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The Literature Review
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The Literature Review
Six Steps to Success

Fourth Edition


March 2022 | 264 pages | Corwin

The essential guide—updated, expanded, and easier to use than ever.

Creating a successful literature review can be a daunting task, which is why so many researchers have relied on previous editions of this book to make the process more manageable. Using the six-step model, you’ll work seamlessly to narrow your research topic, focus your literature search, negotiate the myriad of books, periodicals, and reports about your topic—and, of course, write the review.

Updated, expanded, and reorganized to improve ease of use, the fourth edition of this bestselling handbook includes:

  • New and improved graphics ideal for visualizing the process
  • More explanations and tips, especially for writing in the early stages
  • An expanded range of learning tools
  • Additional reflection sections to direct metacognitive activities
  • Four new reference supplements

This pioneering book has provided countless graduate students and researchers with a road map to success. Its model takes you through the logical progression needed for producing a quality literature review—while taking the mystery out of the process.

 
Literature Review Flow Chart
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Authors
 
Introduction: Doing and Producing a Literature Review
Key Vocabulary

 
Introduction Overview

 
The Purpose of a Literature Review

 
The Literature Review Defined

 
The Literature Review Process

 
Mindset: Personal Dispositions on Thinking, Doing, and Deciding

 
The Ethics of Reviewing the Literature

 
Reflective Oversight

 
Plan Wisely Before You Begin

 
Summary

 
Checklist

 
Reflective Exercise

 
 
1. Step 1: Select and Define a Topic
Key Vocabulary

 
Chapter Overview

 
Task 1. Identify a Subject for Study

 
Task 2. Translate the Personal Interest or Concern Into a Research Query

 
Task 3. Link the Research Query to the Appropriate Discipline

 
Task 4. Write the Preliminary Research Topic Statement

 
Summary

 
Checklist

 
Reflective Exercise

 
 
2. Step 2: Develop the Tools of Argumentation
Key Vocabulary

 
Chapter Overview

 
Concept 1. Building the Case for a Literature Review

 
Concept 2. Arguments—the Basics

 
Concept 3. Evaluating the Basic Parts of an Argument

 
Concept 4. Understanding Claims

 
Concept 5. Building Evidence

 
Concept 6. Warrant—Logically Connecting the Evidence to the Claim

 
Concept 7. Complex Claims

 
Summary

 
Checklist

 
Reflective Exercise

 
 
3. Step 3: Search the Literature
Key Vocabulary

 
Chapter Overview

 
Task 1. Select the Literature to Review

 
Task 2. Conduct a Literature Search

 
Task 3. Refine Your Topic

 
Summary

 
Checklist

 
Reflective Exercise

 
 
4. Step 4: Survey the Literature
Key Vocabulary

 
Chapter Overview

 
Task 1. Assemble the Collected Data

 
Task 2. Organize the Information

 
Task 3. Analyze the Patterns of Data

 
Summary

 
Checklist

 
Reflective Exercise

 
 
5. Step 5: Critique the Literature
Key Vocabulary

 
Chapter Overview

 
What Is a Literature Critique?

 
Concept 1. Making the Case for the Literature Review

 
Concept 2. Descriptive Argument Patterns: Factual Reasoning

 
Concept 3. Implicative Argument Patterns: Implicative Reasoning

 
Concept 4. The Implicative Argument: Nine Basic Patterns

 
Concept 5. Backing

 
Doing a Critique of the Literature: Building the Advocacy Argument

 
Task 1. Determining the Implicative Logic Pattern Inferred by the Topic of Study

 
Task 2. Reframe Claims to Meet the Prerequisite Conditions Identified by the Selected Logic Type

 
Task 3. Build the Advocacy Argument

 
Concept 6. Fallacies

 
Concept 7. The Case Is Everything

 
Summary

 
Checklist

 
Reflective Exercise

 
 
6. Step 6: Write the Review
Key Vocabulary

 
The Writing Process: Overview

 
Task 1. Write to Understand

 
Task 2. Write to Be Understood

 
Style Manuals

 
Checklist

 
Reflective Exercise

 
Last Words

 
 
Supplements
 
Supplement A The Role of the Literature Review
 
Supplement B Literature Review 101
 
Supplement C Writing a Journal
 
Supplement D SQRRR
 
Glossary
 
References and Further Reading
 
Index

This book is clearly outlined with easy-to-understand steps supported by wonderful visuals. The key vocabulary, tips section, and checklist all provide tremendous support to any reader wanting to take the needed steps to write a meaningful literature review. This book provides sections that are concise and to the point, making it very easy for readers to skim and refer back to as needed. I commend the authors for presenting such a complex task with so much simplicity. The exercises provided are a great resource for the reader, as well as to a professor who wants to use this book as a text and assign the exercises as class activities . . . I will be sharing this book with colleagues and recommending it to my graduate students. I will also be considering how I can incorporate this book into classes that I teach.

Rebecca Brooks, Associate Professor
California State University San Marcos; Spring Valley, CA

The strengths of The Literature Review include visuals, graphic organizers, checklists, practice activities, chapter structure, and glossary.

Jennifer Shettel, Professor of Literacy Education
Millersville University; Lititz, PA

Major strengths are the detail and explicitness of the narrative. Everything is spelled out and there are lots of graphics to present a visual support for the content. The book does not skip anything but also does not talk down to the reader.

Lori Helman, Professor, Curriculum & Instruction
University of Minnesota; Minneapolis, MN

Clear, thorough, accessible, easy to read with good examples. Love the mapping in Step Three! The authors do an excellent job of discussing ideas, strategies, and tips. Logical, clear, and helpful conclusions are made throughout.

Linda R. Vogel, Professor of Education Leadership
University of Northern Colorado; Greeley, CO

There is a clear framework for critically thinking about and applying a 6-step process for conducting a literature review . . . Unlike any other book, it provides a deep dive examination of how to approach and complete a high-quality literature review via a systematic critical thinking process.

Dr. Jacqueline Thousand, Professor Emerita
California State University, San Marcos, San Marcos, CA

Machi & McEvoy do a great job breaking down the literature review. The 4th edition offers some additional exercises, reading strategies, and helpful supplements.

Dr Pamela Rutledge
School Of Psychology, Fielding Graduate Institute
July 22, 2022

The book will be used as a supplemental resources in all research courses that I teach.

Dr Keicia Hawkins
College Of Education, Northwestern State University
April 28, 2022

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781071852903
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