A lit review is the beginning of your research paper. Clustering your sources Subject headings What the sources have said
First, on a separate sheet of paper, list the last names of all your sources: Brandt: Wardle: Johnson: Smit:
Brandt: Test anxiety, stress, statistics Wardle: writing process, sponsors Johnson: technology and testing, writing worries Smit: benefits of FCAT, Benefits of standardized tests ***Think of these as search terms***
The anxieties of testing: Smit, Brandt The Benefits of FCAT: Wardle, Johns Technology and Writing Stress: Johnson, Smit
Subject headings Topic generalizations Mix of direct and indirect citations Making connections between sources
Choose one of your subject headings. Write a generalization about this heading. Example from a student writing about the influence of the SAT on college students’ performance: “The stress associated with taking the SAT can lead students to perform poorly.” Her subject heading was “Stress and SAT.” This topic generalization clearly introduces the main ideas that she will cover in this paragraph. It may help to use indirect citations to connect sources. Share.
Deborah Brandt asserts, “Literacy sponsors are positive or negative influences on a person’s literacy” (338).
Some sources suggest that literacy sponsors can have positive or negative influences on a person’s literacy (Brandt; Wardle; DeVoss).
Get more specific, using indirect citations to make connections between sources. ◦ Example: Many scholars discuss the benefits of word processing programs such as Microsoft Word (MacArthur; Lewis).
Summarize the main argument of one of your sources. Feel free to borrow from your annotated bib and precis. ◦ Example: More specifically, Lewis asserts that special keyboards, such as IntelliKeys, enable the user to program the keyboard to appear in any order that is desired (19). ◦ Expand with a direct quote or two (use your precis Share.
Now summarize another source, showing the connection between them. (Create a “conversation.”) ◦ Example: Lewis defines speech recognition software, or voice-input, as software that recognizes the voice of the user and records the words as text (19). According to MacArthur, dictation and speech recognition can be very beneficial to students with difficulty in basic writing skills but the limitations of speech recognition software are much greater than dictating to a human. Share.
Repeat the process for each of your sources you listed under your subject heading. Incorporate quotes where necessary or relevant. Remember to show the connections.
Now pull all the threads together: identify the areas of agreement and disagreement, and use them to support your argument. ◦ Example: Both MacArthur and Lewis indicate that word prediction software was created for individuals with physical disabilities, but MacArthur claims that the benefits of word prediction technology is promising for students with severe disabilities in spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
Intro ◦ Use what you have from annotated bib ◦ Refer to your subject headings ◦ Point vaguely to gaps Conclusion ◦ Sum everything up ◦ Identify gaps in more detail ◦ This will eventually be the transition into your own research