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Summary/Response Essay

Psychology Final Assignment (50%)

A literature review is a discussion of the published work on a topic by scholars and researchers.  Often, it is part of the introduction to an essay, research report, or a thesis.  One of the learning goals for this class is to give you the confidence and clarity to write a stand-alone literature review.  The purpose of our literature review will be twofold: to summarize and respond to a body of work on the topic AND, to raise a compelling and significant question that you will hypothetically research; thus, this literature review will double as a hypothetical research proposal.

In writing the literature review, your purpose is to convey what knowledge and ideas have been established on a topic, what the strengths of this prior work are as well where the weaknesses or gaps emerge.  The literature review must be defined by a “guiding concept” (e.g. your research objective, the problem or issue that you are discussing, the question you are raising). It is not just a descriptive list of the material or a set of summaries.

Your literature review must:

  • Be organized around and related directly to the research question you are developing.
  • Synthesize literature examined into a summary of what is and is not known.
  • Identify areas of controversy in the literature.
  • Formulate the question (with related sub-questions) that needs further research.

An important note:

A literature review is a piece of discursive prose, not a list describing or summarizing one piece of literature after another.   It is usually a bad sign to see every paragraph beginning with the name of a researcher.  Instead, organize the literature review into sections that present themes or identify trend (including theoretical trends).  You are not trying to list all the material published, but to synthesize it and evaluate it according to the research question.

  • 6 peer reviewed articles into your lit review.
  • Organize your summaries/synthesis of the literature you have read on your topic thematically and in conversation with this research question.  I find that for this step it is useful to make an outline or a “map” of POINTS (and the PARTICULARS that support these points) and their relationship to my research question as well as their relationship to each other.  The POINTS and PARTICULARS may look like hypotheses or sub-questions.
  • Recognize that as you put together the thematic structure for this essay, you will need to return to the literature to make sure that you understand the essays and certainly the specific points you are drawing from.  (Remember that you will still also be refining your question.)

The writing:

The introduction should: (Use Arnett article to defined Emerging Adulthood)

  • Define or identify the general topic, issue or area of concern, thus providing an appropriate context for reviewing the literature.
  • Point out overall trends in what has been published about the topic; or conflicts in theory, methodology, evidence, and conclusions; or gaps in research in scholarship.
  • Raise the central research question that builds on or departs from the existing research.
  • Establish the significance for proposing research into this question.

The body should:

  • Group and synthesize research studies and other types of literature and your response to them according to different POINTS (sub-questions, hypotheses, etc.).
  • Provide the reader with strong topic sentences (that announce the POINT of each paragraph and its relevance to your central research question) at the beginnings of paragraphs.
  • Support each of the POINTS with particular responses to specific details from their literature, summarizing individual studies or essays with as much or as little detail as each merits according to its comparative importance in the literature.

The conclusion should:

  • Evaluate the current state of the research on your central question and propose areas for further research.
  • Make claims for the significance of your research proposal.
  • Provide insights into the relationship between the guiding concept of your literature review and a larger context such as a discipline, a scientific endeavor, or a profession (i.e. make claims for the larger implications of your research proposal).

Just to add to this, consider the rhetorical context for a literature review.  Your audience – made up of professional psychologists — is not familiar with your topic and has not read the literature you are reviewing.  You are writing for publication in a scholarly peer-reviewed book called New Directions in Developmental Psychology.  Your aim is to convince a scholarly audience of the significance of your research question and of your nuanced understanding of the work that has provided the basis for this research question.

Format:  Following APA guidelines..

I came up with a new research proposal (question) and sub-questions for these six articles. (Maybe don’t fit into the articles, so please read all the six articles first)

After the reading, if you have any new research proposal or sub-questions, you can change it.

Remember to work on articulating how these research articles leave gaps- and, thus, how your sub-questions pick up where the study leaves off.

PLEASE make sure you are not answering your research proposal and sub-questions!!

 

Main theme: Investigate the impacts of parental involvement on emerging adults’ transition into college – autonomy?

*My research proposal is: What are the impacts of parental involvement on emerging adult’s transition into college? (Autonomous behavior?)

-Arnett article to introduce emerging adulthood

Body paragraph: Sub-question#1: how does the family emotional support affect emerging adults’ mental health during their transition to college? (Sub-questions always have to be the first sentence, topic sentences)

Body paragraph: Sub-question#2: how does the parental involvement on the development of autonomy impacts emerging adults in their transition to college? (What way does this second sub-question draw from the research here but ask a different question?)

Body paragraph: Sub-question#3: how do emerging adults and their parents expect each other to cooperate the different expectations for autonomous behavior during the transition to college?

 


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