Outline For Literature Review

I am asking students to write an  literature review this semester, not an experimental report.  Both utlize APA writing style but have important differences.  You will be expected to know the difference after reading chapter over Communication in Psychology in the text.    

A literature review is a summary of what the scientific literature says about your specific topic or question. Often student research in APA fields falls into this category. Your professor might ask you to write this kind of paper to demonstrate your familiarity with work in the field pertinent to the research you hope to conduct.

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This is what a literature review is.  This is what I am asking you to produce as a paper for PSYC 410 this semester.

A literature review typically contains the following sections:

  • title page
  • abstract – Not formally a part of most literature reviews, but I’m requiring it this semester.  It is just a summary of main points and what you have learned (The typical word length in most journals is only 150 – 250 words…no more). Abstracts are clear and concise overviews of the literature review.
  • introduction section (the main body of the literature review) Please be sure to follow the rules of APA citation, proper method of quoting a source etc.
  • list of references (according to APA writing style)

The length of the introduction section (body) is 10 pages. Title page, abstract, and the reference section are in addition to the required ten pages for the body of the paper. The required number of sources in reference section must be at least 10 – 12.

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For more details about the term paper see the syllabus.

Be certain to also understand the difference between a literature review and an experimental report for quiz/exam purposes.

In many of the social sciences, you will be asked to design and conduct your own experimental research. If so, you will need to write up your paper using a structure that is more complex than that used for just a literature review. We have a complete resource devoted to writing an experimental report in the field of psychology here.

This structure follows the scientific method, but it also makes a paper easier to follow by providing those familiar cues that help your reader efficiently scan your information for:

  • why the topic is important (covered in your introduction)
  • what the problem is (also covered in your introduction)
  • what you did to try to solve the problem (covered in your methods section)
  • what you found (covered in your results section)
  • what you think your findings mean (covered in your discussion section)

Thus an experimental report typically includes the following sections:

  • title page
  • abstract
  • introduction
  • method
  • results
  • discussion
  • references
  • appendices(if necessary)
  • tables and/or figures (if necessary)

Again, you will be studying experimental reports in your text but your term paper is a literature revie

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