Please write a 15 to 20-page literature review (single spaced; ~50 references), including figures if appropriate, about a microbiology-related topic that interests you. Additional pages can be used for references.
What is a literature review?
A literature review may be published as an independent report or as part of a larger report. The purpose of both is to provide information on current publications about a particular topic. Literature reviews are highly condensed and heavily documented.
A literature review is a report that describes the “literature” (i.e., the important source material) on a particular topic. A literature review also helps you synthesize literature on your topic because in the process of writing a literature review, the writer learns to (1) identify various important issues/questions raised in the literature, and (2) sort and categorize experts’ views according to the issues/questions identified in the literature.
The primary purpose of the report is to provide your target audience with an overview of what the experts are saying about the problem under investigation. Your report will update your target audience on the recent research in the field.
Completion of this assignment will build your skills in the following areas: critical reading, evaluation, analysis, synthesis, report organization, use and integration of sources, and reference documentation. Developing these skills will demonstrate great progress toward achieving our programmatic goals.
Who is the intended audience?
A literature review is often written for another researcher who is interested in gaining a general understanding of the important literature on a particular topic. Therefore, the review should go into depth regarding the topic of interest.
Tips on synthesize multiple sources
Literature reviews synthesize large amounts of information and present it in a coherent, organized fashion. Synthesis comes from the Greek word suntithenai — to put together, and occurs when two or more things are combined to create something new — whether it is a new idea, a new fabric, a new sound, or a new piece of writing. Therefore, for this assessment you will be combining material from several texts to create a new text – your literature review.
One tip to help organize your multiple sources is to generate a spreadsheet or outline of common points among the articles is critical to helping you synthesize the material. This tool will ensure that your review is organized by subtopic, not by source. Therefore, each paragraph of the literature review will mention several different authors. In drafting the review of the literature, some students make the mistake of structuring it like an annotated bibliography without the citations. They list the sources one after another but don’t make connections between them or show how the authors’ views compare or contrast. Those connections should weave the elements of the lit review together, but the connections can’t be made if the sources are simply listed. Creating and using a spreadsheet or outline will almost guarantee that you won’t make this mistake!
How do you gather information?
Using various online search engines (e.g. Google Scholar, Pubmed) include only authoritative, reliable, recently published articles from credible journals, which address your topic of interest. I, the purchaser, can provide access to my university’s online library system for more articles.
You have to decide what pieces of information from which articles to include in your literature review. To fulfill the purpose of the assignment, you will probably be most interested in the causes and effects of a particular problem or environment and the strategies the authors suggest, or which other organizations have used, to address the issue. Evaluate the articles and narrow the collection to the best articles. It is expected that you will have read these top articles that are references in your literature review.
How do your decide which articles to use?
Carefully evaluate the information presented in each of your articles by asking the same questions that a skeptical reader would ask:
Is it accurate?
Is it complete?
Is it up-to-date?
Is it unbiased?
Is it supported by evidence my readers will find compelling?
Does it conflict with other evidence?
Is it clearly relevant to my readers’ situation?
As I write, how do I maintain the focus on the literature?
You must remain objective and unbiased as you review the literature. Remember, your purpose is only to report on what has been written recently about your topic. You should not discuss the issues involved or take a position. The readers of the literature review do not wish to learn what you think; they want to learn what the authors think. Therefore, you must be careful not to go beyond describing the authors’ views. Don’t say which views are “right” or “better”; instead, show how they are related.
A good literature review sticks to its purpose by “addressing the literature.” Addressing the literature means that as you write you make it clear that subject of the paper is the literature. You should identify the topic of each section or paragraph with topic statements like The authors of recent literature on ____________ are most interested in ….. or Although the literature suggests that elucidating microbiome interactions are not easily solved, several strategies are mentioned which ….. Since the literature itself is the subject of your paper, you must be careful to introduce and identify sources consistently.
Establish your focus on the literature, beginning with the introduction, and maintain it through to the conclusion. Use transitional words and phrases, which show the connection between the sources; e.g., Although Dunn (2014) found that microbiome network interactions can be elucidated by metabolomics, Reese (2015) contends that an interdisciplinary approach is ideal the to elucidate the many host-microbe interactions within the microbiome and Recent studies (Black, 2012; Higgenbotham, 2013; Stockman, 2015) indicate that these combined molecular, and biochemical approaches can identify new pathways and interactions associated with the microbiome. For example, in a survey conducted….. Using effective transitions will help you sustain the focus on the literature. End each section with a closing sentence that wraps up the section and/or serves as a transition to the next section: what can be concluded about the literature on that specific subtopic?
Overview of Compiled Literature Review Format – 15 – 20 pages total (single spaced)
Introduction: First, you will add a brief introduction to the literature review: In just a sentence or two, simply introduce the purpose and scope of the literature review, including the key issuesthe review will address.
Body: Using relevant headings, the body should be composed of sections. If these sections were done effectively by individual team members, they take up each issue one at a time and discuss how the authors of the articles respond to that issue.
Don’t forget to introduce and close each section with a sentence focused on the literature (topic sentence and concluding sentence.)
Length of body: 15-20 pages or more, single-spaced. (Length of each section will vary, but each typically contains several paragraphs. Estimate about 50 citations to thoroughly cover the subject matter)
Conclusion: Summarize what the literature says about your topic. Approximate length 1 page
Additional Formatting Guidelines
Please use a font of 12 pt (e.g. Times New Roman or Ariel) and single-spaced with margins of 1”. It is acceptable to include figures as long as they are properly cited in the text and references. The length of the manuscript should be no less than 15 pages and no more than 20 pages excluding references. The references (estimated n = 50) should be formatted using the Chicago Manual of Style guidelines. Please refer to the following website regarding these formats:
http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html (Links to an external site.)