Comm 171, Video #1: What is a Literature Review?


A literature review is a piece of writing
that is designed to help a reader understand what the existing research says about a given
topic. An author often writes a literature review
as a way to help their reader become knowledgeable enough about the topic to understand why their
research is significant and to identify where there is a gap in the literature that
needs further exploration. In your Content Analysis Research Project,
you are asked to write a literature review. But this literature review is broken down
into two parts: a rationale for your research, and background information about the industry. In the sample paper you were given titled,
“The Role of Race in the Sexualization of Female Artists in Music Videos,” you can
clearly see that the students targeted pages 3 – 6 to inform the reader about their research
topic. The rationale utilizes the existing research
to bring the reader up to date on the issue, while also identifying limitations or gaps
in the research – establishing their own research efforts as valid and a worthwhile contribution. In the background section, you also see that
these authors are drawing upon the existing literature. But in this case, they are providing definitions,
timelines, and establishing the prevalence of the sexualization of women in music videos. Something that is very important to highlight
here is a literature review is not simply a summary of the existing research. Instead, a literature review brings together
the ideas, terminology, issues, timeframes, conclusions, etc from these various readings,
to create a meaningful basis of understanding for the reader. It is the author’s job to manage and understand
the expanse of the existing literature and make sense of it systematically for their
reader. This can be done in a variety of ways, but
let’s take a look at an example from an article in the Communication & Mass Media
Complete Database I’ll be searching with the keywords “women
sexuality” AND “media,” adding a search for the subject term “content analysis” to focus
my results on articles that invoke the same research methodology as you will be doing
in this assignment. I’ll also limit my results to full text
as I only want to see sources I can immediately read online. Let’s take a look at our second result in
full text. This article’s literature review actually
begins immediately with the introduction by providing some brief background information
and rationalizations for why further research is needed. But, if you notice, their review of the literature
continues as they thematically explore various issues associated with rap music, music videos,
and theoretical implications for the outcomes of this content analysis. If we take a closer look at one of these thematic
sections, you can see that the author weaves together information from the existing literature,
in some cases even citing more than one source at a time to express that multiple sources
shared similar findings or conclusions. What you will not find in a literature review
is an extensive explanation or summary of any one source on its own. The goal is to synthesize the important information
you found in your own research process, communicating how these source relate to one and contribute
significant points to your research endeavor. Again, for your Content Analysis Research
Project, you will be organizing your literature review into a rationale and background section. However, it is useful to understand how you
will encounter literature reviews as you explore sources to construct your own research assignment. Often literature reviews begin soon after
(or within) the introduction to a research article. Look for frequent usage of in text citations. But most importantly, use these literature
reviews to your advantage! Explore what sources are frequently referenced
and cited. If a source is continually referenced in the
research you encounter, this indicates that it is an important source for you to consider
reviewing as well. For tips on how to search the Communication
& Mass Media Complete Database and methods for tracking your sources, Watch Video #2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *