illustrate why your research question is meaningful and theoretically significant.


The literature review is your opportunity to convince a larger academic audience that your own
research project will contribute something new to an existing body of research. Put another way,
your lit review reveals where you will contribute to existing theory. It carves a path for you as a
scholar into an existing academic conversation/debate. To do this, you must demonstrate how
your research question is derived from previous peer-reviewed work. You must also explicitly
identify gaps that your work will fill.

Furthermore, the process of conducting a literature review will help you assess how others before
you have studied your particular research question/changes in your dependent variable. It will
give you ideas on how to go about constructing and designing your own project… what to
embrace and what to avoid when it comes to research design.


You must produce a 1416-page literature review, based upon your dependent variable/research
question from Week Two and Week Four. The lit review must be grounded in prominent peer-
reviewed work on your particular dependent variable/research question. The paper must
illustrate why your research question is meaningful and theoretically significant. To do this, you
must provide reader with a strong sense of the state of the established literature in their chosen
sub-field and must identify areas where they can make a substantial contribution to existing
theory and scholarly discourse.

Start by briefly introducing your topic, providing your research question, and specifying your
dependent variable. This should all be accomplished on page one of your lit review. Then,
identify the peer-reviewed sources which represent the most prominent work done to date on
your particular question.

Describe key information from your reviewed sources in a manner that
clearly connects to your specific research problem and helps you conceptualize how you will
eventually study/tackle your problem. Steer away from describing this relevancy in general
terms. Instead, describe the specific contribution the author(s) makes to ongoing scholarly
conversations. Speaking of conversations, a good literature review will put scholars into
discussion with one another. Use these conversations to illuminate how the key findings,
research designs/methods and strengths/weaknesses of arguments and research approaches.
Finally, a good literature review will move seamlessly from this in-depth discussion of specific
contributions/gaps up to the macro level, where the reader is provided with a sense of key
advancements/setbacks and themes running throughout an entire body of literature. It takes
practice and skill to effortlessly move your reader from specific contributions to a broad
assessment of the state of an entire body of literature. But that is your goal.

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