First, let’s make the distinction between a literature review and a research project. The main focus of an academic research paper is to develop a new argument, and the research paper will contain a literature review as one of its parts. Hence, a research paper uses a literature review as foundational support for a new insight that you plan on contributing. The focus of a literature review, however, is to summarize and synthesize the arguments and ideas of others without adding new contributions.
Step 1: View the following video:
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Step 2: Choose a Topic in Psychology
The topic should at least be:
- interesting to you
- an important aspect in the field of psychology
- a well-defined issue (otherwise you could potentially include thousands of publications, which would make the review unhelpful).
Step 3: Locate a minimum of 2 scholarly research articles on your topic. No Wikipedia. Scholarly research will come from academic journals. These articles can be found online by conducting a search (be sure to use scholarly article in the subject line with your topic) or use library resources such as NCLive database.
Ste 4: Take Notes While Reading
If you read the papers first, and only afterwards start writing the review, you will need a very good memory to remember who wrote what, and what your impressions and associations were while reading each single paper. My advice is, while reading, to start writing down interesting pieces of information, insights about how to organize the review, and thoughts on what to write. This way, by the time you have read the literature you selected, you will already have a rough draft of the review.
Step 5: Write Your Review
Paper must be in APA format, include internal citations, include a references section, double spaced, 12 point font Times New Roman, have 1’ margins, and a minimum of one and a half pages of content.
Note: Submissions should be written in third person (do not use first person such as “I” , “we”, “me”, “you”, etc.).
First Paragraph Introduction Paragraph:
Brief history of the topic. It is helpful to your readers to understand the context of the topic.
Second and Third Paragraph is the Review:
You need to summarize what existing literature has to say about your topic and the existing solutions: What has been tried, what has worked, what has not worked, why. This section should flow from past to present. Be sure to present all sides whether or not they agree with your hypothesis.
A good review does not just summarize the literature, but discusses it critically, identifies methodological problems, and points out research gap. After having read a review of the literature, a reader should have a rough idea of:
- the major achievements in the reviewed field,
- the main areas of debate, and
- the outstanding research questions.
Final Paragraph is the Conclusion
Wrap up your topic. What can be learned from the articles? What should be studied in the future regarding your topic.