Week 4 dissertation | Doctoral Dissertation and Research Development

Milestone 4: Abridged Literature Review

Work with your chair to determine any specific instructions or guidance that he or she may have for you.

So far, you have selected an appropriate dissertation topic. You have also uncovered a potential problem (gap) in the literature, framed as an umbrella question (purpose) guiding your research. Your “preliminary work” has been grounded in a review of twelve to fifteen sources from the literature.

Now, you need to do more research in the literature to continue (a) letting the literature speak; (b) refining topic, gap, and questions; (c) strengthening rationale for why your research is needed; and (d) beginning to form the theoretical frame for your work.

Create an abridged literature review on your topic. The purpose of this paper is to integrate and synthesize the major and foundational literature on your topic from scholarly, peer-reviewed journals. Writing a review of the literature requires more than just listing and summarizing studies that relate to the dissertation. Your abridged literature review may be approximately 4 to 6 pages in length and integrate the key theories and findings related to the study topic. Ideally, the majority of work cited should be published within the last five years (with the exception of foundational literature). Combined with your preliminary work so far, your abridged review may be twenty to twenty-five sources.

Important Note: Looking ahead, the more of your review you complete at this stage, the better. In your next course, you will finalize your literature review (Chapter 2) along with building your methods section (Chapter 3), completing institutional review board (IRB) materials, and defending your proposal to your committee. A full literature review may be seventy-five or more sources. Completing as much as possible now may reduce the number and scope of revisions that may be required as you analyze more literature, and it may reduce the amount of work required in the next course, which contains several large tasks to complete.

Submission Details:

  • Present the abridged literature review in a 4- to 6-page paper (you do not need to include your full topic selection and problem statement in the literature review paper. However, your topic and the problem (gap) should be very clear from your review of the literature).
  • Use APA style in preparing your paper and citing references.
  • Post the paper to the Milestone 4 Submissions Area.
  • Notify your chair (e.g., e-mail) when you have submitted the topic paper.

Note: A successful dissertation requires self-directed behaviors. To successfully pass each dissertation course, you must successfully complete (pass) each milestone presented in the course materials. Additionally, you must complete the milestones in the order they are presented in the course. The tasks in some milestones may take you more than a week to complete. Finish each milestone before you move on to the next milestone. In your planning, also allow time for feedback from your dissertation chair/committee and revisions as part of completing each task.

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