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Literature Review about online degree programs

I need help completing the literature review for the Research Proposal. A minimum of five relevant references are to be analyzed for the Literature Review. The references used are to be cited in the Literature Review of the Research Proposal. They are also to be included in the references page and in APA format.

Review of the Relevant Literature/Related Research/Literature Review: Provide a minimum of five research studies that address the same topic chosen for the proposal.

- What are the similar areas of study or studies that lead up to the current research? Identify the importance of the questions being asked.
- Report on the current status of the topic.
- Analyze the relationship between the literature reviewed and the problem statement.

Include a summary, along with a restatement of the relationships between the variables under consideration and how these relationships are important to the proposed hypothesis. (Estimated length - two to three pages)

Given a choice, students and employers alike are more likely to choose an online degree program for reasons relating to lower costs, shorter time frame, and convenience of attending out of state college without leaving your home, and flexibility as compared to attending a traditional college whereby the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.

How to Write a Literature Review

The most important question a study proposal needs to answer is: Why is this study important? Now, the most common reasons given are:
- Because this is under-researched; either no one has researched it before or there is not enough research on it. -OR-
- Because previous research did not really settle the question or answer the problem...there are too many variables to study. -OR-
- Because "We don't know enough about it" -OR- This is so new that no one else has tackled this problem.

Step #1 -- Use a Library and search your topic area for SCHOLARLY studies and commentaries. Commentaries in scholarly journals are very helpful because they outline the current debate and issue for you. A scholarly study is a published article in a peer review journal. If the peers in a field have approved it, it should be worthy of your consideration. Try to find the most recent or current articles that pertain to your topic. It is suggested that your articles be no more than two years old. Why? Well, first it will point you in the right direction of the current thought on the subject. Second, you can use their reference list as a source to find other articles on the subject that can help you in your search. You must read the article; synopsis or abstracts will not do. There are no short cuts. You should not quote an article if you did not read it. If you need help navigating the Online Library, contact the librarian. How many articles do you need? It depends on the topic and the amount of research that has been done. Let's say that you are interested in female representation on board of directors, and does that make a difference in the way those companies operate? One recent article had 33 articles in its reference list that could help you on this issue (Bernardi, Bosco, & Vassill, 2006).

Step #2 -- Organize the articles. This is a must. There are three different ways to organize the articles; common themes, ideas, findings of research. This is called synthesized coherence. By bringing together these studies from different areas you CREATE something new to say. The combination is new. Your literature review then is a discussion of the themes and ideas that these studies share and how your research idea furthers or advances these themes.

Another way to examine the literature is called progressive coherence. Here you will organize the studies based on your observation that they are not focused enough to answer what you will address in your proposed study. Or there is too little research in the area and that your proposed study will add to the body of knowledge. Again, you CREATE something new to say. Telling your reader what others said is insufficient ... what do YOU think?
Finally, there is non-coherence. Here you have collected studies that examined the same phenomenon and made certain conclusions; but you disagree with their approach to the problem, conclusions, pointing out the validity and reliability weaknesses. This critical thinking creates some interesting proposals and research


Solution Preview

Here is the basic idea of the lit review. You should add any information that supports the reason, based on previous work, for your research. In other words, anything providing the same problem, outcomes, and hypothesis would not be a good reference, unless your work presents the idea from a different perspective or in a more focused manner. This is one reason I only included four references. Your hypothesis is good, but the idea behind it has been studied. This means whatever your specific focus is, you should make sure you have a supporting article too.

Carlisle, C. (2009, Aug 16). Online degree programs gaining popularity. McClatchy - Tribune Business News.

I am including the above article as a reference for how to frame your paper. Not exactly of course, but you are looking at the same focus

By, K. J. (2003, Feb 04). Managers & managing: Online degrees gain popularity, but do they pass hiring test? Wall Street Journal.

This is one of the questions one must ask when deciding on whether to pursue a degree online. It is important, despite all the other variables, to know if the degree is quality or if the field one wants to work in, is viable. Not every degree or degree program is good. Some programs are much more respected than others. If the degree is good and works within the field of choice, then this is another step in the decision making process of gaining a degree online. This is not a study, but does present some good information about how people are seeing online degrees in their choice. It is written with personal interview background, giving real life perspectives of students and employers. The article notes a study done by a student trying to gain information about the perception of the ...

Solution Summary

A literature review about online degree programs are examined.