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Q# 1:- How to write a Literature Review? What Is A Literature Review?
A liter literatu ature re review review is an appra appraisi ising ng descri descripti ption on of infor informa matio tion n found found in the litera literatur ture e asso associa ciated ted to your your chosen chosen area area of resear research. ch. The litera literatur ture e revie review w illustr illustrat ates, es, summa summariz rize, e, appra appraise ise and clarif clarify y the liter literatu ature re for for which which you you are are writing literature review. It should give gi ve a hypothetical foundation for the research research and helps helps you you establ establish ish the nature nature of your your resear research. ch. Unre Unrelat lated ed work works s are are removed completely while the marginal ones are considered critically. Why? Writing Literature Reviews
The importance of literature review can not be denied because it is a review of writing on a subject. The under-mentioned reasons the importance of literature review: a. Litera Literatur ture e review review helps helps to find new ways to figure figure out any ambigu ambiguity ity or flaws in earlier researches. b. A literature literature review review portra portrays ys the link of each each work to the the others. others. c. Literatur Literature e review resolve resolves s any contradicto contradictory ry findings, findings, or gaps in previous previous studies. d. Most Most impo import rtan antl tly, y, liter literat atur ure e revi review ew lead leads s the the way way forw forwar ard d for for furt furthe herr research. e. It adds the the understan understanding ding and knowle knowledge dge of the partic particular ular field. field.
A LITERATURE REVIEW SHOULD COVER THESE 4 POINTS 1. The literature literature review discovers the the areas areas of controversy controversy in the literature. literature. 2. The The liter literat atur ure e revi review ew expla explain ins s how how each each work work is simi simila larr to and how how it varies from the others. 3. Literatur Literature e review should should be well-struc well-structure tured d around and directly directly linked linked to the research question you are developing. 4. The literatu literature re review review should present present an overvie overview w of the subject, subject, issue or theory theory under considerat consideration, ion, along with the objectives objectives of the literatur literature e review. Development Development Of Literature Review
A literature review involves the four stages to advance:
PROBLEM FORMULATION First of all, the component issues of topic of literature review to examine or research are determined.
Finding materials are collected relevant to the subject being explored to write the literature review.
DATA APPRAISAL It is determined that which literature makes a worth mentioning contribution to the understanding of the topic of literature review.
ANALYSIS Finally, the findings of relevant literature are analyzed to conclude and include in literature review.
6 CRUCIAL TIPS ON HOW TO WRITE A LITERATURE REVIEW? Apply these tips to write a good literature review: i. ii. iii. iv. v. vi. vii.
You need to keep entire and exact records and references of what you read and find during research. Learn the required citation style. Make notes or summaries of the articles, books journals, papers whatever you read. You must infer and read between the lines when go through any written work. Broaden your vision and develop your own ideas without worrying that it might not be accepted. Just don’t be relaxed with copying previous work. Divide the literature review into different thematic parts which will help you to focus. Read the leading published material and search for the current issues for the latest information.
RESOURCES TO DEVELOP
REVIEW OF LITERATURE There is a wide range of sources to develop your literature review. These resources include: • • • • • •
Books Scholarly journals Previous Research papers World wide web Bibliographies Encyclopedias
• • • • •
Conference proceedings Thesis Unpublished papers Empirical studies Historical records
Newspapers Statistics handbooks/information
Commercial reports Government reports and reports from other bodies
LITERATURE REVIEW GUIDELINES FOR ORGANIZATION The following pattern is a very reasonable one to organize a literature review. Introduction: Define the topic, together with your reason for selecting the topic. You could also point out overall trends, gaps, particular themes etc. 1. Body: In body, you discuss your sources. There are some way to in which you could organize your discussion: a.
For example: If writers' views have a tendency to change over time. There is little point in doing the review by order of publication unless this demonstrates a clear style. b.
Here you can decide particular themes in the literature. For example in the literature review of poverty and disability, the writer can take the themes of the prevalence and structure of disability, education, employment, income and poverty, causes of disability, the path from poverty to disability and vice versa, and finally, policies for disabled people. c.
In this way, the focus is on the methods of the researcher. For example, qualitative versus quantitative approaches. 2. Conclusion: Summarize the major contributions, evaluating the current position, and pointing out flaws in methodology, gaps in the research, contradictions, and areas for further study.
Literature Review Revision? To revise and check of any flaw or lack in literature review, answer to these questions: •
• • • • •
What is the specific thesis, problem, or research question that my literature review helps to define? How good was my information seeking ? Was my search wide enough to ensure the availability of relevant material? Did I narrow enough the literature review to leave out irrelevant material? Have I used suitable number of sources for the length?
Have I critically analyzed the literature I use? Hive I just summarized the material I read? Does it have my own thoughts and insight? Have I used the citation properly? Will the reader find my literature review appropriate, and useful ?
Q# 2:- What is a Problem Statement and its significant to research? THE PROBLEM STATEMENT
Research and development proposals, whether designed for master's theses, doctoral dissertations, internal agency projects, or applications to external funding sources, may be considered as responses to a problem. Despite the obvious and integral link between the statement of the problem and the raison d'être of the entire proposal, the nature of problems remains largely unexplicated and the processes for generating problem statements are ignored altogether or charged off as an intuitive activity that will become evident to the neophyte inquirer as he gains experience and expertise in his craft. Research texts devote sections to the methodology associated with carrying out the inquiry, i.e., procedures, but will dispense with the problem with such peculiar statements as: "It is not always possible for the researcher to formulate his problem simply, clearly, and completely. He often may only have a rather general, diffuse, even confused, notion of the problem...a problem, then is an interrogative sentence or statement that asks: What relation exists between two or more variables?" I would like to suggest that a problem statement is not general, diffuse, confused, or simplistic; they get that way because the writer fails to grapple with the essential elements. Neither is a coherent and functional problem statement an interrogative sentence as Kerlinger suggests (and many university professors believe); that is, a problem statement is not a question, although of necessity it
becomes the springboard for generating and presenting research questions in an R&D proposal. A problem statement is a logical argument with structure, sequence, substance and rationale. It is a constant complaint among those who evaluate proposals that the most frequent deficiency noted by them is the lack of a clear problem statement to define and guide the inquiry. And the most frequent dilemna among graduate students is their seemingly aimless search for a problem significant enough to pursue and discrete enough to handle. More often than not, "problem statements" take on the characteristics described by Kerlinger and proposals end up looking like solutions in search of a problem to which they might become attached. A well articulated statement of the problem establishes the foundation for everything to follow in the proposal and will render less problematic most of the conceptual, rhetorical and methodological obstacles typically encountered during the process of proposal development. This means that, in subsequent sections of the proposal, there should be no surprises, such as categories, questions, varialbes or data sources that come out of nowhere: if it can't be found in the problem section, at least at the implicit level, then it either does not belong in the study or the problem statement needs to be re-written.
DEFINING A PROBLEM
A problem is a situation resulting from the interaction or juxtaposition of two or more factors (e.g., givens, constraints, conditions, desires, etc.) which yields (1) a perplexing or enigmatic state, (2) an undesirable consequence, or (3) a conflict which renders the choice from among alternative courses of action moot. A problem solution is an action which clarifies the perplexing or enigmatic state, which alleviates or eliminates an undesirable consequence, or which resolves the conflict or delineates the course of action to be taken. The nature of the relationship between or among the factors generating the problem may take any of several forms, e.g.: 1. provocative exception 2. contradictory evidence 3. moot alternatives, i.e., knowledge void 4. action-knowledge conflict 5. knowledge-action conflict 6. other
FUNCTIONS OF A PROBLEM STATEMENT 1.
Establishing - to establish the existence of two or more juxtaposed factors which, by their interaction produce an enigmatic or perplexing state, yield an undesirable consequence, or result in a conflict which renders the choice from among alternatives moot.
Relating - to relate the problem to its antecedents (i.e., educational, scientific, social).
Justifying – to justify the utility, significance, or interest inherent in the pursuit of the problem.
COMMON DEFICIENCIES OF PROBLEM STATEMENTS - Failure to establish the existence of a problem, e.g., raw statements like: "The purpose of this project is to..." "The question(s) to be investigated is..." "The Acme Inventory of Dissertation Dementia will be used to..." - Statement of a condition - "The number one problem in the country today is inflation."
- The Boiler Plate problem - The problem that has no history - Parochialism - personal, institutional, disciplinary - The "lick the world" statement - The solution that makes no difference - The justification without a problem
A FORMAT FOR GENERATING PROBLEMS Principle Proposition
Ordinarily stated in the form of a given; a generalization; a generally accepted proposition; a description of a condition; and less frequently, but possibly, a goal. One example of a principal proposition in the category of a description of a condition might be a brief literature based narrative review of models of instruction that concludes with "so it can be seen that a wide variety of models of instruction are available to teachers, some theoretical, some empirically grounded...". Another might be a brief summary of the scientific evidence that under girds Darwin's law of natural selection that ends with a statement such as, "Therefore, all known species of flower either reproduce through cross pollination, have evolved into self reproducing organisms, or they become extinct." Interacting Proposition
The interacting proposition is juxtaposed with the principle proposition to form the second link in the argument establishing the existence of the problem by contradicting, contravening, noting exceptions to, challenging, or casting doubt upon the principal proposition. The interacting proposition frequently assumes the form of: 1. provocative exception 2. conflicting evidence 3. knowledge void, incomplete knowledge
4. action-knowledge conflict or knowledge-action conflict 5. action-action conflict 6. theoretical conflict 7. theoretical-action conflict or knowledge conflict In the category of action-knowledge conflict, using the example of the study of models of instruction implied by the principal proposition given above, the researcher might assert that,, "However, in spite of this vast array of possibilities for more effectively organizing and delivering instruction available to teachers, the dominant mode of instruction continues to be lecture/demonstration/discussion...". This situation poses a perplexing state of affairs, to wit; professional educators behave contrary to substantial evidence that there are better courses of action. Why? In the study of flowers implied by the principal proposition (above) about flowers unerringly complying with Darwin's law, the researcher might note that, after two decades of carefully labeling and observing 3,500 individual flowers in plots of Pink Lady's Slipper orchids commonly found in New England, "this orchid is entirely hostile to bees, only 23 instances of pollination have ever been observed, none have become nectar producers to attract bees. and they have no discernible means of self reproduction common to other plants with that capability. Yet they continue to thrive far beyond the life expectancy of any known variety when in fact all but 23 should be extinct." This orchid is an enigma, a provocative exception to Darwin's law, and the researcher is well on his way to a multi-million dollar National Science Foundation grant to resolve the enigma of how it is that this particular plant can thrive in spite of the laws of nature. But that grant will not be forthcoming until he/she identifies the most fruitful focus for the investigation and the payoff that stands to be gained Speculative Proposition
Examines or speculates about the most likely causes of the apparent anomaly or conflict; sets the direction for the inquiry; completes the sentence, "The principle and interacting proposition co-exist in my best judgment because..." These speculations present to the reader and writer a menu of choices from which to select a focus for the inquiry with the help of the completion of a statement beginning like, "The most likely..." or "The most promising..." or, "One plausible explanation is..." This element sets up the opportunity to make a clear statement of the purpose of the project, but also is suggestive of the major variables and categories to be more clearly articulated in the overarching conceptual framework of the study (the basic design). For example, in the study of teachers' instructional behavior, the researcher might list out the variety of plausible explanations for the failure of teachers to incorporate a variety of strategies into their repertoire of professional practices (assuming the researcher has established that fact beyond raw assertion in the first place). Plausible explanations could include; "it is likely that many just simply don't know any better because their training did not provide them with the knowledge and skill needed to maximize their performance;" or "there likely are several factors inherent in the culture of school organization (such as...) that
mitigate against certain behaviors;" or "some teachers may be adept at evaluating (and rejecting) certain innovative practices for response costs in relation to payoffs in student outcomes." Given this menu, the researcher could choose to focus on the nature of inservice and preservice professional education programs for teachers, a study of factors in school culture and climate on the job that control professional behavior, the concerns-based motivation of teachers when faced with innovative choice adoption decisions, or some combination of all of these. It is here that a statement like, "Therefore, the purpose of this study is to..." would round out the logical argument that constitutes the statement of the problem. That section ("Purpose of the Study") might start with a statement of general purpose, augmented by a central objective and one or two major research questions that provide sharper focus. (A more detailed delineation of objectives, questions and/or hypotheses would ordinarily be included in the section on methodology). The example above of teacher instructional behavior discussed above is available here in an annotated form to demonstrate the division of a problem statement into its component parts. The format noted above generates the substantive dimensions of the problem but leaves open the question of how the inquirer intends to grapple with the established conflict. Figure 1, at the end of this section, picks up with the substantive orientation of the problem and classifies the various response modes available to the inquirer in responding to the problem, whether it be research, development, program evaluation, etceteras. Click for a window to Figure 1.
Relating and Justifying Functions
During the course of problem statement development and identification of the primary mode of response, the inquirer is responsible for relating the problem to its antecedents. Problems do not exist in vacua, but stem from particular circumstances. The juxtaposed factors constituting the problem have histories; these may be of a scientific, social, educational, economic, etc., origin. It is not the purpose here to thoroughly describe the context of the proposal: That is accomplished through a treatment of the related research. What is necessary is a sufficient description of antecedents to put the statement in perspective so that the researcher and the reader will be able to appreciate the problem in the tradition of inquiry of which it is a part. This was accomplished in part by a brief introductory discussion with enough key citations to establish "which forest we are in" followed by the core elements of the problem statement itself which identifies "some of the major trees." A final function of the problem section of the proposal is to justify the utility, significance, or interest of the problem. Resources and time are always scarce. It is of great importance from the point of view of a potential funding agency or a
graduate student's advisor (or committee) and from the researcher's own point of view, that priority be given to problems of urgency or utility. Obviously, if problems are to be assessed for their significance, some criteria must be brought to bear. These criteria include, among others, heuristic value, improved programmatic sequencing, social utility, scientific interest, and the convenience and concern of the researcher or developer. These criteria will later be defined in a discussion of proposal objectives. In any case, a statement or paragraph describing what stands to be gained by investigating the problem is a vital ingredient for the reader in further understanding the problem and its applicability to professional practice, or empirical knowledge, and for the writer in making decisions about whether, how, and to what extent to proceed. The justification or statement of significance can easily be generated if the writer remembers that his/her study is a proposed solution to the problem: that is, it alleviates consequences posed by the existence of the problem, such as a conflict between knowledge and practice. Problem consequences are cognitive, psychological, valuational and practical and they are experienced by people (administrators, teachers, scientists, minorities...) and programs (planning, curriculum, policy, clinical interventions...). List them out, then write a paragraph or two based on the list describing to what and for whom undesirable consequences accrue. The natural next step is the inverse; an assertion of what stands to be gained, by who, and how, as a result of successful completion and dissemination of the study. In dissertations, this is a section typically labeled Significance of the Study. The problem statement, in its entirety, is an internally consistent logical argument having structure, sequence and rationale. Although I have said that a problem statement is not a question, a problem statement necessarily leads into at least one central research question or objective from which numerous research questions and/or hypotheses could be generated. Like other sections of the proposal, it will in all likelihood, be rewritten a number of times as the development of each subsequent section provides the writer with a more informed, sharper vantage point from which to critically view the proposal as a coherent, internally consistent creation in its entirety, incrementally and retrospectively. This is one fact of academic life that makes writing both a challenge and painful endeavor for most of us. Another point to underscore is the need to avoid the temptation to overwrite: Most problem statements, particularly those written for dissertation proposals, are best limited to three to five or six pages. To be sure, other elements that should or could be included in the same section with the problem statement, such as definition of terms, a listing of variables, limitations and delimitations, may expand the length of the section beyond five pages or so, but the problem statement itself should be fairly compact and succinct. While I'm at it, one of the things mentioned in the previous paragraph --definition of terms-- is a feature of dissertation culture that won't die but probably should. If you use terminology in the problem statement narrative with which readers (and you) are likely to have difficulty nailing down with regard to the precise meaning, make every effort to weave the meaning into the narrative where it occurs naturally or deal with it in locations where operational definitions are required (e.g., procedures). Typically, doctoral dissertation committee members will receive a proposal with a "Definition of Terms" section tacked on at the end
of the section where it is too late and out of context from the reader's point of view, and they are forced to flip pages in pursuit of that enlightenment. See Gall, Borg & Gall, p. 96 (1996) on this issue. Exercise
Here is a link to the header and first few paragraphs from an article published by Harold Wiglensky in Educaton Policy Analysis Archives. Using the discussion above, identify the essential ingredients of a problem statement and try to articulate the logic of the argument he uses to establish the existence of the problem. How are the functions of the problem statement reflected in this example? Here is another by George Kuh of Indiana University from the same source. Supplementary Readings Gall, Meredith, Borg, Walter & Gall, Joyce (2003). Educational Research: An Introduction (Chapter 2), Allyn and Bacon (Seventh Edition). Kaplan, Abraham (1964). The Conduct of Inquiry (Chapter 1). San Francisco: Chandler. Kerlinger, Fred (1986). Foundations of Behavioral Research (Chapter 2). New York: Holt, Reinhart and Winston (Third Edition). Marshall, Catherine and Rossman, Gretchen (1989; 1995). Designing Qualitative Research (Chapter 2). Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Merriam, Sharan (1988). Case Study Research in Education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, ch. 3. Rudestam. K. & Newton, R. (1992). Surviving Your Dissertation: A Comprehensive Guide to Content and Process. Newberry Park, CA: Sage.
A suggestion is made to consult a catalog from Sage Publications. Sage markets the most comprehensive collection of references in the field of social science research available anywhere in the world -- and some of the best!! 1. This having been said, Kerlinger was none the less a pioneer and giant among behavioral scientists. Note also that the authors of an otherwise useful text (Ruderstam & Newton, 1992), are just as unclear on this issue. They, however, have some excellent suggestions for doctoral students seeking a topic worthy of study.
Figure 1. Response Taxonomy for Problem Statements