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Small-Scale Literature Review Assignment

A literature review is a descriptive summary of other people’s research on a topic that has previously been studied. The purpose of a literature review is to inform (not persuade and not argue) readers of the significant knowledge and ideas that have been established on a topic. Its purpose is to compare, contrast and/or connect findings that were identified when reviewing researchers’ work without commenting on it yourself. Oftentimes, literature reviews are written to ground a study in a particular context of what is already known about a subject in order to establish a jumping off point for new research questions. 

The purpose of this assignment is to allow you some practice synthesizing information from multiple texts by teaching you key tranisition phrases, introductory statements, and the use of paraphrase and summary.  This practice will help you research a topic so you can learn to (1) identify and formulate an inquiry question that defines what you’d like to learn, (2) systhesize and analyze information found in academic journal articles, and (3) summarize what is already known and what is currently debated. 

Assignment Description:

For this assignment you are asked to complete a small-scale literature review on an topic of your choice from within your intended major. You are asked to locate at least 3 academic journal articles on your topic and write a 3-4 page literature review (with full MLA citation and formatting) on the articles you’ve selected. This is not an annotated bibliography. You will be referencing all three articles throughout the review rather than dealing with them one at a time.

Steps to complete your small-scale literature review:

  1. Choose an educational topic from your field of study hat you are interested in learning more about.
  2. Formulate an inquiry question that specifically describes what would like to know about your educational topic.
  3. Go to the library to search for and locate journals that include your topic’s information.
  4. Visit the library either in person or via the library website and use resources to find articles, read the abstracts and skim the articles to determine if they correspond well to your topic AND inquiry question. Please make sure your articles offer differing perspectives. It does little good to use three articles that all say the same thing. 
  5. Select at least 3 journal articles and download or copy them for close reading. 
  6. Read your articles and begin to sort and classify them according to their findings.
  7. Organize your articles by sorting and classifying their findings in a meaningful way, always considering your original topic and inquiry question.
  8. Write an outline for your small-scale literature review. This will be due on Friday.
  9. Write your review for submission on Sunday.

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