apa literature review outline

apa literature review outline

The Importance of APA Literature Reviews

1. Introduction

The purpose of a literature review is to provide a written account of the state of the existing research on a specific topic. More often than not, a literature review is the initial task in the research process. It helps to identify gaps in knowledge within the existing research. It is instrumental in refining a research question, which in turn will help the researcher select more effective methods for data collection. Essentially, a literature review identifies, evaluates and synthesizes the relevant literature within a particular field of research. It is a clear and logical way to present information, and the finished product should be able to convey the existing state of knowledge in a field in a way that is approachable to the reader. Literature reviews provide an excellent method for organizing data from multiple sources. This is done by examining different types of sources and identifying relationships between the sources reviewed. An APA literature review therefore is a discussion of the existing state of knowledge on a particular topic and is considered to be a helpful academic tool.

2. Purpose of an APA Literature Review

Predictably, the statement regarding the purpose of an APA literature review would be rather simple: to provide the reader with a guide to a particular research topic. In that spirit, research done by D’Angelo and Freedman suggested that literature reviews describing a new research question (as is the case with this paper) retain their value far into the future, often being used as a starting point for students and researchers developing an understanding of a subject area. This supports the idea that literature reviews, at least in the realm of academic learning, are unending, with students and researchers alike continuing to build upon what others have done and modifying their efforts in light of what has been learned in the past. An APA article review also emphasizes the fact that this is a study which is reported in a written form. This is not just an annotated bibliography. This is an essay that integrates your summary and critique of the articles you have selected to support your research question. Another added benefit to an APA literature review is that it can bring to light certain research questions that may have been either deemed unworthy of pursuit by others or never thought of in the first place. Because new questions often lead to better and more relevant research, a literature review can be an invaluable tool in the progression of a research project. By providing a solid background on your research topic, a literature review can, in turn, provide a springboard for new ideas, hypotheses, and theories which may not have occurred to you in the past. For collaborative research, this is especially important to get all team members thinking about the same research questions.

3. Key Components of an APA Literature Review

A literature review will try to look at as much of this existing research as possible. It will examine published books, journal articles, newspaper articles, and other sources which are written by academics and researchers. Rather than discussing the points of view of the individual authors, this section will compare, contrast, and evaluate the views of different authors on the topic. Essentially, the essay will examine how well each author has answered their research question using the information from their sources. The literature review will also compare and contrast the research design, sample, and data analysis of the studies. This is done to show that there is a gap in the previous research, a question that has not been answered, or a method that could be repeated on a different sample to confirm the results. The review of the studies will point out flaws and good points in the research, argue that the authors’ idea is valid or invalid and so on. Basically, this section is like playing a game of ‘connect the dots.’ You are trying to find similarities or differences in the research or conclusions of the authors and decide how to use this information to answer your research question.

4. Steps to Conducting an Effective APA Literature Review

The first step in conducting a literature review is to choose a topic. It is always a good idea to begin the topic selection by consulting with your professor or instructor to see if it is within the parameters of the assignment. It is essential that the topic is one with which you can get adequate sources. You will need to focus on primary sources, or at the very least the most current secondary sources. A good literature review should also have some evaluation of the quality and validity of the research. You will need to narrow it down to a topic that you can cover adequately in a paper or thesis. So it is a good idea to have some general background knowledge of the topic. A topic with a limited range will also help avoid frustration and getting stuck. The next step is to search the literature for relevant papers and articles. This can be done using computerized databases that have journal articles. Aptly named, Summon and Google Scholar are good ways to begin a wide search for academic literature. There are also more subject-specific databases such as Psyclit for psychology or PubMed for medical and biological research. If you are a university student or affiliated with a university, it is best to use their libraries’ subscriptions to get full articles. If you are having trouble with a search, do not hesitate to ask a librarian for help – it is their job and they are generally underused. Remember that not everything is computerized and you might have to actually go into a library. This can be a good thing because you will probably find more sources than what you were looking for. A good literature review is a comprehensive review.

5. Conclusion

One of the most important abilities in academic writing is integrating and citing the prior work that you have actually finished a research on. In this scenario, there are 2 opportunities. They are by making the connection of what has been investigated narratively or arranging the conclusions by grouping the like topics together. The very first opportunity is speculative. This approach is typically taken by an amateur scientist. It is not like your work can not serve other individuals who are searching in the exact same subject. But, it is better when you can display your work in a clear connections taking one piece of concept to the others. This can be easily done by making a group of summary and ending of each of your point in the end of each points or if it is in a complex points you can make a table like seen in the example. Then, taking a piece of the previous discussion to compare it with the other study can also effective to build a tangible conclusion. It will be better again if you can divide each of your point with subheading based on the topic. At the end you can deliver a clear recommendations based on your prior discussion.

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