Qualitative Research Methods Preliminary Literature Review Discussion

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Qualitative Research Methods

Instructions for Preliminary Literature Review

In two double-spaced pages (in addition to a bibliographic third page citing at least five academic sources), summarize and synthesize the prior research on your topic and describe why additional research is necessary to more fully address the topic you proposed in your research interest statement.

Directly answer the following underlined questions in your review. The sub-questions I have listed under each main question are intended to help you think about how to address each of the main questions. Your review should include any necessary in-text citations and a bibliography comprised of a full list of references using the ASA citation style.

  1. Which perspective on the previous research guides your framing of the topic?

What is the overall focus of your review? Make sure you begin the review with a relevant thesis statement to guide your reader’s attention. A roadmap of the review would also be helpful, as in: “The previous research on [your topic] has focused on three main areas of inquiry…”

  1. How have others pursued your research topic?

What specific topical areas did they explore? What specific research questions did they ask? Which methodological approaches (quantitative, qualitative, or mixed) have other researchers used to address your topic?

  1. What major findings did the previous research reveal?

What findings/data already exists on your topic? What patterns or trends in the data emerged in these previous studies? What processes, experiences, or relationships have been explored regarding your topic? How have these processes, experiences or relationships been explained? What theories did previous researchers offer to explain their findings? What correlations have quantitative scholarship found but been unable to explain qualitatively?

  1. Given the previous research on your topic, why is your research necessary?

Does the existing literature include any gaps or errors that your research could help address? Are there any disagreements in the previous literature that your research might help adjudicate? How will your research contribute to the larger academic conversation about your topic?


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