind, students can end up spinning their wheels, not accomplishing much. The following are common objectives for a literature review; students should choose the objective(s) that best correspond with their particular research goals.1. Summarize Information – As stated above, the main objective of the literature review is to summarize previously released research information. While not all the objectives on this list apply to every literature review, this is one objective that every student should strive for when reviewing literature.2. Compare Findings and Results – The literature review allows students to compare the results from a wide variety of published research. The rates of similarity or discrepancy in research findings can go a long way in helping the student to understand how his or her research may unfold in the future.3. Compare Research Methods – The literature review also allows students to evaluate the different research methods used among those that have previously studied their topic of interest. Weighing the pros and cons of those research methods enables students to choose the method that best suits them.4. Identify Untapped Areas of Research – By thoroughly organizing and reviewing an extensive collection of research material, a student performing a literature review will be able to identify areas that have not been addressed, or addressed poorly, by the literature that is currently available. In addition, if a student does happen to discover that his or her research topic has been previously undertaken, this will allow the student to more easily choose a secondary topic.5. Identify Major Research Studies – Not all research studies are created equal. The literature review allows students to recognize which particular studies have been the most important to the furthering of knowledge in their particular research area.6. To Better Understand the Relevance of Your Upcoming Research – If the student's upcoming research has proven to be untapped, the literature review will allow the student to better understand where his or her findings will fit into the system of knowledge on that particular subject.This list is by no means exhaustive, and there are a multitude of other reasons and objectives for completing a literature review. However, these are the most common objectives for university students, and they can provide students with the basis for the effecting of a thorough literature review.<br />2008-2009YoungJoo JeongAnanda GunawardenaShare or Not to Share? The Benefits of the Use of a TabletPC Flash Card Application in an Educational Setting <br />Many people use flash cards or index cards to study for vocabulary quizzes, math tests, etc. However, using the physical flash cards is not the best method of studying as people have to maintain the cards and manually sort the cards according to their familiarity. It would be beneficial for students if they could make the flash cards on computers so that they never have to lose the cards and the program could quiz them. The purpose of this study is to extend the Tablet Flash Cards Application that I developed as part of the course 15-397 in fall of 2007 and an independent study in spring of 2008 to a collaborative online learning application. To test the effectiveness of this collaborative online learning application, I will also measure how it can help the eighth grade students at a local middle school in Pittsburgh to learn geometry better. To design and develop this online flash cards application, I will utilize HCI methods such as contextual inquiry, storyboarding, usability analysis, etc. <br />2008-2009Hend GedawyKhaled Harras/Bernadine DiasDynamic Path Planning and Traffic Signal Coordination for Emergency Vehicle Routing <br />Expedient movement of emergency vehicles to and from the scene of an accident can greatly improve the chance that lives will be saved. One way to shorten the vehicles travel time is through traffic signal preemption which gives emergency vehicles preference at intersections. Early approaches to traffic signal preemption depended on direct signal communication between the vehicle and the intersection. Later, GPS was used to more accurately locate the emergency vehicle. To reduce the emergency vehiclebprogramming framework. s travel time even more, path planning was combined with preemption to allow the vehicle to choose the anticipated least congested route. These previous approaches have two main limitations. First, considering only traffic lights along the emergency vehiclebprogramming framework. s route incorrectly assumes that congestion results only from those lights. Secondly, path planning approaches, while an improvement on traffic signal preemption alone, have adopted a static perspective to route planning, which ignores the possibility that the level of congestion can change during the emergency vehiclebprogramming framework. s journey. This research, therefore, explores two potential enhancements to further reduce emergency vehicle travel time. The first enhancement is a preemption plan that incorporates the traffic lights along the chosen path as well as the lights in the vicinity that might indirectly affect congestion along the chosen path. The second is dynamic path planning using the D*Lite algorithm to dynamically and optimally adjust the chosen path plan based on real-time updates of traffic conditions. The results of this thesis are validated by simulating relevant scenarios using the VISSIM microscopic traffic simulator.<br />SCS Undergraduate Thesis Topics<br />2006-2007StudentAdvisor(s)Thesis TopicStephanie RosenthalAnind DeyA Template-based Approach to Mobile Reminders<br />Busy parents often do not write down short term reminders for one-time events, like returning videos or bringing snacks to a soccer game, because it takes too much time compared to relying on their own memory. These types of events are the most often forgotten because people accumulate so many of these small reminders. Parents want a way to quickly make reminders to perform some task at a particular time, location or while performing an activity, while minimizing the cost of entering them. Our research focuses on using cell phones as location- and activity-aware devices to collect information about what people are doing. Then we use machine learning techniques to predict and auto-complete reminders. Although the events and locations may differ on a family to family basis, within a family, members have evolved a consistent system for reminding each other. We collect data from each family and then train the model for each individually. <br />SCS Undergraduate Thesis Topics<br />2006-2007StudentAdvisor(s)Thesis TopicSomchaya LiembetcharatDavid TouretzkyManipulation of Objects Using an AIBO<br />The Sony AIBO robot is built like a dog, having four limbs, a head and a tail. Typically, all four limbs are used in locomotion, while the head is used to look at and grasp objects. The general approach to the AIBO's grasping an object requires positioning the object between the forelimbs, then grasping it with the head. However, present techniques involve specialized routines written for specific object shapes and domains (e.g., ball manipulation in RoboSoccer), where a fixed set of key-frames or fixed motion sequences are developed, which the AIBO performs without feedback, much like acting out a pre-defined script. This approach is difficult to generalize, and thus the AIBO is unable to adapt to new situations. <br />This research focuses on general methods that will allow an AIBO to manipulate classes of objects, such as boxes, spheres, and cylinders. The manipulation techniques will be as general as possible, so as to allow the AIBO to act on a variety of objects. In particular, visual feedback will be used to guide the AIBO as it performs the desired action. This allows the AIBO to adapt to changing circumstances and subtle differences in the objects being manipulated.<br />SCS Undergraduate Thesis Topics<br />2006-2007StudentAdvisor(s)Thesis TopicAlex GrubbPaul RybskiAutonomous Discovery of Landmark Objects<br />The goal of this project is to develop a method by which an autonomous mobile robot can discover and learn representations and locations for immobile, landmark objects within an unknown environment. These landmark objects are large, rigid objects within the environment which remain in relatively fixed locations and can later be used for localization or navigation. Examples of such landmark objects include furniture and large decorations such as paintings. <br />This project attempts to bridge the gap between the problems of autonomous mapping and object recognition in mobile robots. Current mapping algorithms are able to robustly learn the physical structure of an environment and use it for localization, but are unable to learn about the higher level structure, such as which parts of the structure belong to individual objects. Additionally, existing object recognition methods work very well when given a good set of training images describing the objects to be recognized, but there are not many methods for easily obtaining such training sets. By having a mobile robot autonomously discover landmark objects we would be able to simultaneously learn about the higher level structure of the environment and obtain data which can be used by existing object recognition methods. This allows the robot to automatically learn about critical objects within the environment it has to work in, eliminating the requirement for any pre-programmed obj! ect recognition databases or environment maps. <br />