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Creswell(Text Book) provides direction on literature reviews for each of the three major approaches to research:
qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods. In drafting your review of the literature, you should
follow the steps outlined here (presented in greater detail in John W. Creswell. Research Design:
Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches.” iBooks. pp.149-35).
1. Begin by identifying key words, which is useful in locating materials in an academic library at
a college or university. These key words may emerge in identifying a topic or may result from
preliminary readings.
2. With these key words in mind, search the catalog for holdings (i.e., journals and books). Most
major libraries have computerized databases; you focus initially on journals and books related
to the topic. Also, begin to search the computerized databases that are typically reviewed by
social science researchers, such as ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center),
EBSCO, PsycINFO, Sociofile, the Social Science Citation Index, Google Scholar, ProQuest,
and others (these are reviewed later in some detail).
3. Initially, try to locate about 50 reports of research in articles or books related to research on
your topic. Set a priority on the search for journal articles and books because they are easy to
locate and obtain. Skim this initial group of articles or chapters, and duplicate those that are
central to your topic. Throughout this process, simply try to obtain a sense as to whether the
article or chapter will make a useful contribution to your understanding of the literature.
4. As you identify useful literature, begin designing a literature map (to be discussed more fully
later). This is a visual picture (or figure) of groupings of the literature on the topic that
illustrates how your particular study will contribute to the literature, positioning your study
within the larger body of research.
5. As you put together the literature map, also begin to draft summaries of the most relevant
articles. These summaries are combined into the final literature review that you write for your
proposal or research study. Include precise references to the literature using an appropriate
style guide, such as the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association
(American Pscyhological Association [APA], 2010) so that you have a complete reference to
use at the end of the proposal or study.
6. After summarizing the literature, assemble the literature review, structuring it thematically or
organizing it by important concepts. End the literature review with a summary of the major
themes and suggest how your particular study further adds to the literature and addresses a
gap in the themes. It is at this point as well that you could advance a critique of the past
literature and point out deficiencies in it and issues in its methods.
a) State the topic of interest from your research project proposal.
Topic: Impact of Information Technology in todays Business world
b) Practice using an online computer database to search for the literature on your topic. Conduct
several searches until you find an article that is as close as possible to your research topic. Locate 5-6
articles that you would select and abstract for your literature review.
b) Do a quick evaluation of 5-6 articles you wish to use for your literature review. (Note on your
selection: Relevance to your topic, up-to-date publication, credible source and mainly focus on
journal papers and books).
c) Develop a literature map of the studies on your topic. Include in the map the proposed study and
draw lines from the proposed study to branches of studies in the map so that a reader can easily see
how yours will extend existing literature.
d) Read each article and summarize what it says in your area of study.
e) Write a literature review of 500 words on your topic of interest.
f) Share with your peer the key words, results of your initial database search and the summary of your