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When writing a research article, you are joining an ongoing conversation. The role of the literature review is to help you get a sense of that conversation and of how you can contribute to it by adding your own voice. This assignment is not a “book report”. Rather, the purpose is for you to survey published work in the fields of sociology, criminology, and others, with the purpose of setting an agenda for future research. A literature review is not a random listing of previous work, but rather assesses previous work for the purposes of suggesting further work. The logic behind the literature review you are writing is to make a case why your topic (research agenda) is appropriate and necessary. Remember, the goal here is to analyze, synthesize, and summarize existing research. What should my literature review look like? Below are guidelines for drafting your mini literature review for this project. • Briefly characterize your area/ focus of research and what particular problem or question you plan to address. • After compiling 4-6 key studies, summarize how the authors addressed this area of research and why or how it is relevant to the field and how it pertains to your topic. Your literature review should answer the question: how am I standing on the shoulders of others? That is, how does this source add to the current body of literature and how may it be used to inform my research? • Don’t forget to cite properly throughout the literature review AND provide a reference page at the end of your finished product (doesn’t count in page length). • Your literature review should be approximately 3-6 pages long (double-spaced in Times New Roman 12-point font). This assignment will be graded on content, organization, and mechanics. 100 points total for the final draft. Content: 60 (30 for 1st draft) • The mini literature review clearly demonstrated an understanding of the topic at hand. The purpose of the research was made clear and was well-grounded in prior research. • The research question (purpose of the review) was clear and related to our course content in some meaningful way. • Choices of academic sources were appropriate and the link to the current topic for each was clearly established. • Both strengths of existing research and gaps in existing research as they pertain to the topic of study were made clear. • Claims were well backed by research. Organization: 25 (12.5 for first draft) • The mini literature review was well-organized, preferably using headings and subheadings where appropriate. • Ideas and main topics were clearly marked by paragraph breaks and introductory/ concluding sentences • Ideas and topics for inquiry flowed in a logical manner without skipping back and forth from topic to topic. Mechanics: 15 pts. (7.5 for first draft) • Paper was free from numerous typos to include spelling and grammar errors. • Punctuation was used to guide the reader through the paper. • Formatting met specifications to include spacing, font, and citations. • Paper was written for an academic audience (professional tone) and was free from unnecessary shorthand, abbreviations, and “text talk”.
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