Information literacy and database search

Module 2 Assignment 1: Information Literacy and Database Search Activity

Literature reviews are based on the identification and analysis of various academic journal articles related to a research topic. Since you will be completing a review of the literature as a major project in this course, it is important for you to develop and improve your information literacy skills, as well as your database search skills. 

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Information literacy, the ability to locate, evaluate, and use information effectively, is a core skill in being a successful doctoral student. 

The goal with this activity is to encourage students to read critically, reason analytically, and to turn the selected information into relevant knowledge for a speciifc topic. 

With this context in mind and considering your initial research topic, use the key words of your preliminary research questions to begin your search of the online databases for related research articles. 

In your search, locate at least four empirical research journal articles related to your topic and questions. Try to identify empirical research articles, based on different designs (quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods design), though if that is not possible, just find  empirical articles. [See APA, p. 10 for brief definitions of empirical articles, also defined in Creswell (2009), p. 4, and Fink (2010)]. 

Include in your introductory paragraph your purpose for writing this paper; this can be a simple statement of your strategies for this database search.

For example, a sample purpose statement for this assignment might look like this:

The purpose of this assignment is to describe the strategies used to navigate the databases, discuss the findings of the search process concluding with an identification of four relevant sources related to the initial research question. 

Include a mapping statement following the purpose statement that briefly lists the key points sequentially of how you intend to organize the body of your paper.  You can use the elements outlined in the assignment grading criteria as a gudeline to create your mapping statement.

For example,

This paper will discuss the online library databases that were used and search strategies using Boolean connectors with the keywords that met with the best results.  Results of the Proquest Digital Dissertations and Thesis database search will also be discussed, concluding  with the identification of four scholarly articles that relate specifically to the previous questions.

Following the mapping statement, structure the remaining paper around the elements listed in the grading criteria table below. It is important that you address all elements of the grading criteria. 

Using the grading criteria elements to organize the content will help in structuring the paper logically and ensure completeness of your submissions.

By the Tuesday, July 8, complete the assignment and post your responses in a 1-2 page Word document .

All written assignments and responses should follow APA style in formatting and attributing sources.

Module 2 Assignment 2: Article Critique

Access the article, “Reflecting on Practice: Using Learning Journals in Higher and Continuing Education” (Titled Module 2_Langer’s Article for Critique.pdf) from the Doc Sharing area.

Supplemental documents in Doc Sharing provide guidance, in complementary but slightly different ways. The ‘Suggestions for Writing Organized Papers’ document emphasizes how to organize and write an article critique. The ‘Writing a Critique’ handout emphasizes the purpose for writing an article critique, naming and describing the 5 elements that make up most research articles. The third piece is a sample introductory paragraph, where the author’s purpose for writing an article critique and a map that clearly identifies the 5 basic parts of a research article, are clearly shown. Your purpose statement is specific to the Langer (2002) article, so it will, of course, have different content. You might state your purpose somewhat like this: “The purpose of this article critique is to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the Langer (2002) article.” This could be followed by naming the 5 parts of a research article, and then you would have also created a map.  

You can download all these documents, as well as the Scoring Rubric for this assignment, to Microsoft Word. Print copies and refer to them not just for this journal critique but for other assignments throughout this course.  

  1. Suggestions for Writing Organized Papers identifies the 3 basic parts: Introduction, Body, and Conclusion of all the assignments you will do [and all effective writing]. These 3 parts may contain somewhat different material depending upon the  assignment. The details of how to apply the parts specifically to a research article critique are bolded.
  2. Writing a Critique of a Journal Article states the basic purpose for writing a research article critique: to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each of the 5 elements, also giving you questions to guide your understanding.
  3. Sample Introductory Paragraph with purpose statement and map  

Note: Your analysis of the 5 elements form the Body of your paperwhile your purpose, to critique the article, analyzing its strengths and weaknesses, is stated in the Introduction.

All research articles contain these 5 elements, in this order, generally:

  1. Research Question/Problem—and, generally, the author’s Purpose for writing the article
  2. Literature Review and/or a Theoretical/Conceptual Foundation
  3. Methodology—data collection and data analysis section
  4. Results or Findings
  5. Discussion or Implications.

Download the assigned article. Look for the elements and mark them, if that is helpful, reflect on what you read, thinking of how you would analyze each part’s strengths and weaknesses. What is unclear? What is unanswered? What more would you have liked to know? 

Because reading and analyzing journal articles may be new territory for you, a few points about this article might be helpful:

  1. The Research Question and Purpose are located early in the Introduction. [note: while all articles have an introduction, it is not usually labeled, as such];
  2. While not called Conceptual Framework, the section titled ‘The Concept of Reflection in Learning’ actually is that, while the Literature Review is called ‘The Uses of Learning Journals.’
  3. What is usually called ‘Methodology’ is called ‘Research Methods’, while
  4. the Results or Findings in this article are quite long and contains a number of sub headings;
  5. the Discussion/Implications is broken into 2 parts in this article called ‘Implications and Conclusions,’ though you could put them in a single, heading.

Assignment Directions:

Submit a double-spaced, three-pages paper in Microsoft Word with the following parts:

  • An Introductory paragraph that states the author’s last name, date, and the central focus of the article. Then in this same paragraph: write a purpose or thesis statement—that is your purpose or intent in writing this critique [WHAT]  and a brief ‘map’ or ‘preview’ statement of the 5 elements you intend to develop in the body, to support your purpose. Do not title the section as the Introduction.
  • A Body that breaks the 5 elements of a research article into Level Two headers, starting the first sentence of each paragraph with a topic sentence that focuses on the strengths and/or weaknesses of that element. Be sure to support each point with evidence from the article—quotes, paraphrases [See Citations, APA, Ch 6 to check how to do this].  
  • A Conclusion that restates your purpose and summarizes the article’s overall strengths and weaknesses. You might also discuss briefly what you learned from this article and in what ways you found it interesting or useful to do this first article critique.

Other requirements:

  • Include a Title page that contains your critique’s title and related information [See APA, p. 41]. Page 2, at the top, should contain the centered paper title again centered.
  • Include a Reference page, fully citing the article, using APA Guidelines [References, Ch. 7] and other chapters as needed for editorial style, expression of ideas and format of text.
  • Then, finally, consider these points:
    • Use direct quotes sparingly—cite accurately, with quotation marks, etc.
    • For any paraphrases, be sure to give credit to the author.
    • Use correct grammar, spellcheck and proofread your paper.

By Friday, July 11, 2014, submit your analysis and critique of a journal article to the M2: Assignment 2 

All written assignments and responses should follow APA style in formatting and attributing sources.

 

 

 

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