Presented August 18, 2020
Transcript last updated August 19, 2020
Visual: Opening slide is titled Housekeeping
Audio: [Michael] Okay. Hello everyone and welcome to today's webinar entitled Writing Literature Reviews in Your Graduate Coursework. I'm Michael Dusek, and I’m a Writing Instructor in the Walden Writing Center. I'm working behind the scenes in today’s webinar, changing slide layouts, answering your questions, things like that. Before we begin and I hand over the session to our presenter, Claire, let's go over a few housekeeping items.
First, we're recording this webinar so you are welcome to access it at a later date via our webinar archive. Note that we record all of our webinars at the Writing Center so feel free to look through the archive for other recordings that might interest you as well. In addition, we may mention a few webinars that are a helpful follow up to this webinar. Just check out the webinar archive and see if anything piques your interest.
Also, whether you are attending this webinar live or watching a recording, note you'll be able to participate in any polls we use, files we share, or links we provide. These are provided in the PowerPoint slides Claire will be sharing and you can access at the bottom of your screen. We welcome questions during the session via the Q&A box. I'll be watching the Q&A box and I’m happy to answer any questions you have while Claire is presenting.
You are also welcome to send technical issues to me there, but if these are persistent you can use the help option at the top right corner of the screen. This is Adobe tech support and those are the best options for you that way. I'll hand over to our presenter Claire Helakoski.
[Claire] Hi, everyone. Thanks Michael.
Visual: Slide changes to the title of the webinar: Writing Literature Reviews in your Graduate Coursework and includes the presenter’s name, picture, and role: Claire Helakoski, Writing Instructor, Walden University Writing Center
Audio: As Michael said, I'm Claire Helakoski. I’m a Writing Instructor here at the Walden Writing Center. And today we're going to be discussing writing literature reviews in your graduate coursework. Note that this will be a little bit different than if you’re at the dissertation phase focused on that big literature review; this is geared toward literature reviews in coursework before that phase. And while some of the advice might be helpful, it is a little bit of a different intended audience.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: Learning Objectives
Audio: Our learning objectives today are to define literature reviews as a document or type of assignment. Explain the purposes and benefits of literature reviews; name the steps for completing a literature review and identify the content and organization of a literature reviews. And we'll have some interactive components as well to help you work through those and practice a little bit.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: APA 7 Transition Reminder
Audio: [Claire] I want to remind everybody that we are working in APA 7 now as of May. Today's presentation will reflect APA 7 and we do have some resources here if that's news to you or maybe something you want to learn more about.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: What is a literature review?: Introduction
Audio: [Claire] What is a literature review? A literature review is sources and evidence plus synthesis, kind of bringing those ideas together. A literature review is when you have all those great sources and pieces of evidence, and you add synthesis, which don’t worry, I'll talk about in more depth. You get a literature review.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: Steps to a Literature Review
Audio: [Claire] There are multiple steps to a literature review, and they can change a little bit, but here's a potential process for a literature review. In many cases, you'll be choosing a topic or your topic may be chosen for you depending on the assignment. You'll have a topic, in general, and you’ll need to do some research, and then you’ll need to narrow your focus.
Your research is probably going to be really general on your topic and doing that research can help you narrow your focus down to something more specific. And once you narrow down your focus a little bit, let's say you're focused on writing centers and you want to focus on just online writing centers, for example, that's a little bit narrower. Then, you can choose the sources that are relevant to that more narrow focus.
You can connect to your thesis for your document or develop your thesis by using some of those sources. And then you'll synthesize the sources which means putting in conversation with each other and thinking about the bigger takeaways that the research has to say from multiple angles. And then, connect back to your topic.
It's kind of a circle. You might not do all of these steps every time, but in general, you're going to focus that topic, do some research, narrow it down, and pick those sources then synthesize them with your thesis or main purpose of your document in mind.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: What is a literature review?: Global Organization
Audio: When we think about a literature review, you want to think about that global organization. That bigger picture of your paper. In this example, your thesis is that high school principals can effectively enact change in their schools by embracing leadership strategies. That's nice and specific.
We're dealing with – we’re going to talk about high school principals, we’re going to talk about education leadership strategies and what works and how that can create change.
Now that I know that's my topic, I would do a bunch of research on that topic about effective organizational leadership strategies, educational change, and those types of things. After researching I might outline my paper to something like this: Section 1: traits for effective educational leadership, it has influence and the ability to achieve teacher buy-in, able to clearly communicate, can create and implement a strategic plan, and each of these points is going to be supported by multiple sources probably in the research that I found.
And doing that research can help me create this outline in the first place, because I might not know exactly what the change and educational strategies are that I’m talking about are here when talking about my thesis, but after I do my research, I'll have the support for the different points this research has in common about effective educational leadership.
I may also find that the research talks about tools for effective educational leadership. So, they talk about traits and tools separately. Some of those might be the same source and some might be different sources. They're all going to work together to build this larger idea and help me with the global organization of my document.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: What is a literature review? Local Comparison
Audio: [Claire] All right. So, here is what a paragraph might look like in a literature review about the topic we just discussed. I will read it aloud here. You can see that I bolded the summaries of the research and underlined the synthesis. So, I’ll talk a little bit more about that in a second:
Successful educational leadership is often measured in the ability of a leader to influence the actions, beliefs, and motivations of his or her team. Gillingham et al. (2016) identified leaders of successful school turnaround programs and after surveying the staff, determined that the leaders were more likely to have influenced the staff’s beliefs about student success than previous leaders. Additionally, the Education Trust (2017) was able to determine influence as a key leadership behavior after distilling personality trait evaluations of school leaders who were able to avoid building closure. In a 2015 study, staff at one building labeled as at-risk were able to reverse this label after new leadership (Smith, 2015). Smith (2015) postulated that it was the new leadership’s influence over staff beliefs and motivations that led to the turnaround. These recent studies support the idea that the ability to hold influence over others is an important leadership trait. While the research does not seem to control much for other factors, this does still suggest that emotional intelligence may play a role larger than, or equal to, strategic planning.
That was a lot of words. [Chuckles.] I'm hoping you could hear in this bolded section I’m summarizing the important findings relevant to my topic sentence and thesis. I'm summarizing findings from different resources and I could have potentially combined a sentence that the findings were very similar between sources as well, and then I'm synthesizing those sources, so I’m putting them in conversation. I'm saying all these studies support this idea. That's me, my own analysis.
But because I'm analyzing multiple sources at once for a takeaway, that's what makes it synthesis. You have probably practiced analysis in some of your course papers already, which is great. It’s where you put together the source ideas and make sense of them for the reader in the context of your thesis and argument.
So, in a literature review it's kind of the same thing, except you're putting together a lot more information from multiple sources.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: Where do we see literature reviews?
Audio: [Claire] So, where do we see literature reviews? You'll see them in your final doctoral study, as I mentioned. So, it's good practice to work on them in your course work. You'll see them in a capstone or thesis, a major assessment, as part of a larger assignment, or sometimes a standalone assignment.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: Purpose of a Literature Review
Audio: [Claire] The purpose of a literature review is a visible polished version of your research notes and thought process. So, it helps you prepare for a larger research-based assignment, it providers context for the information you found that builds on your thesis or central argument. And it helps you develop research and critical thinking skills. It's a really helpful assignment, and if you have one, and that's why you've come to this presentation and are thinking it sounds like a lot, like busy work maybe, it does help build those research skills -- that analysis and critical thinking and synthesis – that you will use in a lot of different course work areas.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: Content of a Literature Review
Audio: [Claire] So, a literature review will involve evidence from multiple sources and usually your assignment will give you a clue of how many sources that might be. If it doesn’t, you should ask your faculty to be sure. Synthesis and commentary on sources, comparing and contrasting, building on what the central argument might be. Talking about what they have, what ideas they build on and how they all come together.
There may be other requirements on your assignment direction. Always refer to your assignment directions. Review the directions for the number of sources, types of sources, scholarly sources usually will be the case, and length requirements – be sure to double check those things.
Also, if your assignment says that it's a literature review but maybe it's just asking you to summarize the sources and not add the synthesis, that's fine too, but it's not the operating definition of a literature review in the larger field. So, if it does seem like maybe the directions are a little bit different for your assignment but they are using the term literature review, double check with faculty for what they’re looking for, and always follow your directions.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: Literature Review Assignment Directions
Audio: [Claire] Here's an example of what a literature review assignment direction might look like. You’ll notice that I italicized and made orange the number and type of sources and then bolded the actual directions for completing the assignment. That's a useful tool with any assignment that you might get; kind of pull out the important pieces so that you have everything faculty is expecting.
It might look something like this: In week 4, you continue to develop your final paper for the course. For this assignment, you will locate peer reviewed journal articles which support your main argument. You will continue to search the Walden Library databases for peer-reviewed articles that support your work, culminating in a literature review section to be added to your final paper. This section should be at least 2 pages in length. You’ll select at least five recent (published in the past 5–10 years) peer-reviewed journal articles and synthesize your sources to best highlight the supporting ideas in each and build towards your larger argument.
Here you can see that this is part of a bigger assignment and this is something I see a lot in the Writing Center. You might work in pieces on an assignment for a major assessment or something like that and do the literature review after you’ve done the work of building your thesis and central idea.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: What should be included in this literature review?
Audio: [Claire] Let's do a little practice. I'm going to talk through this. In a literature review, no longer than 2 pages, synthesize 3-5 recent articles on the topic of effective group counseling. Sources should reflect best practices, and the review should highlight the trends and gap that currently exist.
Here we can see a different type of literature review assignment where they are telling you specifically what you should look up. Effective group counseling, best practices, and a gap in the research. Those are specifics we need to pull out.
Also, that our page limit is two pages and that we need to find three to five articles published in the last five years. So, that's all really good information that can help us figure out how to approach this literature review.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: Creating a Literature Review
Audio: [Claire] So, first you want to choose your topic or review your topic as in the counseling example I just mentioned. Review sources and potentially conduct additional research. So, if you are reviewing resources and find that you’re not finding what you wanted or that there's a slightly narrow focus, you might find you want to research more.
Then, read the sources you found. Take notes; we have a wonderful note-taking tool called the literature review matrix. That's a tool to help you keep track of points, conclusions, and ideas in various sources. And then you’ll find those big ideas or themes. The matrix outline is not how my brain takes notes, but either way, you are going to want to take notes and make note of the big ideas, themes, and conclusions in each source so that when you go to write your literature review, you'll know which sources to put together in conversation.
Next, you'll synthesize those sources, put them into conversation and connect back to your thesis and talk with others, write your different ideas, and think about what the overall take away or larger conclusions of the research you've been reading are.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: Themes: Topic—Culture and Counseling
Audio: [Claire] All right, so as I mentioned with that topic of culture and counseling, so that was our assignment for this particular example, I might be reading these three different sources and you can see how I've bolded and changed the color on the points that connect back to my central topic.
So, as I am reading, I would be highlighting these, perhaps taking notes and pulling them into a Word document to review later. Smith (2017) discussed the importance of keeping the group’s needs in mind as part of the counseling process. Some groups will need help forming, as patients overcome their own cultural issues in order to focus on the counseling.
So, here we're dealing with cultural issues whereas Shepherd (2015) revealed that multiculturalism is the largest determinant of success – so cultural issues, here we’re talking about multiculturalism and success. And then Ramirez and Skotsky (2017) talk about the background and demographics influenced the needs of counselors but were overlooked in group settings.
Here we talk a lot about group needs, we’re talking about cultural issues, multiculturalism, background and demographics. They're not using the term culture. But background and demographics are components of one's culture. They might not use the exact terminology but it's helpful to pull those ideas together and put them in conversation.
I would be thinking about: what are the bigger points they're making here? Do they connect to a central argument? Is there a takeaway from these three sources that they have in common? Or do I need to do more reading to see what sources Smith cites because I'm most interested in their research. You're going to want to be a really active reader and take a lot of notes as you're working on a literature review
Visual: Slide changes to the following: Organizing a Literature Review
Audio: [Claire] So, organizing literature review, traditionally is organized as one big idea or theme at a time rather than source by source. That's a confusion that I see a lot in student work. Annotated bibliography goes source by source and summarizes each one. A literature review is different because you're comparing and contrasting and synthesizing sources one big idea at a time. Like I showed with my global outline at the beginning of the presentation.
You want to focus on the ideas like in our example here. [Visual returns to previous slide titled Themes: Topic—Culture and Counseling] Culture and counseling, I want to focus on how culture impacts group counseling.
[Visual returns to slide titled Organizing a Literature Review] Rather than each individual source I'm going to focus on central idea and that would probably be a focus on one of my paragraphs. And be sure to review you directions. I have seen a couple floating around that might be labeled a literature review but really do want a source by source summary followed by synthesis. Be sure to review directions on what your faculty is specifically looking for.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: Organizing by One Big Idea or Theme
Audio: [Claire] Organizing by that big idea or theme, here's how this might look. Your topic is healthcare for people from varying cultural contexts and backgrounds. Paragraph 1 would be considering multicultural perspectives as best practice and research that supports that idea. Paragraph 2 would be develop a framework that patients are cultured beings and research that support that. And paragraph 3 might be about creating transparency and avoiding assumptions with patients, all connecting back to that central topic of best practices for healthcare with people from varying cultures and backgrounds.
You can't really have this organization until you've done all that reading and note taking. So, that's why identifying a central idea or topic and then research kind of needs to go in that order.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: What theme or big idea appears in these sources?
Audio: [Claire] We're going to practice, because this is a skill and like any skill you can advance it with practice. I will read this and have you guys chat with me over there. What theme or big idea, there's not a right answer, appears in these sources? Rizzo (2016) reported that 90% of open teaching positions are created by people leaving the profession. While some of those people retired, a majority of the teachers left the position in order to seek work with higher pay, more flexible schedules, and more professional support. Sawicki (2017) surveyed teachers who left the profession within their first five years of teaching. The participants identified workload and pay as the top two reasons for leaving.
So, what's a big theme or idea that appears in these sources? Again, there's not just one right answer. [Presenter goes on mute as students respond in the chat to this question: What theme or big idea appears in these sources?]
I'm seeing lots of great responses here for our big idea. Teachers leaving their profession, they're leaving for different reasons that several people are outlining such as pay, job opportunities, flexibility, workload.
So, one of the big ideas I'm seeing you're pulling out is teachers are leaving. And they're leaving for specific reasons that the research outlines here.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: What theme or big idea appears in these sources?—Possible Answers
Audio: [Claire] So, that's great. And here's some different answers that we might have pulled out. Teachers need professional support. Teachers are burning out and that's why they're leaving. Teachers feel undervalued. That's kind of those big takeaways. And then we would list the specifics you noticed like pay issues, lack of opportunity, workload, those kinds of things that our research has found.
The big idea you homed in on nicely here is that teachers are leaving for various reasons. Depending on our thesis and what other research we had, we might pull out various conclusions from just those two sources, so great job everybody -- that's the skill set you'll need as you are reading these articles by other authors who are of course citing additional authors to come up with those bigger takeaways and pull out those big ideas and conclusions so you can have strong synthesis.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: Questions?
Audio: [Claire] All righty. Michael, do we have any questions as of yet?
[Michael] Thanks Claire; it's been quiet in the chat box. I liked how you distinguished between the literature review and annotated bibliography though and the need for synthesis there. To remind students, if you have questions, feel free to put those in the Q&A box. With that being said you can go forward.
[Claire] Thanks, Michael. We do have a webinar about annotated bibliographies if you are curious about those.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: Writing Tips: Paraphrasing
Audio: [Claire] All right, We're going to go through writing tips and I have a bunch more practice options for us. One of the skills you need for writing a strong literature review and for writing academic work in general is paraphrasing. Paraphrasing for those unfamiliar is where you present the same ideas as the source in your own words. Or you draw conclusions, you're summarizing what the source said, found, stated in your own words. That can be for multiple sources which would make it synthesis and it's bringing together those ideas. You want to read the source, look away from the source, and kind of restate the ideas, the important takeaways and ideas from that source.
You guys just kind of did a practice where you pulled out the specifics that the two of the examples I read had about why teachers are leaving. So, stating, teachers are leaving because of X is an example of a paraphrase and as long as you're not using the exact wording and order from the source, that's an effective, strong paraphrase. That's why we avoid looking at the source while paraphrase because it's easy to accidentally copy the sentence structure and word choices.
You want to avoid quoting in literature reviews. It's your job to bring together the ideas. Having a bunch of quotes isn't bringing together ideas and putting them in conversation, it’s focusing on exactly what the source said about something rather than taking the opportunity to rephrase in your own words which will allow to focus on multiple sources at once and connect those more clearly for readers.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: Writing Tips: Paraphrasing Example
Audio: [Claire] Here is an example. We have an original passage here by Conrad and Donaldson: “We define engaged learning as a collaborative learning process in which the instructor and learner are partners in building the knowledge base.” (Conrad & Donaldson, 2011, p. vii).
And here's a paraphrase: As Conrad and Donaldson (2011) noted, teachers’ collaborations with students promote students’ involvement in their own learning process.
So, you'll notice here, I didn't use the exact words in the exact order as Conrad and Donaldson. I had to use the same words like collaboration and teachers because there aren't really substitutes for those. However, I rephrased it and pulled out the essentials that I wanted to point out here. The great thing about paraphrasing, is that if 5 people paraphrased this, we probably wouldn't get the same response and it would depend on the purpose of paraphrasing at what point we're emphasizing and working toward what point we want to emphasize. There's not one right or wrong way to paraphrase and that strengthens it over quoting as well, but you want to make sure you're not copying the exact phrasing from the source in the same order because that's not paraphrase, that’s a form of plagiarism because you’re using the exact words without the quotation attribution.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: Paraphrase the quote:
Audio: [Claire] You'll get a chance to practice. Here is a quote. As I noted, there will be lots of different ways to paraphrase this quote. You're not trying to get all the ideas; you’re trying to get an idea and paraphrase it. I will go ahead and read this aloud and give you a few minutes to work on it: “With increased computing memory and processing speed, analyses of missing data can now be accomplished by researchers without costly specialized software programs. However, many researchers are unaware of the importance of reporting and managing missing data, and editors have generally not insisted that authors provide this essential information” (Schlomer et al., 2010, p. 57).
So, what's a paraphrase of an idea or piece of information that you can all pull out here? I'll give you a couple of minutes to work on that. [Presenter goes on mute and waits as students work to paraphrase the quote in the chat. As students enter paraphrases in the chat box, the presenter pulls out some exemplars in another pod titled Paraphrases.]
I’m seeing some great answers here. I'm going to talk through a couple of the ones I've pulled and then go over a couple examples I've worked on as well. So, we have time to go through the other practices I have as well. But if you're still working on your example, go ahead and keep typing.
A possible example might be According to Schlomer et al. – and most of you are doing a great example of providing that citation. I don’t think I mentioned that as a requirement, but of course, with a paraphrase you should have a citation -- According to Schlomer et al. (2010) many researchers have no information about different softwares which are used to analyze missing data
That's a nice summary of the central idea. I would probably question the use of no information because I'm not sure we can verify that or that's exactly what the original source was saying so much as that he used the term unaware, which I think the term is a little different. But that’s a really nitpicky response; in general, they're pulling together the takeaway there.
Another example, Researchers who lack specialized data software often miss opportunities to manage and report missing data (Schlomer et al., 2010). We're talking about the specialized software causing people to miss data. That's soft a different interpretation here that I would be interested to see more of building on the actual document itself.
Scholmer (2010) asserts that researchers can analyze missing information in a cost-effective manor with the help of increased memory and processing speed
These are a few examples of how we might pull together this information. As you all noted, we're talking about recovering the missing data -- that it's easier now than it was before but that researchers might not know to look for the missing data. You all did a great job pulling that out. I know that's probably a complex example that is probably not in a lot of your fields. So, this is an extra mental exercise. And you all did great.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: Paraphrase the quote responses:
Audio: [Claire] Here's some additional examples that we might have used: As Schlomer et al. (2010) argued, editors should request missing data from researchers as it could lead to important analyses.
My point there might be more on the editor side of things rather than focused on the software or researchers; again, the paraphrase will depend on the context in which you're using it. That is what makes it great and unique to your purpose in a literature review.
Another example might be: New technology has made it more important for researchers to provide missing data as well as any information obtained during their studies (Schlomer et al., 2010).
So here we’re focused on the importance of the missing data and why that matters. In a lot of your paraphrases, you were focused more on the process and that it’s easier now and that's totally fine and would just be a different document with a different purpose. Great job everybody.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: Writing Tips: Synthesizing Ideas
Audio: [Claire] Let's keep moving forward. Now that we’ve worked on paraphrasing, another writing tip for your literature review is that aspect of synthesis. You have these different pieces of information. These dots represent the different pieces of information and then you put them all together with your own analysis, interpretation, and evaluation to create a new idea, perspective, or conclusion, and that's synthesis.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: Respond to the poll:
Audio: [Claire] So, it's just really intense analysis from a lot of different sources. All right. So, let's do a quick poll. Which of the following could be included in an example of synthesis?
We have the choices over in the poll box. Comparison, contrast, important ideas, or missing information. [Presenter pauses for answers].
My mic was off there while I took a sip of water. I've seen a lot of great responses. It's a little bit of a trick question because comparison, contrast, important ideas, and highlighting missing information could all be including in synthesis. You can’t strictly speaking include missing information but you could highlight there's a gap and that shows strong synthesis. You're going to want to bring up those important ideas from the different sources and talk about how they connect and what they build on. You're probably going to need to compare and contrast the different sources and what they said about a particular topic in order to do so. You need all these tools to have strong synthesis.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: Writing Tips: Synthesizing Ideas
Audio: [Claire] Here's another example of synthesis and thinking about questions to ask yourself as you're working on synthesis. I'll read the paragraph first:
Education leaders are aware of teacher attrition rates. – This is using that example we had from earlier, so that’s a nice topic sentence to clue us in to what the focus will be here. As you all noted, those two sources were talking about teacher attrition rates. -- Rizzo (2016) reported that 90% of open teaching positions are created by people leaving – and then we have the information from Siwicki about flexible schedules and more professional support. -- Thus, this research indicates a need to address teacher burn out within leadership programs, as this is an issue that affects the staff and ultimately the school.
That's the synthesis here. But part of the synthesis is putting together these ideas that build together in the summary of the different resources. We're building synthesis here and building on ideas and then we have our conclusion that synthesizes those ideas together. Even just putting these two pieces of research together is working toward synthesis because we’re saying these pieces of research are related and they have a conclusion when put together and here it is. Something you might want to ask yourself is what is the broader so what?
You've told me these pieces of research, so what is the takeaway? What is the point you want to make about this information, what idea should the reader walk away from these sentences knowing, and what broader implication does this information have?
Visual: Slide changes to the following: Write one possible way to synthesize these paraphrases:
Audio: [Claire] So, let's practice some synthesis. We have our chat here. In Shepherd’s (2015) addiction studies, the author revealed multicultural awareness as being the largest determinant of success in the program. Additionally, Ramirez and Skotsky (2017) suggested that background and demographics influenced the needs of patients, but these were overlooked in group settings.
So, this is another one from those examples we read earlier. How might we synthesize these paraphrases? If you were going to add a third sentence to these two statements, what might that third sentence say? What do you think the takeaway or overall conclusion might be here?
I'll give you a couple of minutes to go ahead and work on that and come back at a quarter to the hour. [Presenter goes on mute and allows time for students to respond to the question of Write one possible way to synthesize these paraphrases.]
Seems like we need a little bit more time which is fine. I'll wait until there are a couple of more responses before we go over them together. [Presenter goes on mute again and pauses for answers.]
Great job everybody. I know synthesizing on a clock is really hard; you will have as much time as you want when you are synthesizing on your own. And the topic will be yours, and you will have read the full articles and question. So, it's much, much easier when you’re actually doing it for your own work, I promise. But it's good practice, extra strengthening for those brain muscles.
A nice example that I saw that we might work from is: Background, demographics and multicultural awareness are the main factors for success of an addiction program.
I would challenge you to be a little bit further than that because that is sort of exactly what these sources say. I think we can do better; I think we can have a stronger synthesis that brings the ideas together more clearly.
But that is exactly kind of the exercise, right? We're pulling out, what do these have in common and they say that these three factors impact this program. Which is great.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: Write one possible way to synthesize these paraphrases response:
Audio: [Claire] And here is another potential example of synthesis for these 2 sources: Health care professions should make sure they practice multicultural awareness when working with groups as well as in one-on-one settings.
This is the further step I was talking about with that synthesis example I mentioned, which is similar to a lot of your synthesis examples. Not only are we bringing ideas together but explaining how they connect what they mean in a larger context, what they mean in the field, what they mean to practitioners, so really kind of saying here's what this means, here's the takeaway. Here's how we should act in these situations as healthcare professionals.
So, again, that'll be easier when you actually have a thesis that you’re working from and momentum to your work. But great job doing the practice.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: Common Literature Review Questions
Audio: [Claire] Common literature review questions that I'll go over really quick.
Isn’t this just an annotated bibliography? It is not. Right? An annotated bibliography just summarizes the sources and talks about how you might use them in future research or why they are effective in the field. So, while it deals with some of the same processes, it looks very different in practice. It's not just source by source. It's idea by idea and putting the sources in conversation.
How you knew what big idea or theme to write about first? I would suggest first doing research and taking notes and then do an outline of the topics you're seeing again and again, and that'll help you figure out what to write about first.
A literature review can vary in length. The one in your eventual dissertation, if you're pursuing that route, will be very long. But if it’s in an article you are going to publish in a journal, it'll be a few pages; if it’s for a course assignment, that will be determined by your assignment parameters.
I will wait for questions until the end because we have one more exercise I want to do with you all.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: What could be improved 1?
Audio: [Claire] Here's an example. I want you all to think about what could be improved? You can let me know in the chat box.
Nonverbal communication during counseling sessions may be overlooked. Women may send nonverbal cues twice as often as men during counseling sessions, but they were also recorded as saying 1.5 times as many words as men as well. There is a gap in the research regarding counselors use of nonverbal communication during sessions.
This is an example of a paragraph or part of a paragraph from a literature review. How can we make it better? Let me know in the chat box and I'll give you just a couple minutes so we have time for questions here at the end. [Presenter goes on mute and waits for students to respond to the question: What could be improved?]
One great answer is that we're not citing anything. It's pretty clear that we're using some kind of research because we have some nice specific statistics about women doing things twice as often as men. So, we know that’s definitely from research. And if you take notes as you go you will know what research it's from. So, you can go back and add the citations, right?
Visual: Slide changes to the following: What could be improved 1? Response
Audio: [Claire] We need citations. So, here's an example, you know, of where we can add those citations in, that second sentence in particular, really needs a citation to support it. And then we might want to add some additional connective language about the use of nonverbal communication with the number of words spoken.
Your drafting might look like this and that's fine too. Having a paragraph, pulling together ideas, finding what you have and then making notes for yourself. I need to add something more to build on this idea, I need an additional piece of research to support this and put into conversation. Great job.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: What could be improved 2?
Audio: [Claire] We have another one -- what could be improved in this example?
Conflict resolution skills are part of any group therapy session. Bell et al. (2018) argued that emotional regulation and the ability to manage stress must be developed in clients prior to any attempt to resolve conflict. Graham’s (2017) observations appear to disagree; Graham forwarded a theory that the ability to seek compromise is the only foundation needed to begin conflict resolution.
So, what could we use here? How could we improve this paragraph? Again, I'll give you just a couple of minutes so we have time for questions. [Presenter goes on mute and pauses as students respond to this question in the chat: what could be improved?]
These are notes about adding broader applications and tying back to your main concept or purpose. Possibly expanding on certain definitions of terms. Yeah, some of you are noting that we don't have the writer's perspective, or rather than perspective, I would prefer the writer's synthesis or analysis clarifying what the purpose of presenting this information is for the reader. I want to point out they use this great comparative term in the middle here. Gram's observations appear to disagree. That's what I'm talking about working towards that synthesis sentence. Adding the connective pieces of language between statements really help build on that as well.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: What could be improved 2? Response
Audio: [Claire] All right. So, here's a possible response is that we need that synthesis, which a lot of noted. So, we're noting that we have two different sources, we're talking about how they disagree. What's the overall takeaway here? Are we agreeing with Graham? Are we saying Bell and Graham are correct? What's the takeaway for readers? Why has the writer presented two different resources especially when they're in opposition of one another? The writer needs to make that clear to us. If we were the writer, we would want to clarify why we used these two sources and what they mean overall.
I know in these examples we're using two sources but often a literature review will use even more than two in conversation and within a paragraph. If you have 5 within one paragraph, that's not a problem. It just simplifies for our discussion today. You do need at least 2 sources for synthesis.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: Last Writing Tips
Audio: [Claire] Alright, I have a few last writing tips for us.
You want to cite carefully.
Focus on themes.
Rely on sources to help build your outline and content.
Use third person. Rather than, “I found that Bell said,” you want to just say “Bell said” or “They stated,” those types of things.
You want to review your directions. If they're not clear at all to you, talk to your faculty about them. Contact them. I've been a faculty member before and I would rather answer an email from a student clarifying directions than have to grade the student lower because they didn't understand the directions. So, ask questions.
And, be sure to use APA style throughout your document. We have course templates for that and your faculty might provide one and make sure you're using citations and references.
Visual: Slide changes to the following: Questions: Ask Now or Later
Audio: [Claire] Are there any last questions for us today, Michael?
[Michael] Nope, I think we're pretty good here. But if you guys do have questions after this session, feel free to reach out to this writing support e-mail: Writingsupport@waldenu.edu That's our general role account and you’ll get a response from a writing instructor like myself or Claire within 24 hours. That would be a way to get your questions answered.
We also offer live chat hours, so if you have a shorter question or clarification, you can contact us via our chat and we'll get you a response immediately. Our chat hours are available on the Writing Center home page.
Also, a couple of follow up things here. Incorporating Analysis and Synthesis is another webinar that would be a helpful follow up to this one. You can find this linked here. Also, Paraphrasing Source Information would be another good follow up webinar if that was something you feel you could use a little more practice on, as I everyone -- all academic writers could. That would be linked right there in the middle of the screen as well.
Lastly the Writing Center offers 1 to 1 paper review appointments. You can find more information about that on the screen as well. This is a great service. You get 1 to 1 feedback tailored to your work. That can be really useful if that's something you're interested in. Without further ado I want to thank Claire for being an awesome presenter and for you being an awesome audience. Have a great day.