Include the qualitative, and mixed methods studies in your literature map

The qualitative, and mixed methods studies in your 

literature map. Write a narrative description of your literature map for your commit­tee or for a presentation that begins with your topic (the heading box at the top), the databases you have reviewed, the division of the literature into broad topics in the map. the specific topic that you plan to study (at the bottom box of the map), and how your topic relates to various branches in the literature (the connecting lines—what literature your study builds on and how it builds).

Composing a literature map can be challenging. Individuals seeing this map may not be familiar with this approach to organizing the literature and making a case for your study. They need to be told the intent of such a map. It takes time to develop such a map and locate literature to put into the map.

For a preliminary map, I consider collecting maybe 25 studies. For a full literature map for a dissertation or thesis. I would consider devel­oping a map with at least 100 studies. Figuring out how your study adds to the literature takes some time. It may add to several threads in your lit­erature map.

I would refrain from tying it to all of your subdivisions; select one or two subdivisions. It is also challenging to figure out what the broad topic might be for the top of the map. This is the topic to which your litera­ture map adds. 

Ask others who know about your literature, see how the research studies group according to some synthesis of the literature, and continually ask yourself what body of literature your study will contribute to. You may also have to develop several versions of your map before it comes together. Develop your map, write the discussion, and check it out with others.

Abstracting Studies

When researchers write reviews of the literature for proposed studies, they locate articles and develop brief abstracts of the articles that comprise the review. An abstract is a brief review of the literature (typically a short paragraph) that summarizes major elements to enable a reader to under­stand the basic features of the article. 

This is important information when reviewing perhaps dozens, if not hundreds, of studies. A good summary of a research study reported in a journal might include the following points:

1.      Mention the problem being addressed.

2.      State the central purpose or focus of the study.

3.      Briefly state information about the sample, population, or subjects.

4.      Review key results that relate to the proposed study.

5.      II it is a critique or methods review (Cooper, 2010), point out technical and methodological flaws in the study.

6.      When examining a study to develop a summary, there are places to look for these parts. In well-crafted journal articles, the problem and purpose statements are clearly stated in the introduction.

Janovec’s map illustrates a hierarchical design, and she used several principles of good map design:

a.      She placed her topic in the box at the top of the hierarchy.

b.      Next, she took the studies that she found in computer searches, located copies of these studies, and organized them into three broad subtopics (i.e., Justice Perceptions Formation, Justice Effects, and Justice in Organizational Change). For another map, the researcher may have more or fewer than three major categories, depending on the extent and publications on the topic.

c.       Within each box are labels that describe the nature of the studies in the box (i.e., outcomes).

d.      Also within each box are references to major citations illustrating its content.

e.      Consider several levels for the literature map. In other words, major topics lead to subtopics and then to sub-sub topics.

f.       Some branches of the chart are more developed than others. This development depends on the amount of literature available and the depth of the exploration of the literature by the researcher.

g.      After organizing the literature into a diagram, Janovec (2001) next considered the branches of the figure that provided a springboard for her proposed study. She placed a "Need to Study (or proposed study) box at the bottom of the map, she briefly identified the nature of this proposed study (Procedural Justice and Culture), and she then drew lines to past literature that her project would extend.









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