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Webinar Transcripts

Writing Literature Reviews in Your Graduate Coursework

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Presented June 10, 2019

Last updated 8/1/2019

 

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Housekeeping

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  • Help
    • Ask in the Q&A box.
    • Choose “Help” in the upper right-hand corner of the webinar room

Audio: Hi everyone and welcome. Thank you so much for joining us today. We’re so happy you could be here today on this lovely afternoon, at least it is here in Minneapolis. My name is Beth Nastachowski and I will be facilitating today’s session. And I wanted to go over a couple of quick housekeeping notes before we start here. First is that we are recording this session and we’ll be posting the recording in our webinar archive within 24 hours. So, if you have to leave for any reason or you’d like to come back and review this session you are more than welcome to do so.

Additionally, note that all of the sessions that we present live in the writing center are recorded and available. So, feel free to look through those webinar archives and find a session that might be useful for you in either extending what we are talking here today or talking about something else that might be a little bit different bit something that you might be interested in learning about.

Beyond that additionally note that we also have lots of ways for you to interact with the session today. So, Kacy has a number of chat activities that she’ll be using today, so please be sure to interact with her and your fellow classmates through those. Additionally, the slides here are also interactive, so if there are links to further information and further resources those are live and you can click on those and they will open up on a new tab on your browser.

You can also download the slides that Kacy has here in the files pod that’s at the bottom right hand corner, so feel free to do that. And then also note that we have the questions box on the right-hand side as well. So, I’ll be monitoring that questions box throughout the session today, so feel free to send me any questions or comments that you have. Additionally, note that we have email address and live chat hours for the writing center we welcome any questions or comments you have through those as well. We’ll make sure to display that information at the end of the session but we like to just let you know if the session ends early. Or if you think of a question after the end of the session, feel free to send those through our email or the live chat hours.

Finally, if you have any questions, I’m sorry, if you have any technical issues please let me know in that Q&A box, I’m happy to help and I have a couple of tips and tricks, I’m happy to provide you. But there is also the help button at the time right hand corner of this screen.

And then the final note I would make here is as well is that normally we would have captioning set up for this session. We’re having a few technical difficulties with the captioning pod, so just know that we will try to get that set up as we go here through the session. But if it isn’t available and you do need captioning, I’ll send a message about this in the Q&A box as well, but just note that our recording, we’ll make sure to post the captioning with our recording as well. So, if that’s something that you need, feel free to let me know in that Q&A box and we can work out an alternative way to get that to you.

Alright with that, Kacy I’ll hand it over to you.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the title of the webinar, “Writing Literature Reviews in Your Graduate Coursework” and the speaker’s name and information: Kacy Walz Writing Instructor, Walden University Writing Center

Audio: Thanks Beth, and thanks again everybody for joining us today. My name is Kacy Walz. I am a writing instructor here at the Walden University Writing center. And I am excited to talk to you about literature reviews, because I actually really like writing myself. And I think that they are really good helpful writing steps in larger projects.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Learning Objectives

  • Define literature reviews as a document / type of assignment
  • Explain the purposes and benefits of literature reviews
  • Name the steps for completing a literature review
  • Identify the content and organization of a literature review

Audio: For our webinar today, we have a few different objectives, so by the end we hope you’ll be able to define literature review as a document and as a type of assignment. Explain the purposes of literature reviews and how they benefit you as a writer. The steps for completing a literature review will be more familiar to you. And you’ll be able to identify the content and organization of a literature review. So basically, just knowing how to identify those and what one should look like.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: What is a literature review?

  • Sources
  • Evidence
  • Synthesis
  • Literature
  • Review

Audio: So, what is a literature review. Basically, a literature review, is when you take evidence from different sources and you synthesize or create something new out of that evidence and you present it to your reader. That’s a literature review.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: What is a literature review?

https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/webinars/graduate#s-lg-box-18447417

Global organization of research by ideas, topics, and trends across sections

Thesis: High school principals can effectively enact change in their schools by embracing educational leadership strategies.

Section 1: Traits for effective educational leadership

  • Has influence and the ability to achieve teacher buy-in
  • Able to clearly communication with the community
  • Can create and implement a strategic plan

Section 2: Tools for effective educational leadership

  • Use and communicate data effectively
  • Collaborative decision making
  • Leading by example

Audio: And then we talk about different ways of organizing, particularly in things like literature reviews but it’s important in any kind of writing. The first, organizational level is the global organization and that’s basically your entire paper so really zooming out and looking at the structure of all of your writing. So, you’re looking at organizing, in a literature review, you’re looking at organizing by ideas rather than splitting up authors and writing about single sources, you are connecting those different resources by their ideas and their topics across these different sections.

So, in this example we have the thesis: High school principals can effectively enact change in their schools by embracing educational leadership strategies. So, my argument is, I want to promote these educational leadership strategies. Using the resources and the research that I’ve already done; I’ve come up with two different main topics that I want to organize my sources around. So, I have, I need to talk about the traits for effective educational leadership, basically explain what that is. And then also provide some tools for using that effectively.

So, from my research I’ve taken past influence and the ability to achieve teacher buy-in, able to clearly communicate with the community, sorry about that typo, can create and implement a strategic plan and then in my actual literature review, I will put all those different ideas in discussion and I’m kind of assuming here form this outline that each of these ideas is coming from a different source. So, these different sources are going to connect in that one idea, and then the same thing for section two. This is just my outline giving me a sense that these are the main ideas that I want to talk about in terms of explaining effective educational leadership or what effective educational leadership looks like.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: What is a literature review?

Local comparison of researchers’ ideas within a paragraph to present a new perspective

              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.

Summaries of research     Synthesis of research

Audio: And then we look at local organizations and that’s when you really, looking at each single paragraph. So, the global organization your zooming out and then the local comparison or the local organization you’re zooming in. So here we have this would be maybe the result of that outline that we looked at previously. I won’t read it all to you, but you’ll be able to see in this paragraph we’ve got a number of different sources, a number of different authors and they are in discussion with each other.

So, I have used Gillingham et al., The Education Trust, Smiths document. And I put those all together to create my own synthesis, my own idea, which is that underlined portion. These recent studies support the idea that the ability to hold is an important trait. While the research does not seem to control for other factors, this does still suggest that emotional intelligence may play a role larger than or equal to strategic planning. So that’s my own addition and if you want some more information about synthesis you can check out that link.

But basically, what I’m telling my reader with that sentence there is that I’m using all of these resources together. So, they’re not arguing with each other; one’s not further developing more than another. Basically, I’m just presenting different arguments for the same, or different pieces of evidence for the same argument.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Where do we see literature reviews?

  • Final doctoral studies
  • Capstone or thesis
  • Major assessment
  • Part of a larger assignment
  • Standalone
  • Assignment

Audio: So, where do we see literature reviews. So of course, you’ll see literature review in final doctoral studies, in a capstone or a thesis. Also, sometimes they are assigned as a major assessment, so like at the end of a course. They can be part of a larger assignment or they can be a stand-alone assignment, so sometimes, obviously with those final doctoral studies those capstones or thesis, you’re going to be using a literature review as part of that bigger project, but sometimes it can be part of a smaller assignment, maybe you only have three or four sources or you can be asked to do it all on its own.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Purpose of a Literature Review

Visible, polished version of your research notes and thought process

  • Prepare for larger, research-based assignment
  • Provide context
  • Develop research and critical thinking skills

Audio: So basically, you can think of a literature review as a very polished version of all the notes that you’ve taken throughout your research and your reading and your different ideas. This is really important because doing this, practicing that synthesis is going to prepare you for those larger research-based assignments. When you get to that capstone, the proposal document, something like that. When you start looking to publish, you’ll have a good sense of how to really effectively organize that information.

It provides context so like I said in that previous example, if the synthesis is explaining how I’m using all those pieces of information. So rather than just spitting out facts or spitting out citations I’m clarifying how I’m using that for my reader. And writing literature reviews helps you develop research and critical thinking skills. because we need to do both of those to create a strong literature and those are both very important aspects of your entire program and into your academic career in general.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Content of a Literature Review

  • Evidence from multiple sources
  • Synthesis and commentary on sources
  • Other requirements in your assignment directions

Also review the directions for:

  • Number of sources
  • Types of sources
  • Length requirements

Audio: So, what does a literature review contain. So first off, evidence from multiple sources, that’s a really important one that can sometimes be over looked. In a literature review you are not only mentioning multiple sources but your using evidence from those sources. It should always include synthesis and commentary on those sources. That’s that context, you should be able to give the literature review to someone else and they should be able to understand exactly how you’re using all of that evidence. And then of course there might be some other requirement in your assignment directions. So maybe specific sources are required, maybe they want you to do a little bit of reflection or something else. It’s always important to double check to make sure you’re using those sources.

A few other things to make sure you’re paying attention to in literature prompts, the number of sources, sometimes that gets specified. The types of sources, this is another really important piece, I think of I think any, body assignment or piece of writing, you want to make sure you’re using strong pieces of evidence because you want your argument to be strongly supported. And then also length requirements, having a sense is this going to be a very broad and kind of brief look at these sources or can I really get in depth, do I have the page space to provide more details?

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Literature Review Assignment Directions

In week 4, you continue to develop your group project. You will locate peer reviewed journal articles which support your rationale. You will continue to search the Walden Library databases for peer-reviewed articles that support the rationale for your Group Proposal. This stage of your proposal will require you complete a literature review and proposal:

  • Each member in the group should select at least one recent (published in the past 5–10 years) peer-reviewed journal article in APA format that supports the rationale for the group.
  • Summarize each source to best highlight the supporting ideas in each.
  • Focus on the leadership skills and/or training that experts recommend
  • Refine and clearly state your group objectives in measurable terms. (What can group members expect to change as a result of participating in your group?)
  • Outline the practical considerations for your group. This should include group size, screening procedure, location of meetings, and necessary informed consent. Determine if the group is to be an open or closed group, how you plan to recruit members, the number of expected sessions, and the group structure.
  • Consider any additional leadership skills and/or training which might be required.

We see:

  • Number, type, and age of sources
  • Literature review directions
  • Proposal directions

Audio: So, here’s a specific example of a set of assignment directions that you might get for a literature review project. And this is actually from a Walden course, so if it looks familiar that might be why. And so, we have in week 4, you continue to develop your group project. You will locate peer reviewed journal articles which support your rationale, so right away we know that there’s a specific type of source. You need peer reviewed journal articles. Not using chapters from books, not looking different encyclopedic entries, these have to be peer reviewed journal articles.

You’ll continue to search the Walden library databases for peer reviewed articles that support the rationale for your group proposal. This stage of the proposal will require you to complete a literature review and proposal. So, again, there we have, you know you’re going to be writing a literature review, you’re going to follow the different steps we talk about in this webinar.

Each of these bullet points is an important step or an important piece of the prompt. So, we have each member in your group should select at least one peer reviewed journal article. In this sense, recent means five to ten years old. So, when you’re looking for that number and type of resources, you need to make sure that it was not published more than ten years ago.

Summarize each source and then focus on the leadership skills and training that experts recommend. These are the things you want to think about while your reading and then be able to explain. And then here in the green underline we have the proposal directions. We don’t necessarily need to look at that. We have different webinars for those resources. But you can kind of, if you are watching the recording and can pause this and want to take a quick read through of this different direction. You can see how the proposal portion of this paper is going to connect to your literature review. And just kind of develop it. You are providing background so that you can get into your own idea, your own argument and your own ideas.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: What should be included in this literature review?

In a literature review, no longer than 2 pages, summarize 3-5 recent (within the last 5 years) 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.

Audio: So, what should be included in this literature review? So, we have this prompt, in a literature review, no longer than two pages, summarize three to five recent, within the last five years, articles on the topic of effective group counseling. Source’s should reflect best practices, and the review should highlight the trends and the gap that currently exist.

So, here we have, this is a pretty short literature review. So, again, going back to thinking about what kind of information, and how in-depth you’re going to go, you’re probably giving a more general overview. Especially because you need to include at least three to five articles. You have to include more articles than you have pages to talk about. So, you’re not going to really get into detail with those sources. And then here for this assignment, recent means within the last five years. So, some of the articles that might have been acceptable for the previous assignment are not going to be acceptable in this situation.

And then you want to look at this second portion of the prompt to understand exactly what your literature review should be doing. Literature reviews can present different arguments and different ideas from the same kinds of resources. But in this specific instance your looking to reflect the best practices and the trends in group counseling that are of interest to these articles. And then also, what’s not being discussed. What are these authors forgetting? Or what could be happening?

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Creating a Literature Review

Audio: When you create a literature review. First you want to review your resources, and maybe conduct some additional research. So, lots of times, assignments will ask you to go outside the course work and find peer reviewed articles of your own that are brilliant of course, but kind of establishing that you are familiar with the research process. So, first off, just making sure that you have the resources to meet the expectations.

Then you want to read and take notes. There’s a link here to the literature review matrix which I talk a little bit more about later on but I think it’s a great tool it’s a really great idea to book mark that.

And then, talk, write and think and we say talk because I think that talking out loud and hearing your ideas outload is a great way to fully understand what’s going on in each resource and then that’s so important for paraphrasing and for putting that information into a literature review, into a discussion with other resources. Once you really familiarize yourself with those resources, you’re going to look for those big ideas or themes.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Finding Themes or Big Ideas

  • Topic

* Dog breeds

* Dog temperaments

  • Topic

* Calm dogs are good for families of young children

Audio: What is the difference between a theme and a big idea -- I am sorry, and a topic or argument.

So, topic, for example, is something that no one is really going to argue with you that this is what the paper is about. Right? So, dog breeds. If I I’m reading an article talking about dogs and all the different breeds of dogs, I do not think anybody is going to argue that the paper is actually about raising chickens or something completely different. Anybody reading can see, this paper is talking about dog breeds.

On the other hand, if I say calm dogs are good for families of young children, now I've introduced an argument. So that topic is dog breeds or dog temperaments in this specific situation. But maybe someone else wants to argue that actually young children need active dogs to keep them active or something else, I'm trying to make this up on the top of my head. So, that is where you get into that argument portion of presenting something that a reasonable person could argue with.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Finding Themes or Big Ideas

  1. 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.
  2. Shepherd (2015) noted that in successful groups, counselors saw people seeking counseling as “cultured beings,” or individuals whose backgrounds affect the topic of counseling outside of the topic itself. In Shepherd’s addiction studies, the author revealed multiculturalism as being the largest determinant of success in the program.
  3. Ramirez and Skotsky (2017) argued that many counselors identified patient needs as being personal preferences, which made those needs easy to minimize or dismiss. The authors suggested that background and demographics influenced the needs, but these were overlooked in group settings.

Requires active reading and note taking

Audio: Looking at those differences, we have a couple of different examples. Looking at all of these different, either citations or paraphrases, this is going to require active reading and note taking in order to really do this well in your own writing. First, Smith 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.

This first part of what I have cited from Smith, the topic is group needs or different needs of the group members. Right? But now I am adding this argument that’s talking about, that is bringing cultural issues into that formula. So, it is important for the counselor to be aware of these different group needs, but also to be aware of different cultural issues that might impact the way the group dynamic works.

And then, I’ll just go over the third one, Ramirez and Skotsky argued that many counselors identified patient needs as being personal preferences, which made those needs easy to minimize or dismiss. The authors suggested that background and demographics influenced the needs, but these were overlooked in group settings.

So, you can kind of see how I might put Smith into discussion with Ramirez and Skotsky and even though Ramirez and Skotsky are talking about patients individually and their specific needs, we can also talk about how those individual needs, again, will fit into the bigger topic of group counseling and especially adding in that piece about, it’s easy for professionals to minimize or dismiss the personal preferences of patients, but this is something that is really important, that’s part of those cultural issues that is important to be thinking about in terms of group counseling.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: What theme or big idea appears in these sources? Chat 1

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.

Audio: Now we have our first chat, and your chance to provide some of your own ideas here. We have this excerpt, sorry we have a couple of different citations from Rizzo and from Sawcki, and you are going to look at the excerpt and pull out the big ideas or themes from that topic. They may be different, so even if you see somebody put something in the chat box and you say, that is not at all what I thought -- it does not necessarily mean either one of you is right or wrong -- that is kind of the beauty of research and the beauty of literature reviews in general.

I’m going to go on mute and give you guys two minutes [in audible]

[silence as participants respond]

I want to clarify because I think I might have been confusing in the last slide. Here, rather than looking for the topic of this little excerpt, or these excerpts, you're looking for the theme or the big idea. So, what is that argumentable thing [inaudible] what part of this is an argument that these authors might be presenting or that the writer who put these authors together might be presenting? That is what you want to look for in terms of the themes are the big idea. I apologize if that was confusing. I may have presented that a little bit awkwardly.

[silence as participants respond]

[inaudible] Please continue to do so. But I thought earlier the reason why I wanted to chime in, is because I saw a lot of people picking up right away on the topics. These pieces of information are talking about teachers leaving. So that is my main topic probably nobody is going to argue with me that actually is talking about teachers giving extra credit or something like that. We can look at that and we can say, see, Rizzo is reported that 90% of open teaching positions are created by people leaving. With these survey teachers left the profession within their first five years, the commonality there is that teachers are leaving.

So, if you want to look at the theme or big idea.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: What theme or big idea appears in these sources?

  • Teachers need professional support
  • Issue of burnout related to teachers leaving
  • Teaching is an undervalued profession

Audio: These are a few of the different ideas I came up with based on those two pieces. Thank you again so much for participating. So, first, teachers need professional support, that could be something that as a writer I could argue with those two pieces of information. I could talk about the issue of burnout in general related to teachers leaving. So, I think I saw a couple of you talking about the reason that teachers leave is because they are burned out. Right? That’s an argument. Someone else might say, no, the issue is the pay scale, I saw a couple of you were writing that as well. Looking at that as an argumentative piece, we can see how reasonable people would maybe have different prompts on that.

And then the third one I saw often was, teaching is an undervalued profession. So, hopefully what these examples show you too, is that different people looking at different sources are going to notice different things. They are going to pick up on different elements, and that is why it is so important that you provide that synthesis and analysis rather than just putting pieces of information, paraphrased information into your papers, putting them next to each other and being like okay reader you figure out how these are connected. Because they are not necessarily going to pick up on the specific argument that you want to present.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Organizing a Literature Review

  • Traditionally organized one big idea or theme at a time
  • Focus is on ideas, not individual sources
  • Review directions

Audio: So, thanks’ again so much for participating in that.

So now we are going to talk about organizing a literature review. Traditionally these are organized by one big theme or big idea at a time. So those three different ideas that I saw, might be my thesis and then I’m going to take apart the different aspects and look at each single element as its own paragraph.

The key is focusing on ideas rather than the sources themselves. So, when you are putting them in discussion, sometimes I think the most interesting and engaging literature reviews are those that put sources that I would not automatically put into discussion together and they create this new idea. You can see how and why they are using those different sources together, because they have clearly connected it through their synthesis, right? But the key is that the ideas connect rather than the specifically the sources themselves. It is your work as a scholar that is putting those different sources into a literature review based on their ideas.

And then of course, you want to go back and review the directions to make sure you have hit all those bullet points and you have followed all the different requirements.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Organizing by One Big Idea or Theme

Topic: Healthcare for people from varying cultural contexts and backgrounds

Paragraph 1: Considering multicultural perspectives is a best practice

Paragraph 2: Develop a framework that patients are “cultured beings”

Paragraph 3: Create transparency and avoid assumptions with patients

 

Audio: So, looking at another kind of outline example we have the topic in general is healthcare for people from varying cultural contexts and backgrounds. So that’s what I'm talking about. I’m talking about different cultural context and how that will relate to healthcare.

My first paragraph I want to consider that multicultural perspectives, I’m sorry, saying considering a multicultural perspective is a best practice. I want to support that claim for a healthcare professional; you have to consider multicultural perspectives in order to provide the best possible care.

Paragraph two, I’m going to develop a framework that patients are "cultured beings". I probably need to explain what I mean by cultured beings and talk about how that is important and significant in terms of treating patients, using best practices and, of course, considering that multicultural perspective.

And then my third paragraph, great transparency and avoid assumptions with patients. So, here, this is another argument that I am presenting to healthcare professionals that they need to be transparent, they need to be very clear with why they are doing certain things or how they are doing certain things, and avoid just assuming that each patient is going to have similar responses to similar situations. In order to be culturally aware and to, again using that best practice, transparency and avoiding assumptions are really key.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Questions?

We are about halfway through the webinar. I want to take a pause for a second. Beth, do we have any questions that you think would be helpful to go over?

Beth: Yes, thank you so much Kacy, we have a lot of quick question so far. We had one student asked whether there was a maximum number of citations or sources that they could use when they are synthesizing, I wondered if you could sort of speak to that a little bit.

Kacy: Yeah, that’s a really good question. I think lots of times students want to us to give a hard and fast rule. Unfortunately, I am not really able to do that. I would say that is again where you want to look at those requirements, but also consider the different aspects of the assignment instruction. So, for example, that assignment instruction earlier that said you’re writing a two-page literature review. You’re probably not going to have the space to effectively use 10 sources in that two-page literature review. Right? I would say the maximum number of sources you want to use it in each piece of synthesis is the number where it’s going to be effective for creating that synthesis. So, that it’s going to be all of those sources are helping you to push forward in whatever argument or big idea you are presenting. Beth do you have any other you want to add?

Beth: No, that’s great, that’s fantastic. Related to that, we also had a student ask about topic sentences. I know we haven’t covered it, could you connect topic sentences with our synthesis and topic sentences and explain how those fit together?

Kacy: Sure. A good example of where it can be confusing about the topic versus the theme, idea or argument. Right? I think that topic sentences and thesis sentences can sometimes get confusing. Topic sentences are basically your way of letting your reader know what is going to be happening in the next paragraph. So, with the MEAL plan and we will talk about that a little bit more, in the second half our webinar.

But the L in MEAL plan stands for lead out, so that last sentence in your previous paragraph is helping your reader into the next paragraph. But you still need to let that reader know what exactly to expect, what is going to go on in the next paragraph. A topic sentence is going to present again a more general, probably less arguable piece of the general context for your paper. Before getting into your evidence and that argument you want to present overall.

Anything else to add, Beth?

Beth: I don't think so, I think it is just sort of reminding or remembering that synthesis happens within full paragraphs, and it is happening with our writing as a whole. Just keeping in mind those writing best practices. I think that’s it for now at least.

Kacy: Thank you so much. So now let's keep going.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Writing Tips: Paraphrasing

  • Present the same ideas as the source, but in your own words.
  • Paraphrase: Focused on restating 1+ ideas of the source
    • Avoid quoting in literature reviews
  • Read source
  • Avoid looking at source
  • Write the ideas that matter
  • Effective Paraphrasing Strategies

 

Audio: Here are some different writing tips. Now we are getting into the nitty-gritty of actually writing a literature review. The first step is paraphrasing. This is a really tricky, I think, but super, super important part of scholarly writing. And we have a lot of resources for paraphrasing because we know that it’s tricky and really important. You can check some of those out with the link in the corner.

Basically, when you are paraphrasing, you’re presenting the same idea as the source you are using but putting it into your own words and your own sentence structure. Really key, you're not just swapping out synonyms. You are actually revising or reorganizing that idea. So, it is really important that it is the same idea as the source, you’re not misrepresenting whatever text it is that you are citing, but it is in your own words and phrasing.

When you paraphrase, you want to focus on restating one or more ideas from the source. You want to avoid quoting in literature review's and just generally in APA style and for Walden you usually want to avoid including a lot of quotations in your paper, which is again, why effective paraphrasing is so important, because of course you need to support your argument and use evidence in your writing, but APA style doesn’t like a lot of direct quotation. So, in order to paraphrase, these are the steps that I usually suggestion. So of course, you are going to read your source, make sure you have a good understanding of that source, by turning that paper over or looking away from that computer screen and trying to restate what it is that you just read.  Either writing it down or talking to someone, just getting out these ideas in general. And then writing down what the main ideas that you pulled out are.

Still not looking at the source because I think that is where we get into the danger of simply switching words around. Because if you’re looking too closely at the source and it can be really easy to copy the basic structure. But getting the ideas out in general will help you put the paraphrase into your paper, so not trying to be overly concerned with how your presenting ideas or that you are using the most scholarly tone or correct grammar, just taking those notes so that you have a good sense of the most important ideas in that source.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Writing Tips: Paraphrasing Example

Original Passage:

“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)

Paraphrase:

As Conrad and Donaldson (2011) noted, teachers’ collaborations with students promote students’ involvement in their own learning process.

Audio: This is an example of paraphrase. In our original passage we have, we define engaged learning as a collaborative learning in which the instructor and learner are partners in building the knowledge base.

I don't want to use a direct quotation but I do want to use this information, Conrad and Donaldson have provided a good piece of evidence for me, so want to paraphrase. As Conrad and Donaldson noted, teacher’s collaborations with students promote student’s involvement in their own learning process.

So, you can see how we have changed around the structure of the sentence a little bit. Instead of defining the collaborative learning process as engaged learning, we are using that information to present their overall argument of collaboration with students promoting their own learning success.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Paraphrase the quote: Chat 2

“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, Bauman, & Card, 2010, p. 57).

Audio: Now we have another opportunity for you guys to do some practice. Here we have a quotation for you to paraphrase. Again, this is probably going to require some creativity and you might have a different paraphrase, well you will have a different paraphrase than what other people put, in the checkbox, a don't let that discourage you. Because this one is a little tricky, let's say 3-4 minutes to put your answers in. I know that sounds like no time at all but I will just go on mute for a while.

[silence as participants respond]

These are great. And I know this is a really tricky practice, so I want to make sure if you are still typing, please continue to do so I just want to go over a few examples I took from the chat box.

The original piece I have is, with increased computing memory and processing speed analysis 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.

Here are some of the paraphrases that I saw in the chat box.

So, both researchers and editors have not yet understood the value of reporting missing data despite the ease of doing so given computer and softer technology that exist today. Yeah that’ a great paraphrase. So, we have taken this idea that there are ways, and maybe more simple and less expense ways to use that and to explain the value and understand the data. But researchers themselves and editors that are publishing that material are not paying close enough attention to notice that yet.

We have Scholomer, Bauman and Card, stated that the improvements in computer technology allow researchers to analyze missing data without specialized software. In spite of this, researchers do not understand the significance of this and editors don't hold them to account. Another really strong great paraphrase. The only addition I want to make is that you would need to include a citation with that second sentence even though you have a narrative citation in the beginning for APA style, every time you use information from an outside source, even if the sentences are connected, you need to include that citation so that just clarifies that, this idea  that the researchers are not understanding the significance, that’s not your own argument. That is what the authors argument, that is what Scholomer, Bauman and Card argued.

And then "regardless of enhanced technology and its effect on software programs, researchers need to be aware of missing data and the need for reporting and managing said data." So, this again, this is another really strong paraphrase. And it is taking another step, so in the original quotation it’s clear and a lot of you are picking up on this, that the Scholomer, Bauman and Card want to say that missing data is important and that people who are reading about different studies need access to that missing data a lot of you have picked up on that which is awesome.

Here it is taking that, another step further and making it an argument. Not only is it important, but researchers need to be aware of how that missing data is necessary for reporting. Again, we are maintaining that general idea of the original quotation, nobody has manipulated or altered the main argument. But we are presenting the same ideas in general in different phrasing and with different words. So great job, again, that’s a really difficult activity, you are given such a short time to do it so I am really impressed by all of the examples I see.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Paraphrase the quote: Chat 2

“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, Bauman, & Card, 2010, p. 57).

As Schlomer et al. (2010) argued, editors should request missing data from researchers as it could lead to important analyses.

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).

Audio: Now I'm going to move on and go over a few examples for paraphrasing that quotation. As Schlomer et al. argued, editors should request missing data from researchers as it could lead to important analyses.

I think that’s really similar to the last paraphrase that we looked at. And then, new technology has made it more important for researchers to provide missing data as well as any information obtained during their studies. And again, I think very similar to what a lot of you were writing. So, you can also see a little bit about how these different paraphrases could be used in different articles or different papers, right? So, two different readers could come up with these two different paraphrases from that same quotation, and so use that quotation to support different arguments again, I think that’s one of the really awesome things about research, you get to pick out what is most important and then present that argument.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Writing Tips: Synthesizing Ideas

  • Step 1
  • Discrete, separate pieces of information and sources
  • Step 2
  • Your analysis, interpretation, and evaluation
  • Step 3
  • New idea, perspective, conclusion

Audio: To think about synthesizing, it’s kind of sounds like a scary word at least to me, but basically what you are doing is you are taking different pieces of information, different sources and through analysis and interpretation and evaluation of all those different sources, your presenting a new idea or conclusion or argument. So, one way we think about this is you are baking a cake. And you have these different items, eggs, and flour and sugar but when you take the cake out of the oven hopefully you do not still have eggs and flour and sugar. It should be this new thing. That is what synthesis is, you are taking the different elements and putting them together to create something entirely different than the pieces on their own.

That first step is looking all at all the different information, then you analyze interpret and evaluate the pieces. Then that is kind of like the cooking of the ingredients. And then you come out with this new idea.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Respond to the poll: POLL

Which of the following could be included in a synthesis?

  1. Comparison
  2. Contrast
  3. Important ideas
  4. Missing information

Audio: We have a quick poll. Because it is a poll, we will give a little less time, but look at these four different elements and consider which should be included in a synthesis. So, if we are presenting a strong synthesis, which of these would be included? I will give you maybe one minute and we will broadcast the results and talk about them. Maybe not even a minute.

[silence as participants respond]

So, I think it’s really interesting, I kind of keep seeing these number change and sometimes they get smaller and then they get bigger again. I think what you are all picking up on here is that all four of these are things that could be included in a synthesis, right? You might be comparing different ideas and explaining how they are different. You might be, I'm sorry, you might be looking for similarities. If you are contrasting, that’s where you are looking for the differences, right? That’s another way of synthesizing information is looking at how one argument contradicts or is different than that previous argument.

Presenting important ideas, yes definitely that one was our highest result. I think because you are picking up on, that is how you organize a literature review, is by those different important ideas. You want to include that in your synthesis. And then missing information that is what you are filling in, that is your addition to the overall argument.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Writing Tips: Synthesizing Ideas

  • Topic sentence to introduce the big idea or theme
  • Present research
  • Answer the broader “so what?” question:
    • What point do you want to make about this information/analysis?
    • What idea should the reader walk away from these sentences knowing?
    • What broader implication does this information have?
  •               Education leaders are aware of teacher attrition rates. Rizzo (2016) reported that 90% of open teaching positions are created by people leaving the profession. The majority majority of teachers who quit within the first five years left the position in order to seek work with higher pay, more flexible schedules, and more professional support (Siwicki, 2017). Thus, this research indicates a need to address teacher burnout within leadership programs, as this is an issue that affects the staff and ultimately the school.

Audio: This is getting into what that question that Beth presented, looking at your topic sentence specifically to introduce the big idea or theme of that paragraph. So basically, your topic sentence is going to let your reader know the main idea of whatever it is you are talking about next. Here the example is: education leaders are aware of teacher attrition rates. I get the sense that okay we are talking about how readers are looking at attrition, talking about how they know that is a thing, they know it is a problem and so I have a general idea of where the evidence and the argument might go.

After that I’m presenting my research. Rizzo, I have Siwicki, those are those two pieces that we paraphrased earlier. Rizzo reported that 90% of open teaching positions are created by people leaving the profession. The majority of teachers, sorry there’s another typo, the majority of teachers who quit within the first five years left the position in order to seek work with higher pay, more flexible schedules, and more professional support. That is Siwicki's so I have these two pieces of evidence that are supporting my argument that comes next. "Thus this research indicates a need to address teacher burnout within leadership programs as this is an issue that affects the staff and ultimately the school." There is no citation there because that is my argument, it’s what I've taken from these different pieces of information. If you look back at the topic sentence, that awareness, that education leaders have, that builds into the idea that they should be preparing teachers for this issue since they know it is an issue, why not build that into the training programs?

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Write one possible way to synthesize these paraphrases: Chat 3

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.

Audio: Now you have the chance to do some more paraphrasing. Some more synthesis, sorry. You’re going to present one way that these different paraphrases could be synthesized together. So, remember those things from the poll, we have compare, contrast, big ideas and missing information. We are going to use these two pieces of information and create a synthesis. Since this one is a little bit trickier, I will give maybe a minute and 1/2 since we were running towards the end of our time.

[silence as participants respond]

Nope, the presentation is not quite over, we still have eight minutes. But here we can keep the chat box open;

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Write one possible way to synthesize these paraphrases: CHAT 3

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. Health care professionals should make sure they practice multicultural awareness when working with groups as well as in one-on-one settings.

Audio: I'm just going to switch the slide to a paraphrase I created. In Shepaherd’s addiction studies multicultural awareness as being the largest determinant of success in the program. Additionally, Ramirez and Skotsky suggested that background and demographics influenced the needs of patients, but these were overlooked in group settings.

So, I’ve used that information, I’ve already done the paraphrasing, and then my synthesis, health care professionals should make sure they practice multicultural awareness when working with groups, as well as in one on one settings. So that’s why I'm connecting these two different pieces of information noting that multicultural awareness is important, and then also thinking about how different individual needs affect a group setting.

You could think about lots of different ways that these two different pieces of information might come together to a new idea or new thought. I'm going to look at the chat box really quick. So, we have an example of cultural awareness is a key aspect in a successful intervention program, oversight of such could lead to failure. And so that one, I think we don't want to put the citation, because that is not necessarily what the Shephard and Skotsky are arguing but I think that is a great example of synthesizing those pieces of information. Again, another example is population diversity impacts the effectiveness of population health care.

Another great way of tying those two pieces of information together.

Since we are running a little short on time so I will move forward thank you for participating.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Common Literature Review Questions

  • Isn’t this just an annotated bibliography?
  • How do I know what big idea or theme to write about first?
  • How long should a literature review be?
  • Any other questions?

Audio: Synthesis is another really tricky but important piece.

Some common literature review questions. Isn't this just an annotated bibliography? How do I know what big idea or theme to write about first? How long should a literature review be? And then we will give more time for questions hopefully at the end. A literature review is not an annotated bibliography and that is specifically because it is organized by those big ideas and themes, rather than by the source. An annotated bibliography, you're presenting each source individually and just kind of giving an overview of what is going on in that source and how it connects your own project, but not putting the source into conversation, that is where the literature review part comes in.

I would say in terms of figuring out which theme or idea to write about first is when you want to look at what kind of information is your reader going to need before they get into certain ideas or arguments. That is why I really like to use a reverse outline because you might come up with something or pick up on something later on and realize this is important information to get to prior to looking at this detail or looking at this element of my argument. That is where we at the writing center can come in to be an outside reader and point out if we feel like maybe the ideas are confusingly organized and then using the reverse outline.

In terms of how long the real literature review should be, that is where you look at your assignment instruction, talk to the faculty member, they are very supportive and they are there to help you out, so they should hopefully be able to let you know what kind of length the literature review you will be working with. In general, it should be long enough to effectively use the different sources effectively that you are putting in conversation with one another and your reader understands how they all connect.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Last Writing Tips

  • Cite carefully
  • Stay focused on themes
  • Rely on sources
  • Use third person
  • Clarify directions
  • Use APA style

Audio: I will skip these examples and just give some last-minute or some final writing tips. Is to make sure you are citing carefully to avoid unintentional plagiarism. You want to focus on those themes and ideas and stay focused on them because otherwise that is when you get into the realm of just talking about single source. Rely on your sources. So, it is a literature review, you need to be reviewing some literature to make sure you are using the sources to promote your synthesis.

You always want to use, I am sorry, you want to use third person when talking about those different, when you're presenting different paraphrases or when you’re presenting the arguments of different scholars. So, making sure that it is really clear, what is your idea and what is someone else's.

You want to make sure you understand the directions of whatever it is you have been asked to do, however the style of literature review. And then of course use APA style.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Questions: Ask Now or Later

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Audio: It looks like one question that has come in so far is talking about how you might incorporate missing information into synthesis. I think that is a great question. So, one way to add to the general conversation, is to point out something that other scholars might have overlooked. So, for example, if I am looking at text messaging in class and I want to make an argument that text messaging is so distracting for students we should not allow cell phones in class. I can hear your grown from the ether.

So, I want to argue that and I have some information from one source that says, there are so many apps on phones nowadays that students are not able to focus on a single thing. And then I have another source that is talking about multitasking and multitasking is not really a thing, we cannot multitask, so it is dangerous or problematic to try to do so. And I am going to put those two together and say, it is difficult or almost impossible to multitask, so the access to all these different apps is creating this tension for students, and I want to say what these two scholars had overlooked however, is the ways in which cell phones might actually be beneficial in the classroom.

So I guess my argument is not about keeping them out of the classroom, but I’m pointing out that while these different studies are presenting information, and the information has been proven or there's evidence to support it maybe they should also look at this other element or maybe they should consider this other part of that larger conversation. That is how you could provide some synthesis with missing information.

Beth I think we are almost at the end of time.

Beth: No, I would just say, I know we were not able to address every single question that came in at the end, so I welcome you to email us or respond to the follow up email that we send out with webinars, we’d love to hear from you. Any last thoughts Kacy before we close out for the evening, for the day.

Kacy: Nope, I just want to reiterate that synthesis and analysis, they are really tricky, paraphrase is really tricky, keep working on it, it does get easier, but we have lots of great resources to help you out as you [inaudible].

Beth: Thank’s so much Kacy, thanks for a fantastic presentation and thank you everyone for attending today we really appreciate the time. Do reach out, let us know how we help and help answer any other questions, and we hope to see you at another webinar soon, thanks all, have a great night.