In this assignment you will look for five pieces of publicly available published material to summarize. Ideally, these published materials should be articles from social science journals. In some special cases, they may be articles in magazines, newspapers, or material from websites, but I will need to approve those. Locate several publications you think will give you information on the current scholarly understanding of or discussions on your topic; select the five strongest candidates. I recommend starting by reading the abstracts from at least 15 articles related to your topic, then narrowing your choice to the five that best fit your research angle. Please save the five articles on your computer and be ready to show them to your instructor upon request. Required elements: • Framework • Synopsis of each article and a summary of its contributions • Critique of previous research • Insight for how the previous studies will influence your own work • Reference list The concrete part of the framework is an introduction and conclusion in which you will define the research topic and give a broad overview of previous research (intro) and its conclusions and omissions (conclusion). Additionally, you must provide an intellectual framework that links the articles by exploring the relationships between them. For each article, explain the issue(s) addressed, research methods undertaken, and findings gained. You should also critique the research: Are there methodological flaws? What did it fail to explain? Remember that constructive criticism is an examination and an evaluation — you are not expected to tear these articles apart, but rather to approach them with an inquisitive spirit. Specifically, discuss the connections among these pieces of literature (see Lester, p. 194), identify new knowledge that you have gained, and explore how that new knowledge has informed your next step of research. Based on your review, you can identify lacks in the existing research that will point the way to what should be done next (your research). You should also discuss what will be the appropriate methods (observation, interview, experiment, or survey) to conduct a study of your own in order to fill that gap. You should decide on an organizing principle. A well-written literature review will not simply address each article in turn — 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 — but will provide logical links between them. For example, you might mention that the next synopsis contains a different type of information from the last, or elaborates on the information from the last, or approaches the topic from a different perspective. An excellent literature review will provide a coherent, ongoing discussion of the articles such that 4 is related to 1 and 2 as well as to 3 and 5.
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