MGN442 Assignment 1 Literature Review / Report
For this assignment you will need to conduct a literature review where you critically analyse and synthesise theories/concepts/models from the broader self-leadership or positive psychology literature. After identifying a specific topic, it is helpful if you also choose a context to explore that you are also interested in knowing more about. By combining the topic and the context you will be able to create a question to investigate. You will need to have chosen at least 10 sources to read, analyse and integrate into the review of your question.
What is a literature review?
A literature review is a critical evaluation of previously published literature or research. Through organising, integrating, analysing and synthesising previous works, the author of the literature review/research report is able to consider the progress of the research towards clarifying a problem of interest. A literature review frequently defines and clarifies a research problem; summarises the current state of the research in a field; identifies relationships, contradictions, gaps and inconsistencies in the literature; and often suggests the next step towards solving the research problem.
Why is the literature review important?
The primary purpose of the literature review is to critique and analyse previous literature, analysing how and why previous research studies were conducted, and the conclusions that can be drawn from them. It is not usually sufficient to merely cite, chronologically, a number of studies and their relevant findings. The author must show academic scholarship by organising the literature in an interesting and useful way. The value of the literature review is established through the author’s ability to demonstrate a professional grasp on the research problem by summarising the background and current state of knowledge in the field. Thus the key elements of the literature review include: evaluating the contributions of others, highlighting research trends in the field, identifying areas of theoretical and empirical weakness in the previously published material, and to clarify the research problem or identify specific research questions to be addressed.
Literature Review Research Activities
Research and Gathering Information: Begin the literature review process by identifying the research problem or theme of interest. Secondly, working back from new to old, from general to specific, seek out relevant academic and literature regarding the theme or problem previously identified. After gathering, sifting through, and analysing the information on the topic, focus or narrow the problem and generate hypotheses or research questions for future study. In management disciplines there are usually three primary sources of academic literature: refereed journals and major texts in the field.
For this assignment you will need to have reviewed at least ten (10) sources.
Reading and Analysing Literature: To write the literature review you need to have read a number of articles to identify the facts? Who are the eminent scholars? What ideas, theories, questions, or hypotheses seem most important? When reading the literature, consider what developments, controversies or breakthroughs are currently being proposed by leading researchers/practitioners. What are the most commonly used research methodologies in the field? Is the methodology used the most appropriate or most useful? To assist with the analysis, some researchers build tables or charts of various studies to help systematically review research questions, methodologies, findings and limitations.
When reading the literature that you have gathered judge, evaluate and look critically at the research. The following questions are useful things to ask yourself about the literature you are reading. For example:
k Is the problem and theoretical basis clearly stated?
k Are the researchers aware of what others have done? (e.g., is the review complete?)
k Is the author telling a “story” that makes sense?
k What are the assumptions behind the research?
k Is the methodology, sample size etc., adequate?
k Are the results accurately presented?
k Is the research influential (e.g., has it sparked research interest by others)?
k Is the argument convincing?
k Are the generalisations justified based upon the evidence presented?
k Are suggestions offered for further research?
Writing the Literature Review
Rationale or purpose: Begin the literature review broadly by generating a rationale or significance for reviewing the literature. Identify the importance of the inquiry by placing the problem or issue in context so that readers know why it is a significant field of investigation.
Critique and review of what is known and unknown about the topic: When reviewing previous work, it is important that you do not simply describe every study that has ever been done on the problem or issue. Rather you need to be selective, only cite articles that are pertinent to the specific issues with which you are dealing. Emphasise the major conclusions, findings, or relevant methodological issues of these studies and avoid unnecessary detail. As you progress through the review and the logic of the argument, offer suggestions for future research. For instance, do further studies need to be conducted with different populations, were flaws identified in previous methodologies, could the studies be extended or narrowed etc.?
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