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SOWK 391: Literature Reviews: Social Sciences (Jarvis): The Assignment

Assignment description

Methods of Social Research

SOWK 391-02

Literature Review Paper



The purpose of this assignment is to conduct a review of the literature that currently exists on the topic you have chosen. The review must include at least four research articles from peer-reviewed journals that pertain to your topic. You will likely need to supplement your literature review with additional materials (i.e., other journal articles on your topic). This assignment also provides you an opportunity to continue mastering your use of the American Psychological Association (APA) publication guidelines for proper citation of sources.


Basic outline for the literature review:


  1. Introduction to the topic (about two paragraphs in length)
  • What is the area of interest?
  • Describe the scope of the problem (i.e., How many individuals are affected by the problem?).
  • Why is this an important problem to study? Why is this an important area of research for the social work profession?


  1. Review of the journal articles

In this section, you should synthesize and evaluate the information you have gained from reading the journal articles you chose. You must include a minimum of four research articles, but you can supplement with other peer-reviewed research. Articles should be published within the last five years and never more than 10 years old. Research studies should always be referred to in the past tense as they have already been completed.


Based on your research into the current literature about your topic, what is known about this topic? Where is the research on your topic weak? What is still unknown about this topic?


  1. Summary of material across the articles (about one paragraph in length):

Overall, what can you say is known about this topic? Summarize and integrate the knowledge in brief. Is there general agreement among the authors of these journal articles? If there is disagreement, what were some possible reasons for this? What is still unknown about your topic; how does this lead to your proposed study?


  1. Formatting requirements:
  • Your paper should be double-spaced, in a 12-point size, using Times New Roman font with pages numbered. Your paper should be 1,000 – 1,750 words in length, excluding your reference page and title page.


  • Follow the American Psychological Association (APA) publication guidelines (6th edition) for this assignment. Using the APA publication guide, include a reference page for all of the journal articles used in your literature review.



  • Points will be deducted for citation, punctuation, spelling, or grammatical errors.


  • Papers submitted after the deadline will have a grade reduction. Submit your paper via Word document attachment on the Moodle course page under Turnitin, a tool that checks submitted papers against other papers and common websites as a plagiarism deterrent. 


  1. Resources:




  1. Article Summaries:

For four of the research articles you are using in your literature review, you will complete a summary that requires you to summarize in your own words the most important parts of the articles. Make sure the research articles you are using are full-length articles and not just abstracts. If a required item for the summary is not stated in the journal article, state this in your summary (but double-check this to make sure you are right). Your marked-up journal articles must be turned in along with your summaries.


For each of the journal articles, write a summary sheet with the following information. Head the summary sheet with the APA citation for that article.


Required information:

  1. State the purpose of the journal article (i.e., hypothesis, objective, or research question)
  2. What type of research design was used? (i.e., qualitative, quantitative, survey, evaluative, single-subject)
  3. What are the IV’s and DV’s? If it is not an explanatory study, identify/name the variables.
  4. How were the variables measured?
  5. Date data were collected (should not be more than 10 years previous)
  6. What type of sampling method did the authors use? From what group did they get their sample? How many people participated in the study? What type of people were they?
  7. What were the study’s findings?
  8. What were the study problems or limitations? What did you see? Which ones did the authors mention?