Write a 4–5-page literature review that synthesizes the sources you found related to your research question.
Literature reviews are a critical component of scholarly research. Writing a literature review in your field is one of the most helpful things you will learn to do as a graduate learner. Every time you write a literature review, you gather, gain, and synthesize ideas from within your field. By doing so, you add to the depth of your knowledge.
For this assignment, write a literature review on a topic of professional interest to you. This is an opportunity for you to explore research of interest to you and develop a deeper understanding of an issue. Review the following resources to gain an understanding of what literature reviews are and how to write them. The following resources will help you get started with your Literature Review and provide you with the tools to for completing the assignment:
Choosing a research topic is not a trivial matter. While a great many topics in psychology may be of interest, when you put forth the time and effort to research and write on a topic, it is best to focus on one that will help you learn more about your specialization area and one in which you have a professional interest.
Complete the following steps to select a topic relevant to your area of specialization in psychology:
Once you have chosen a topic for your Literature Review, your next step is to formulate a single clear, concise, and specific research question related to the topic. The question should not be so narrow that it is difficult to research, nor too broad or multifaceted that your research task seems endless.
Use the four Ws—who, what, where, and why—to think about how to define and narrow your area of inquiry:
As an example, if your topic is adolescent depression, your research question might be: "What biological factors are associated with adolescent depression?" Try to state your research question in a single sentence that you will answer in your research and writing.
As you delve into research and literature related to your interests, the Capella University Library is an invaluable tool for locating high-quality research in psychology. As you learned in the University Orientation Seminar (UOS), the library pays for more than 70,000 online journals, 190,000 e-books, and 1.7 million dissertations, selected specifically for Capella learners. For instance, you have access to the PsycINFO database, published by the APA. This database includes over 2.6 million records, 98 percent of which are peer-reviewed content, and many are full-text versions of articles.
Take some time to explore the Capella University Library. One helpful introduction is Tour the Library. If you have not already done so in your orientation, take a moment to view this guided tour. It will familiarize you with the Capella library and how to use it for your coursework. Specific to psychology, the Psychology Library Research Guide covers the top psychology resources.
Learning how to find credible information and apply it to a problem is a critical skill used in nearly all areas of life, but such skills are particularly essential for your professional and academic development. This assignment will require you to find scholarly articles on a topic of professional interest to you.
In your Literature Review, you are required to find at least three scholarly articles related to your research topic from the Capella University Library. Now that you have defined your topic and research question, you are ready to delve into scholarly resources. Spend some time determining your keywords and searching the databases for relevant, scholarly articles you can use for your assignment. An efficient strategy for locating high-quality research is to focus on peer-reviewed sources.
Your first step to finding your articles is to determine the keywords you will use to conduct your search. Select appropriate search terms, or keywords, to use to find articles.
Next, you need to determine the Capella library databases you should use to make your search efficient. Remember, your goal is to find 3–4 peer-reviewed articles in the Capella library related to your topic and research question.
Hopefully, you will find a number of articles related to your research question. When selecting the articles you will use in your Literature Review, you need to be able to evaluate the credibility of the articles and journals you found in your search. The Evaluate Sources section of the PSY5002 & PSY5005 Research Guide provides criteria to help you choose 3–4 credible resources.
At a basic level, each chosen article should meet most of the following criteria.
In addition, you can also use the following guidelines to evaluate the merit of the peer-reviewed scholarly articles you have collected:
Begin by documenting the most important elements of your selected sources. Answer the following questions for at least three of the best articles you have selected:
The Selecting and Using Sources activity will help you learn how to evaluate sources, save time in your research process, and increase the effectiveness of your writing.
Your next task is to integrate your research into a cohesive review of literature in response to your initial research question. Compare the research articles you have chosen. Identify at least three key themes, or focuses of inquiry, that are relevant to your research question and present in each article. These themes may be based on:
The themes you identify should be based on content, not research methods or how the study was conducted.
Refer to the following guidance for synthesizing and developing themes:
Synthesis is a critical thinking skill that can be challenging to master. Read through the following example to better understand how to reach synthesis in your paper:
The following resources will help you to further improve your writing skills and prepare you for success on the Literature Review assignment:
Remember that the Capella Writing Center has many resources that can help you on specific areas of your writing.
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