Assignment SheetProject IV Literature Review

Length & Formatting:
8-10 pages (Double-spaced, 12 pt. Times New Roman Font, 1” margins, no enlarged periods)

Grading Weight: 20% of your final grade

Citation Style: APA

Due Dates:
Topic Proposal: Friday, April 8th 2011
Rough Draft: Tuesday, April 19th 2011
Individual Conferences: Monday, April 25th & Tuesday April 26th 2011
In-Class Drafting Day: Thursday, April 28th 2011
Final Draft: Friday, April 29th 2011

General Direction & Purpose: The Literature Review, as we will see both in our textbook and in our outside reading, is common in the natural sciences, but it can be used in other academic domains as well. Its primary goal is to make the reader aware of existing research in a particular field or on a particular area of subject matter. It is the responsibility of any good scientist to test the waters of his/her particular field to see what has already been done. This is done for several very important reasons.

            1. To see what has been done already and learn from it.
            2. To see what needs to be done and learn what questions to ask.
            3. To see what gaps exist in research.
            4. To ponder what possible use or application existing research has to offer.
            5. To avoid repetitive research.
            6. To look at the limitations of previous research.
            7. To make an honest assessment of practical applications.
            8. To ultimately request funds to aid in research.
            9. To inform oneself as thoroughly as possible.

For this project you will compile and assess 7-10 resources for a literature review on a specific topic or subject matter in the sciences. This topic/subject may be related to your major, intended field of study, or future career goals – but it must be approved by me, and you must turn in a Topic Proposal sheet (we will fill these out in class). You will use the list of questions above as well as strategies which we will discuss in class to help you analyze your materials.

Audience: Imagine that you are a scientist working in a scientific field and that you have a research project in mind. Before you start this project, you would want to learn what other similar research has been done. With that in mind, your audience will be other students of science/scientists. You will be working under the premise that your audience will have some working knowledge of your topic, but not the specifics. Do not forget that it is always helpful to explain key terms.

Organization Criteria: You will organize your lit review by topic clusters/idea trends. For example, if your topic is the Effects of ADHD Treatment in Children, your idea trends might be "drug therapy," "behavioral therapy" and "psychotherapy." This will help you identify patterns and gaps in the research, and allow you to see that knowledge is an accumulative process that builds over time as more research is done and more advanced experiments are conducted. Keep in mind that the majority of your sources must be scholarly sources (from academic journals, books, etc.). You will be allowed to use no more than 2 popular sources. You must also situate your project within a historical context, and provide relevant background information.

Evaluation: I will be evaluating this project based on your attention to the rhetorical situation, in which you should clearly relate your purpose, address the needs of your audience, and create a tone appropriate to scientific writing. I will also be looking for evidence of careful, thorough, and thoughtful observation.

The topic for this project will be of your choosing. However, it should have personal relevance or resonance – you’ll find it is easier & more enjoyable to write when you care about what you’re writing – and it would be useful to you if your topic was somehow related to your major/future career. This way, the project actually becomes useful to you as you will be informing yourself about the field you someday hope to contribute to.