Assignment: Conducting a Literature Review on a Theoretical/Conceptual Framework
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Retaining top talent is a primary concern for many institutions (Hausknecht, Rodda&Howard, 2009).51% of employees believe that job satisfaction is necessary for employee retention ((Hausknecht, Rodda&Howard, 2009).The general business problem is that little is known about what compels employees to stay.The specific business problem is that relatively less research has focused specifically on how an employee decides to remain within an organization band what determines this attachment.
A literature review is a written approach to examining published information on a particular topic. In addition to reviewing literature on the problem or phenomenon, researchers must also conduct an exhaustive literature review on the selected theory or conceptual framework. You will conduct a review of literature to create a foundation and justification for your research and demonstrate knowledge on the selected theory or conceptual framework.
To prepare for this Assignment, review this week’s Learning Resources, and conduct a literature search in the Walden Library for articles where the author(s) grounded their study within the “same” theoretical/conceptual framework you propose for your Doctoral Study. Focus only on full-text, scholarly or peer-reviewed articles or doctoral studies/dissertations so that you have six (three quantitative and three qualitative) viable scholarly sources. Be sure to review Section 1.14 of the Doctoral Study Rubric and Research Handbook, provided in this week’s Required Readings, for further details of literature reviews and their requirements.
By Day 7
Submit a 4- to 5-page literature review in which you critically analyze and synthesize these six articles (three quantitative, three qualitative) related to your theoretical/conceptual framework. For each article, complete the following:
- Critical Analysis
- Identify the theoretical/conceptual framework of the study.
- Describe the major finding(s).
- Describe the strengths and weaknesses of the study.
- Describe the placement of the research within theoretical/conceptual framework.
- Explain the relationship of study to existing literature.
Note: This is not an “annotated bibliography” assignment. Ensure the literature review is an “interwoven conversation” written using the MEAL plan, consisting of critical analysis and synthesis. Do not present article by article. Be sure to review the required reading, particularly those focused on the literature review!
Basics of Literature Reviews
A literature review is a written approach to examining published information on a particular topic or field. An author uses this review of literature to create a foundation and justification for his or her research or to demonstrate knowledge on the current state of a field. This review can take the form of a course assignment or a section of a longer capstone project. Read on for more information about writing a strong literature review!
Students often misinterpret the term literature review to mean a collection of source summaries, similar to annotations or article abstracts. While summarizing is an element of a literature review, you will want to approach this assignment as a comprehensive representation of your understanding of a topic or field, such as what has already been done or what has been found. Then, also using these sources, you can demonstrate the need for future research, specifically, your future research.
There is usually no required format or template for a literature review. However, there are some actions to keep in mind when constructing your review:
- Include an introduction and conclusion. Even if the literature review will be part of a longer document, these paragraphs can act as bookends to your material. Provide background information for your reader, such as including references to the pioneers in the field in the beginning and offering closure in the end by discussing the implications of future research to the field.
- Avoid direct quotations. Just like in an annotated bibliography, you will want to paraphrase all of the material you present in a literature review. This assignment is a chance for you to demonstrate your knowledge on a topic, and putting ideas into your own words will ensure that you are interpreting the found material for your reader. Paraphrasing will also ensure your review of literature is in your authorial voice.
- Organize by topic or theme rather than by author. When compiling multiple sources, our tendency as writers can be to summarize each source and then compare and contrast the sources at the end. Instead, organize your sources by your identified themes and patterns. This organization helps demonstrate your synthesis of the material and inhibits you from creating a series of book reports.
- Use headings. APA encourages the use of headings within longer pieces of text to display a shift in topic and create a visual break for the reader. Headings in a literature review can also help you as the writer organize your material by theme and note any layers, or subtopics, within the field.
- Use comparative terms. A literature review can be lengthy and dense, so you will want to make your text appealing to your reader. Transitions and comparison terms will allow you to demonstrate where authors agree or disagree on a topic and highlight your interpretation of the literature.
The literature review content needs to be a comprehensive and critical analysis and synthesis of the literature related to the theory and/or conceptual model from the Theoretical/Conceptual Framework as well as the existing body of knowledge regarding the research topic. What a literature review should not be is an amalgamation of essays on the topic. The approach to this heading may vary by authors’ specific purpose. For example, if your study is to be grounded in the transformational leadership theoretical or conceptual framework, you will be examining or exploring your phenomenon through a leadership lens. You want to report on extant research that was grounded in the transformational leadership theoretical/conceptual framework. You would want to report on the literature that is as close to your topic/phenomenon as possible. In addition, if you are conducting a quantitative study, you need to include the literature for any other key variables. A basic outline is presented at Appendix A.
Critical analysis and synthesis of the relevant literature will be an important element of the literature review. The review of the literature is not to be a regurgitation of what you have read. It is also not to teach about a topic; rather, it is to show your mastery of the previous and recent research on your topic and provide a comprehensive up-to-date literature review on your topic. Start with an introductory heading and then report the literature. This should be an exhaustive review of the literature using the chosen theoretical/conceptual framework and consist of the key and recent writings in the field. Repeat this approach if there are any additional theories. In addition, in quantitative studies, there must be a critical analysis and synthesis for each variable.
There are three questions that students typically ask about the literature review: (a) length, (b) organizational structure, and (c) content. The length will depend upon the theoretical foundation related to the topic and scholarly studies related to the theory. Typically, for a doctoral study, a literature review will average 35-40 pages. However, demonstrating a rich and comprehensive review of the topic is more important than the number of pages in a literature review.
The most common ways that one may organize the literature review are to use a chronological, topical, or combination of chronological and topical structure. The literature review should be a succinct yet in-depth critical analysis of scholarly studies and authoritative seminal work. The literature review should not be a summary of one’s reading or an amalgamation of essays on the topic.
The literature review content needs to be a comprehensive and critical analysis and synthesis of the literature related to the theory and/or conceptual model that one identified in the Theoretical/Conceptual Framework as well as the existing body of knowledge regarding the research topic. Typically one half to two thirds of a good literature review will relate the theory or conceptual models to a critical analysis and synthesis about the topic and problem. One organizational strategy for the literature review is (a) one third discussing the theory or conceptual model (see figure below), (b) one third topical foundation, and (c) one third discussing the topic in relation to the theory.
Saunders, M. N. K., Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2015). Research methods for business students (7th ed.). Essex, England: Pearson Education Limited.