So far, you have developed an initial research question and discussed why this research question is worthy of our attention. The next step is to develop an outline and to find sources for the next part of your research proposal – the Literature Review.
A Literature Review is a summary of what we know and what we don’t know about a particular topic. You’ve probably written a literature view in the past and may not have known it. In many cases the traditional ‘research paper’ that you write for other classes is very similar to a literature review.
This assignment requires you to do two things. First, you will develop an outline for your literature review. Second, you will identify twenty (20) sources that (next week) will be used for your literature review. Let’s begin with the outline.
To do this pretend you have been asked to deliver a presentation on your topic. Ask yourself, what things would I say and how would I arrange them? For example, you might want to discuss how prevalent your topic is. When did it start? How frequently does it happen? What are the legal issues associated with your topic? The following attachments might help you with this process.
Brainstorming the Literature Review Outline
Bubble Sheet Outline Demonstration
Your outline should be about a half to three-quarters of a page. Now on to the bibliographies.
You will develop two bibliographies in this assignment. The first is called your Initial Bibliography. Go to the library (physically or electronically) or to some other search engine and look for sources (articles, books, etc.) that are on your topic. Read the abstracts (summaries) of to make sure they are relevant to your topic. When you find a relevant source list it in your Initial Bibliography. Find ten good sources.
Then, go back to the bibliographies of the sources you listed in your Initial Bibliography. Look for articles in these bibliographies (i.e. the sources used by the author(s) of the sources you listed in the Initial Bibliography) and identify additional sources that, based on their title, are likely relevant to your topic. List these in a separate bibliography called “Subsequent Bibliography”. If you find a repeated sources in another article, you may count it twice. Find ten good sources.
The attached handout may be useful to you in this process.
Planning and Managing the Literature Review Search