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SOC221H5 (75)
Chapter 4

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Lingqin Feng

The Logic of Social Inquiry: Chapter 4: Reviewing the Scholarly Literature and Planning a Study LITERATURE REVIEW • Why does reading “literature” (previous studies) on a topic help you? o Helps narrow down a broad topic o It gives you an idea about the kinds of study designs that have been used o Learn about key ideas/terms/issues on the topic o Helps you get creative • Literature Review: Many types of reviews, but generally referred to as a summary of the recent studies conducted on a topic that includes key findings and methods researchers used while making sure to document the sources o Based on the assumption that knowledge accumulates and that people learn from and build on what others have done • Goals of literature Review 1. To demonstrate familiarity with a body of knowledge and establish credibility 2. To show the path of prior research and how a current project is linked to it 3. To integrate and summarize what is known in an area 4. To learn from others and stimulate new ideas Where to find Research Literature Periodicals o Many types of periodicals including: 1. Mass market newspapers and magazines written for the general public 2. Popularized social science magazines 3. Opinion magazines in which intellectuals debate and express their views, 4. Scholarly academic journals in which researchers present the findings of studies or provide other communication to the scientific community o Scholarly Journals: primarily type of periodical to use for a literature review. Found in college and university libraries, and rarely found anywhere else. 1 o Easy to locate an article because it is assigned a date, volume number and issue number o Citation: details such as author, title, and page number as well as the journals date, issue number and volume number. Used in bibliographies o Abstracts: short summaries on the first page of the article or grouped together at the beginning of the issue Books o Some types of books contain collections of articles, e.g. “readers” (may include research reports, typically have scholarly journals that have been edited so their easier to understand); others include just journal articles or original research reports organized around a specific topic Dissertations o All graduates who receive the Ph.D degree are required to complete a work of original research, which they write up as a dissertation thesis. o Dissertations are eventually published as books or articles (since they are valuable sources of information) Government Documents Policy Reports and Presented Papers o Papers can be listed in indexes or abstract services How to conduct a systematic Literature Review Define and Refine a Topic o Aliterature review should begin with a clearly defined, well focused research question and plan Design a Search o Plan a search strategy and set parameters on your search (how much time you will devote to it, how far back in time you will look, the minimum number of research reports you will examine, how many libraries you will visit and so forth) Locate Res
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