Synthesizing the Literature: A “Mini” Literature Review

Literature Reviews are “critical evaluations of material that has already been published” (APA, 2009, p. 10). This is not an opinion paper or essay; therefore, students are not to interject their own thoughts and ideas. Literature reviews help a researcher gain knowledge about a topic, as determined by researchers/experts in the specific field.

To complete the mini-literature review assignment, students must Search, Read, Evaluate, Organize, Synthesize, and Write based on one or two developed research question/s (refer to your completed assignments #2 and #3). Students are to write a 5-6 page paper based on the Problem/Purpose statements you previously completed. You will use the literature you obtained in the Annotated Bibliography to evaluate/synthesize (compare/contrast) the concepts and key ideas of your sources. This template has been provided to assist you with organizing and synthesizing key concepts and/or themes.

The body of your mini-literature review will begin with an introductory paragraph to your paper, followed by a brief overview of your topic. Define your problem as it exists in the field, provide a history/timeline of the problem, discuss who was behind the efforts to examine or improve the problem (experts in the field). Look at both sides of the problem. Then, consider a potential solution to the problem by considering the research-based best practices you have learned about in your review (i.e., interventions that were taken to improve the problem/issue). Take some time to discuss the intervention and what the experts in the field have to say as to the advantages/ disadvantages of its implementation. Provide a conclusion that looks at the overall purpose of the literature review.

Your paper will be evaluated using the assignment rubric. Be sure to pay additional attention to the following criteria:

Adhere to all APA format guidelines for the structure of the paper. Use the MAED Graduate Student Writing Template (located under the APA Resources course menu button in Blackboard).
Provide a minimum of ten (10) different scholarly sources (this will require an APA formatted References page). Cite multiple sources (synthesis) throughout every paragraph of the Mini Lit. Review. Whenever the ideas/concepts/beliefs/perspectives, etc. are not that of your own, you must cite the source where you retrieved the information. Paraphrase – quote sparingly, if at all. If you quote the exact words of an author, it implies the message of the quote could not be paraphrased without changing the meaning, and you must cite with a page number.
Compose a paper that is a paraphrased, synthesis of the literature and demonstrates analyses of articles – no personal opinions or beliefs are included.

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