Literature Review Assignment

The purpose of this assignment is to conduct a review of the literature that currently exists on the topic you have chosen. The review must include at least 12 empirical research articles from peer-reviewed journals that pertain to your topic. This assignment also provides you an opportunity to continue mastering your use of the American Psychological Association (APA) publication guidelines for proper citation of sources.

Basic outline for the literature review:

Introduction to the topic (about two paragraphs in length)

What is the area of interest? What is the identified research problem under study?

Describe the scope of the problem (i.e., How many individuals are affected by the problem?).

Why is this an important problem to study? Why is this an important area of research for the social work profession?

Synthesis of the journal articles

In this section, you should draw on your literature review summary tables to synthesize and evaluate the information you have gained from reading the journal articles you chose. You must include a minimum of 12 research articles, but you can supplement with other peer-reviewed research. Articles should be published within the last five years and never more than 10 years old. Research studies should always be referred to in the past tense as they have already been completed. Your synthesis of the literature should address the following:

Based on your research into the current literature about your topic, what is known about this topic? Look for patterns and results of studies that agree or disagree.

Where is the research on your topic weak? What is still unknown about this topic?

Look for patterns in the way researchers use terms and the kinds of problems they have in defining variables or analyzing data.

Do not present each article one after another. Present the literature as a whole and try and relate the information to your study. What does it say about your variables? Is there any information about your population of interest? Essentially, you are synthesizing the available knowledge as it relates to your topic.

Remember that this is a special type of paper. Your opinions, while probably superior, do not belong here. Everything you state or report must be cited. Avoid direct quotations.

Details to consider in your synthesis- consistencies and differences across studies:

The purpose of the journal article (i.e., hypothesis, objective, or research question)

What type of research design was used? (i.e., qualitative, quantitative, survey, evaluative, single-subject)

What are the independent variables and dependent variables ? If it is not an explanatory study, identify/name the variables.

How were the variables measured?

Date data were collected (should not be more than 10 years previous)

What type of sampling method did the authors use? From what group did they get their sample? How many people participated in the study? What type of people were they?

What were the study’s findings?

What were the study problems or limitations? What did you see? Which ones did the authors mention?

Conclusion Summary of material across the articles (about one paragraph in length):

Summarize the key points you have developed in the body of the paper. Lead the reader directly from what is known to your specific research problem. Overall, what can you say is known about this topic? Summarize and integrate the knowledge in brief. Is there general agreement among the authors of these journal articles? If there is disagreement, what were some possible reasons for this? What is still unknown about your topic; how does this lead to your proposed study?

Formatting requirements:

Your paper should be double-spaced, in a 12-point size, using Times New Roman font with pages numbered. Your paper should be 8-10 pages in length, excluding your reference page and title page.

Follow the American Psychological Association (APA) publication guidelines (6th edition) for this assignment. Using the APA publication guide, include a reference page for all of the journal articles used in your literature review.

Points will be deducted for citation, punctuation, spelling, or grammatical errors

Points Available

Points Earned

Introduction. Provides clear statement and identification of research problem, discusses scope of problems and importance of problems with adequate citations in the literature


Synthesis of Journal Articles. Provides comprehensive review of 12 empirical articles, identifies similarities and differences, strengths and weaknesses of study designs, discusses how articles address the identified research problem, clearly links back to statement of problem; identifies main themes and subthemes relevant to identified problem


Conclusion. Provides comprehensive summary of synthesis results, identifies broad areas of agreement and disagreement in the literature, clearly connects to research problem identified in Introduction




Includes 12 appropriate empirical articles

APA formatted paper (title page, page numbers, in-text citations, reference page)

Minimal spelling/grammar issues

Literature properly synthesized (not copied or listed)


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