A literature review requires a student:
• to identify an issue related to clinical and community psychology;
• to use appropriate sources (e.g. databases like PsycINFO) in order to locate and select articles on theory and research related to the specific topic of interest;
• to evaluate the credibility and accuracy of information from various sources,
• to analyze the sources for similarities, differences, and trends in regard to theoretical conceptualization of the topic and/or the results of research on the topic; and
• to use reasoning, skepticism and empirical evidence to synthesize the results of the analysis into a cohesive whole.
A well-written literature review will reveal the student’s particular perspective on and comprehensive knowledge of the topic, along with a mastery of professional writing conventions and APA style.
In this class, each student will write a 10-12 page (including the title page and reference list) literature review. Please use this opportunity to learn about a contemporary issue in clinical and community psychology that is of interest to you, rather than to recycle a paper or project that you have written or are writing for another class.
The review is worth 150 points and includes the following steps:
Step 1: Proposal – 10 points
To select a topic, it is important that you begin searching databases like PsycINFO and finding peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and/or books on a topic of interest as soon as possible. This will help you identify a topic which is neither too broad nor too narrow and has been written about by reputable scholars. The majority of your sources of information should be peer-reviewed journal articles published since 2000. Examples of major publication outlets for clinical psychology include Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology and Professional Psychology Research and Practice. Wikipedia articles as well as abstracts of theses and dissertations should be avoided. The working draft will not be accepted from students who have not had their topic approved.
Step 2: Working Draft – 20 points
You will need to develop a title page for your paper, an introduction, and a list of your initial 15 references in APA-format.
The title should briefly summarize the main idea of your literature review and convey the issues under investigation and the relationship between them.
In turn, the introduction should
• establish the importance of your topic and cite relevant references,
• include a thesis or line of argumentation, and
• plainly and clearly describe the organization of the paper by indicating what topics will be discussed in what order.
In other words, the introduction should answer the following questions:
• Why is this topic important?
• What is the main argument or assertion that you are making about the topic?
• What topics are you going to cover and in what order?
Clearly, before you write the introduction of your paper, you will need to read, take notes about, and analyze your reference materials for similarities, differences, and trends. Refer to the guidelines provided by Galvan in Writing Literature Reviews for assistance in this process
The list of references should demonstrate that you have a sufficient material from a variety of sources, especially professional journals, to support your points. In regard to your references, bear in mind that you probably will not use all of the initial references in the final paper, so you will want to do a broad and deep search to find at least 15 initial references.
Step 3: Full Draft – 70 points
This draft will be a complete version of the paper which you have edited carefully and revised multiple times. In other words, it should NOT be a rough draft. The finished literature review draft should be 10-12 pages long (including a title page and reference list). The paper should be in APA-style. It should be in 12-point font and double-spaced and printed using 1” margins. An abstract is not required. The final references should include at least 10 – 15 articles, book chapters or books.
Step 4: Peer Review – 20 points
With your draft turned in, you will review one other paper in your class and submit this feedback to your instructor. The review will be shared with the author at the same time that I return my feedback. Your review will be double blind meaning that you will not know whose paper you are reviewing and the author will not know who reviewed their paper.
Reviewers will evaluate a number of things including:
• whether the topic and subtopics of the literature review are clear
• whether the importance of the topic has been demonstrated
• whether the author is using professional writing conventions correctly and expressing ideas/positions/arguments effectively
• whether the author is using APA editorial style & formatting correctly
Step 5: Final Version – 30 points
The final version should reflect the fact that the writer incorporated feedback from the instructor, peer, AND put additional thought, time and effort of their own into revisions! When you turn in the final paper, please also turn in the corrected complete draft. Again, the final paper should be 10-12 pages (including a title page and reference list). The paper should be in APA-style. It should be in 12-point font and double-spaced and printed using 1” margins. An abstract is not required. The final references should include at least 10 -15 articles, book chapters or books.
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