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How To Write Literature Review Outline

Knowledge management systems demand that we should be aware of what we know and what we don't know. As such, anyone who manages knowledge must be aware of what it takes to present certain forms of knowledge and actually present positions to the world. Given the convention of publication of knowledge, it is imperative that any positions be derived from a review of what is already in existence. Hence, a literature review is of vital importance in stating knowledge and using knowledge to attain desired objectives.

Our article is about showing the milestones that can be used for making an outline that conforms to the APA literature review conventions. We develop a sample literature review essay that meets the standards of the APA literature review outline to help you identify the key processes and stages of development. By the end of this article, you will know how to write literature review outlines.

Finding Out What We Don't Know by Following the APA Sample Outline

Ignorance is the mother of invention. Normally, we've been doing something and then one day we realize that something isn't right. We pause and wonder. But we don't stop there. We decide to know about the matter and at least put things to order. To do this, one must have the following:

  • A problem statement

  • The justification of the problem statement

  • Prioritization of the problem in the world order of the knowledge seeker

  • Formation of an intention to work on the knowledge problem

  • Development of a plan of attack

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Finding Out What is Known

Knowledge is the result of executing a plan, and to know what already exists one must consult with the relevant and credible sources. These sources are publications that will provide information on the most current knowledge regarding the topics surrounding the problem that needs to be resolved. The norm is to mention sources that have been active at least in the last 5 years.

But then the relevant selection of sources needs to limit in scope. Therefore, one must at least both inductively and deductively determine the scope of the investigation at hand. See how this can be done from a literature review outline example.

Catching Up With Knowledge to Create a Sample Literature Review

Once the criteria of the knowledge being sought have been determined, then a method of recording and sorting the information gathered must be developed. This is where the APA literature review outline and specifications become important. It specifies that for example, your references need to be of a certain order. You cite the name of the author, the year of publication follows, then the location of the publisher then finishing with the publisher's name.

That means that we need to have a set of tools that you need to use in order to acquaint yourself with existing knowledge. You need to have:

  • A writing pad - To draft ideas and make rough sketches

  • A set of index cards - For referencing material using the APA literature review outline and standards

  • A whiteboard - For generating the categories involved in the sample literature review and to provide ample space for sticking the index cards above and

  • A whiteboard marker - For noting down the categories and the links among the thematic centers around the categories

Reading that Complies with the APA Literature Review Outline

Now you are ready to start reading, but you need to be watchful. You don't want to get information that is probably not knowledge. One, therefore, needs criteria for vetting knowledge while creating a sample of a literature review.

Knowledge is qualified by the following attributes:

  • The source is credible - that is, the knowledge is from an authority

  • It is amenable to the laws of logic and truth

  • Is shared and agreed upon in principle by independent holders of the knowledge tradition

  • Can be demonstrated to others under determined conditions

Then the knowledge must be relevant to the issue at hand. How does one determine relevance?

The investigator must be aware that relevance has a scope determined by the causal chains surrounding the problem statement. So it is better for one to begin with a sketch with the problem statement at the center and link the center to key concepts surrounding the problem statement.

Surrounding issues contributing causally at the central statement we get a hint of where and what sources to specifically go for. This is information that is critical when you work with search engines and with librarians.

This doesn't mean that one should stop checking for relevance once this process has been accomplished. No. Developing a sample of a literature review that subscribes to the APA literature review outline demands that one goes back iteratively in the essay development process and ensuring that the quality and standards of knowledge being advanced are high.

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Creating Knowledge for a Sample Literature Review

Since our reading is now focused on safe grounds, we need to survey the material before us and see what trends emerge.

  • Use index cards to record references and paraphrases of relevant material

  • As you progress with the reading and writing, note down common themes that are emerging from the source

  • Note down the categories behind the themes on the whiteboard using your whiteboard marker

  • Stick the index cards on the whiteboard and around the categories that you've created

  • Check for the connections that could be created among the themes and note them down as hypotheses

  • Continue reading and shifting on hypotheses till you have a few candidate hypotheses

  • Test the hypotheses and derive a final hypothesis that fits in with the problem statement

At this point, we can identify what we don't know and a probable thesis or solution to it.

Developing and Sharing Knowledge Generated Due to Following the APA Outline

The next step in our knowledge development process is organizing what we have, again iteratively, so that we reveal deeper connections and bases of our knowledge.

The literature review outline stipulates that the overall structure of the essay must be comprised of:

  • Introduction

  • Main presentation

  • The conclusion

For our sample literature review, we have already determined the main thesis of the presentation which is equivalent to the created knowledge position that we were seeking to develop in the first place. Naturally, it is stated in the beginning.

The Introduction of the Sample Literature Review

We open the essay with a statement of the newly developed knowledge that is our thesis. Then we broadly show the themes that have led to this deduction and how they have been relevant to the solution of the problem stated.

An analysis of the facts as encountered is briefly given. Conflicting ideas or objections can be mentioned as a scope of the investigation is described. Then one can link this opening to the next paragraphs that form the main presentation.

The Main Body Presentation of Our Sample Literature Review Outline

During the phase of 'Creating Knowledge,' we collected several index cards with references and paraphrases around the various themes developed in the investigation.

The themes form the main points of each of the paragraphs in the main body of the essay.

References attached to these themes give us the evidence for the assertions we make regarding the themes. The idea is to cite by giving the name of the author and year and give a comprehensive reference at that end of the paper. For example,

Miller (2016) "Zombie Apocalypse" states that it is possible that the world is moving towards an apocalyptic end.

Once the main point in the paragraph has been supported by relevant evidence, the next thing to be done is to make an analysis of the assertion given the evidence and especially if there are conflicting sides.

This analysis culminates in a conclusion regarding the theme.

Once the second paragraph has been written successfully, the remaining part becomes of repeating the same formulation through all the existing and relevant themes and tying the reasoning together.

The Conclusion to the Sample Literature Review Outline

The main body of the presentation is now complete. It's now important to check if the main thesis introduced at the beginning of the essay still holds.

Check if the logic of the whole paper is flawless. If all is well, then it's time to conclude the essay.

The conclusion of the essay begins with a succinct statement of the writer's own findings and ideas regarding the problem statement. This is ownership of knowledge. It is the acceptance of responsibility that reaffirms the main thesis and goes further to settle any loose ends that may need attention.

Finally, the way forward is outlined and described briefly so that both the audience and writer can visualize some of the needed action points and develop tentative plans for growth.

Summation

This article has developed along the lines of helping you to develop a sample literature review outline that conforms to the APA literature review standards. It has shown the process and method used to generate knowledge and the technique involved in sharing this knowledge with the world. The first step always is to come up with the outline for literature review.

You are hereby encouraged to use this article as a 'workbook' to guide you in creating a sample literature review outline that solves a problem that is relevant to you and the people around you.

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