Literature Review Assignment The purpose of a literature review is to answer a research question using the best available research from the applicable fields. The answer to your research question is your thesis. If the research is conclusive on your question, then your thesis is a direct and succinct statement of fact. If the answer is inconclusive, then it is a summary of what can and cannot be answered using the research. With this in mind, here is a structure you might find useful. Introduction Begin your paper by introducing your research question. If you can, try and introduce the question without directly stating the question. (1-2 paragraphs) Then, introduce your thesis and give an overview of how this answer emerged. The thesis should be a concise answer to your research question. The overview should be the types of evidence, not the evidence itself, which proves your thesis. (1 paragraph) Background Some papers will require some background. Ask yourself, does the reader need to know anything before you begin answering the question? Are there any parts of the research questions that need to be defined? Is there a history that needs to be understood first? If you have a background section, make sure to keep it short. (1.5 pages at most) Review of the Literature This section is where you present the research that answers your research question. It is how you prove your thesis. In doing so, here are some guidelines to follow: Organize paragraphs topically and not by article. Write a paragraph using multiple articles to prove a point as opposed to writing a paragraph about an article that proves multiple points. Some of these paragraphs might be about a point that is not provable using the literature. DO NOT QUOTE unless the EXACT wording is necessary. Cite everything that is not your own. Do not cite your analysis of the data. This is yours but should be very limited in this section. Point out any limitations of your information, but do not comment extensively on these limitations. This is not about your opinion. It is ONLY the facts. This section should be at least 5 pages Discussion In this section, discuss the extent to which you can use the information provided earlier to answer your research question. Discuss the quality, applicability, and accuracy of the information in the literature review. Provide an explanation for how these issues may impact the data provided. You are putting the data into the context of your question and the background provided. (At least 1 page) Here you should not need to cite extensively. It is your analysis of the information. This section is the answer to your question. Conclusion In the conclusion you need to demonstrate the ways the answer to your question is usable. If your question cannot be answered or your thesis proven, tell the reader what is standing in the way. Introduce a study design that would prove your thesis. If you can prove your thesis and answer your question, tell the reader the next step. How should this answer be used? What recommendations can you provide based off your thesis? Again, you should not need to cite extensively in this section. This is your application of your answer/thesis.
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