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Senior Thesis: Review of Literature Samples, Citation help, Search techniques.

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Presentation on theme: "Senior Thesis: Review of Literature Samples, Citation help, Search techniques."— Presentation transcript:

1 Senior Thesis: Review of Literature Samples, Citation help, Search techniques

2 Format of the Senior Thesis The format of the thesis should be logical and consistent. Any major divisions within the text should be chapters or sections. These divisions should be decided on between the student and the mentor and should conform to guidelines indicated in the style manual that the student is using. A thesis generally includes an introduction in which the problem or focus is laid out and in which background information provides a context for the topic or problem. In some disciplines, the introduction will contain a preview of the rest of the paper. Most theses include a review of literature in which the student summarizes and evaluates the previously published and important research relating to his or her own data collection/analysis. The student should make the relationship between this previous research and his/her own research/analysis clear.

3 Format of the Senior Thesis (cont). Theses in the sciences will usually contain a methodology section describing the procedures used to collect and analyze data. In the sciences, the main part of the body will usually contain the data collected by the student and his/her analysis of that data and the relationship of this data analysis to the original research questions and previously published studies. In the case of the humanities and some social sciences, this section may be the argument and evidence supporting the claims of the student regarding the topic of study (primary and secondary texts, works of art, case studies, etc.). All theses should provide a section at the end in which the student draws conclusions from and discusses the implications of his or her findings. This section may also contain a discussion of the limitations of the research presented or ambiguities left after the research. In the sciences this will usually be labeled “Discussion.” In the humanities, it is usually a “Conclusion.” See complete Thesis Handbook

4 What is a Review of Literature? “A literature review is an account of what has been published on a topic by accredited scholars and researchers…In writing the literature review, your purpose is to convey to your reader what knowledge and ideas have been established on a topic, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. As a piece of writing, the literature review must be defined by a guiding concept (e.g., your research objective, the problem or issue you are discussing, or your argumentative thesis). It is not just a descriptive list of the material available, or a set of summaries” (Taylor).

5 What should the Review of Literature include? A literature review must do these things: – be organized around and related directly to the thesis or research question you are developing – synthesize results into a summary of what is and is not known – identify areas of controversy in the literature – formulate questions that need further research

6 Resources and Samples For tips on how to organize your Review of Literature, visit: – The University of Wisconsin Writing Center The University of Wisconsin Writing Center – The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Writing Center The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Writing Center Also, take a look at these samples: – Diana Hacker’s Research site (MLA example is under Humanities and APA example is under Social Sciences). Diana Hacker’s Research site – Purdue OWL (APA example with comments/corrections). Purdue OWL

7 Length/References Length depends on your topic and the number of sources currently available. If there are too many sources, choose those that are most important. You need to submit a References (APA) or Works Cited (MLA) page with your Review of Literature. – When you find resources on Gale/TEL, use the Citation Tools to generate the citation in either format. – When you find resources online use: Easy Bib (for MLA) Easy Bib Bib Me (for APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian) Bib Me Remember that these citation generators are not foolproof. Fill in missing info and double check the accuracy of your citations before adding them to your References/Works Cited page.

8 Where do I find resources? My #1 recommendation = MTSU Library: Visit the library to search their databases. They offer much more information than Gale/TEL and it is worth your while to spend an afternoon or evening there because you will find lots of relevant information. Visit the Reference room (to the right when you enter) and the librarians there will be happy to help you find the most appropriate resources for your topic. Be sure to stop by Parking Services to get a guest parking pass before going to the library.

9 Where do I find resources? (cont). CMS Library webpage Research Links: – GVRL Click on the search box to browse or type in any search term. All results are full text and contain MLA/APA citations. Limit results by looking on the left at “document type,” “publication type,” and “subjects.” Refine your results by searching within the results. Save articles to revisit later (or email to self).

10 Where do I go to find resources? (cont). Go to Gale and search the databases that are relevant to your thesis topic: – Science, medical topics: Science in Context, Health Reference Center, Health and Wellness Center – History topics: Global Issues in Context – Education topics: Educators Reference Complete – Literature topics: Literature Criticism Online, Literature Resource Center, Scibner Writers Online, Twayne Authors Online

11 Where do I find resources? (cont). Gale Power Search – Click on the blue Power Search box. – Password = elvis – Avoid keyword search. – Instead, do an Advanced Search or Subject Guide Search. Limit results to full text. Limit to exclude results you don’t want (abstracts, book reviews, etc).

12 Where do I find resources? (cont). TEL – Avoid keyword search. – Instead, go to: Student Resources in Context Opposing Viewpoints in Context Do keyword search and also Browse Topics (categories of alphabetized lists on tons of topics).

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