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writing a  literature review:
The Research Topic

Identifying the topic

  • Draft a brief working title
  • Pose the topic as a brief question

Can the topic be researched?

  • Participants
  • Resources

Should the topic be researched?

  • Does it add to the literature?
  • Are scholars interested in the topic?
  • Researcher’s interests and goals

Design Techniques


  • Identify key words
  • Search catalog for journals and books
    • Initial focus on journals
    • Search databases such as EBSCO, PsycINFO, ProQuest
    • Initially try to find about 50 research articles related to the topic
      • Determine whether books or journals are available in your library
      • Interlibrary loan
      • Bookstores
    • Skim the initial group of articles and collect those central to your topic
    • Start designing a literature map (visual picture of groupings of literature on the topic)
    • Begin to draft summaries including precise references
    • Write the literature review
      • Structure thematically
      • Organize by important concepts
      • Close by summarizing major themes, suggesting how your study adds to the knowledge and addresses gaps

The Definition of Terms

  • Define terms that individuals outside the field of study may not understand
    • Define a term when it first appears
    • Write definitions at a specific operational or applied level
    • Use accepted language as found in the research literature to define terms


  • Identify your topic through a brief title or central research question
  • Use the literature to
    • Present similar studies
    • Relate the study to the literature
    • Provide a framework for comparison
  • The literature review serves a different purpose depending on whether a qualitative or quantitative methods approach
  • Search online databases of the literature using key terms
  • Define key terms, and possibly develop a definition of terms section for your proposal or include them within your literature review

Write a brief literature review of scholarly articles relevant to your topic. You should have a minimum of ten (10) cited resources in your literature review. In addition, two (2) or more of your cited resources should be from within the past two years in order to show what the current state of research is as it relates to your topic.

Be sure to review the Writing the Literature Reviewcontent item before getting started.

Submit this assignment no later than Sunday 11:59 PM EST/EDT

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