Conducting a Preliminary Literature Review


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One of the early stages in developing a research project is to examine the available literature on your topic of interest and related topics. Discovering what others have produced and organizing this information into a coherent picture will allow you to place your own research interests into the larger context. Toward that end, you will engage in a literature search and ensuing Discussion.

This Discussion has two parts. First, you will create a literature map or outline; then, you will write a Literature Review pertaining to your research interests.

Begin by referring to the sample Literature Review on the CD that accompanies your course text, Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Be sure to note the ways in which the literature is used. Then, using the topic from your Problem Statement, use the Walden Library to search for articles related to your topic. Focus only on full-text scholarly or peer-reviewed articles or dissertations, and be sure to note the number of results or hits that you get. Finally, narrow or broaden your results so that you have approximately 15 viable sources.

Use these resources to create a literature map like that presented in your course text, Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches; you may also create a traditional outline. When thinking about the categories and themes for your map or outline, consider these questions:

What are the trends in the literature?

What aspects of the topic have been researched?

What aspects of the topic need to be researched further, according to the articles?

Based on the literature, what commonly held assumptions exist within the field?

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