Bachman Fundamentals (Appendix)--literature review.pdf

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A-1 Appendix A Conducting Literature Reviews and Finding Information Social Research Foundations— How to Conduct a Literature Review Case Study: Arrest and Domestic Violence How do we find prior research on questions of interest? You may already know some of the relevant material from prior coursework or your independent reading, but that would not be enough. When you are about to launch an investigation of a new research question, you must apply a very different standard than when you are studying for a test or just seek- ing to learn about domestic violence. You need to find reports of previous investigations that sought to answer the same research question that you wish to answer, not just those that were about a similar topic. If there are no prior studies of exactly the same research question on which you wish to focus, you should seek to find reports from investigations of very similar research questions. Once you have located reports from prior research similar to the research you wish to conduct, you may expand your search to include investigations about related topics or studies that used similar methods. Sometimes, you will find that someone else has already reviewed the literature on your research question in a special review article or book chapter. For example, Chalk and Garner (2001) published an excellent review of the research on arrest and domestic violence in the journal New Directions for Evaluation . Most of the research articles you find will include a literature review. These reviews can help a lot, but they are no substitute for reviewing the literature your- self. No one but you can decide what is relevant for your research question and the research circumstances you will be
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Fundamentals of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice A-2 facing: the setting you will study, the timing of your study, the new issues that you want to include in your study, and your specific methods. And you cannot depend on any published research review for information on the most recent work. New research results about many questions appear continually in scholarly journals and books, in research reports from government agencies and other organizations, and on website all over the world; you will need to check for new research such as this yourself. Finding Information Conducting a thorough search of the research literature and then reviewing critically what you have found is an essen- tial foundation for any research project. Fortunately, much of this information can be identified online, without leaving your desktop, and an increasing number of published journal articles can be downloaded directly to your own computer (depending on your particular access privileges). But just because there is a lot available online does not mean that you need to find it all. Keep in mind that your goal is to find reports of prior research investigations, which means that you should focus on scholarly journals that choose articles for publication after they have been reviewed by other social scien- tists: “refereed” journals. Newspaper and magazine articles just will not do, although you may find some that raise impor-
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  • Fall '16
  • levin
  • Research In criminology and Criminal Justice

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