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The Literature Review: Six Steps to Success [Kindle Edition]

Lawrence (Larry) A. (Anthony) Machi , Brenda T. (Tyler) McEvoy
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)

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  • Print ISBN-10: 1452240884
  • Print ISBN-13: 978-1452240886
  • Edition: Second Edition
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 83%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.

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Book Description

The go-to guide to completing a thorough, well-organized, and effective lit review!


This new edition of the best-selling book offers graduate students in education and the social sciences a road map to developing and writing an effective literature review for a research project, thesis, or dissertation. Updated with key vocabulary words, technology advice, and tips for writing during the early stages, the second edition takes students step by step through the entire process:



  1. Selecting a topic 

  2. Searching the literature 

  3. Developing arguments 

  4. Surveying the literature 

  5. Critiquing the literature 

  6. Writing the literature review





Editorial Reviews

Review

"Machi and McEvoy have crafted a guide to writing a literature review that is absolutely elegant in its simplicity. The writers take the reader from the simple to the complex in an extremely well-written, logical sequence of bite-sized steps. This is the most useful guide to writing a literature review available anywhere." (Leonard O. Pellicer, Distinguished Professor Emeritus 2008-02-21)

"The authors have compiled one of the most authoritative yet practical guides to the literature review process. Novices will rapidly develop needed skills by completing the many exercises and reviewing the excellent end-of-chapter summaries, and any researcher can benefit from the six-step model that acts as a road map for both the academic and the professional writer." (Eugene J. Muscat, Professor of Management and Information Systems 2008-02-21)

"This book presents the frame for the research thought process. The literature review model used throughout the text emphasizes how the literature review is integral to the entire research process, not just the beginning." (Diane Benson, Chair, Department of Nursing 2008-02-25)

"Perhaps the only challenge greater than conducting an effective review of the literature is teaching the novice researcher how to do so. This text meets the need of both student and teacher! Even the experienced researcher will undoubtedly gain some insight within these pages." (Jim Cox, Author, President, JK Educational Associates 2008-02-26)

"The literature review is such a critical component of conducting and presenting good research. Whether the reader is a student preparing to write a thesis or dissertation, or a major advisor overseeing such work, this book provides an array of insights about what an effective literature review looks like and offers specifics about what it addresses in terms of content and structural framework." (Kenneth R. Stevenson, Chair and Professor of Educational Leadership and Policies 2008-03-18)

About the Author

Lawrence A. Machi is a professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership at the University of La Verne. He teaches research methods and design and chairs doctoral dissertation research in addition to teaching classes in organizational development. Machi has extensive experience in higher education, having taught in schools of education at the University of San Francisco, St. Mary's College of California, and Sonoma State University prior to his tenure at the University of La Verne. Machi has also been a K-12 educator, having worked as a secondary teacher and served as a school administrator in both secondary and elementary school districts in Northern California. He has held the roles of vice principal, principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent.

Machi has consulted with many California school districts and nonprofit organizations over the years. His specialties have been in the areas of finance, negotiations, and organizational development. He holds an MA in curriculum development and an EdD in organizational leadership.

Brenda McEvoy began her fascination with research and writing at age 15 when she became the “interested amateur” reader for her father’s books on topics including Pueblo ethnology and natural history. Those five years of early experience taught her the importance of careful research that produces logical arguments and that is expressed in clear, understandable language. She has taught high school English and history, including research skills, for the past 30 years. For eight years, she worked for the California State Department of Education leading groups of educators in improving their ability to edit and assess student writing. Also for the state, she was a mentor for beginning English and history teachers. Participation in the California Writing Project extended her knowledge of writing and the difficulties that students at all levels face when producing a major assignment. She has worked as an editor and a proofreader for the books of several associates. Currently, she is doing research on health insurance coverage for two teachers’ associations. Her depth of experience as a practitioner teaching writing and researching at many levels has shown her the many pitfalls that can bedevil student researchers. Her major interest has always been to help writers create work that is clear and logical, guiding student researchers toward producing well-argued and well-written literature reviews.

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
59 of 61 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
This book is a much-needed life raft for graduate students lost amid the sea of literature on his/her topic. Straightforward, logical, and concise, it's an easy-to-use "calm-down pill" for those working through (and freaking-out over) the literature review stage of their thesis or dissertation.

Ok, gently rub your sweaty palms together, take a deep breath, and open this book and read and/or skim-it from cover to cover; (it's only 154 pages). Then, take a legal pad to take notes and and begin using the book as a workbook to work through your own topic. Start with the Introduction -- read this section again very carefully, it's the template for the whole process.

Then, when you're ready to begin, say to yourself five-times, "I can do this," and take another deep breath. You're about to embark on a most interesting journey; when you arrive, you'll know more about your topic than you ever imagined!

Now, begin working your topic through the whole step-by-step process as outlined by each chapter in the book:

Step 1: Select your topic (if you haven't already) -- follow Machi and McEvoy's guidelines as to how to specify a research interest.

Step 2: Search the literature, following their suggestions.

Step 3: Develop the argument-- build your case and evaluate the various parts of your argument.

Step 4: Survey the literature -- assemble your collected data, synthesize it and look for patterns.

Step 5: Critique the literature -- look for logical interpretations of evidence to produce propositions that signal a specific conclusion.

Step 6: Write your review -- write it to understand, that is, to develop and understand your topic and to be understood as well.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saved my life. Well, maybe not my life, but close. February 8, 2012
By Olivia
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was at my wits' end when I got an email from one of my professor's mentioning this book. It wasn't even a recommendation, just a "Hey, this is on the market." I purchased it, skimmed it, and suddenly understood how to do my lit review. I understood how to organize my sources and thoughts so I could process the plethora of information I was dealing with. I know now that I can actually complete this dissertation and am likely to come out the other side with my sanity marginally in tact. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Lawrence A. Machi and Brenda T. McEvoy's THE LITERATURE REVIEW offers master's and doctoral-level students in education and social science a powerful guide to developing and writing a literature review for a research project or thesis. A six-step developmental model offers exercises, graphics, and charts, and a key pick for education libraries.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In Graduate School? December 19, 2008
By DC Phil
Format:Paperback
Whether you are a skilled and experienced writer, or you struggle with every paper, grab a copy of this book. Useful for graduate students and ambitious undergraduates. A valuable tool to help organize and write your next paper or professional report. Keep it on the shelf next to your dictionary, thesaurus, and grammatical guide. I wish I had a copy when I STARTED graduate school, not one year into it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Get New Edition July 31, 2012
By Oxford
Format:Paperback
There is newer edition available at Amazon. Significant revision has been made by the authors. For couple more dollars I should recommend it over this editon. The Literature Review: Six Steps to Success
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsory December 27, 2012
By Susanne
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wish I had found this before I started messing with my lit review. So simple but very effective and steps you through the entire process. Chapters are easy to dip in and out of and provide that focus and structure so necessary to get it right. An essential book on any students bookshelf.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lit Review December 21, 2008
Format:Paperback
I found this book to be of help with writing a lit review. I was a bit stuck, and this book helped me get past the block. I would recommend this book to anyone who is having a difficult time with their lit review. The step by step delineation of the tasks required were clear and made the task of writing the review less daunting.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had been working on a dissertation literature review for about a month and a half before purchasing this book, hoping it would help me with some of the final steps of the review. I did not find the information that I was really looking for, including, when to know if my review was thorough enough and knowing if I really had learned all there is to know about my topic. I also wonder sometimes when to stop looking at the literature, because I could honestly spend all day long for weeks on end and still find more literature written on my topic. I didn't see any specific recommendations in the book to help with this.

I also thought that some of the steps were too intense if you want to have your literature review written in a reasonable amount of time. I'm guessing that if you were to follow all that it recommended that you could be spending up to a year working on the lit review. I don't have that kind of patience or time. I would have appreciated some information on what to do if you were in a situation like me: wanting to get the literature review done as quickly as possible, and what to do if you are already more than halfway through with it and had skipped some of the authors' earlier recommendations.

One more thing, I think that it leaves out an important fact about your literature review, as far as it pertains to doing a graduate thesis or dissertation: it's all about meeting the requirements that are set forth by your committee, particularly your committee chair. Consult with them often to determine what it is they are looking for with a literature review.

I decided to give the book 4 stars instead of 3, because I think the book would have been more helpful if I had not already started my lit review.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great to have to address Chapter II
I am fond of Machi authored books and this one is no different. Great to have to address Chapter II: Literature Review of your dissertation. A must have.
Published 11 days ago by Nick Cicchino
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Just as described in the post.
Published 12 days ago by anita m george
1.0 out of 5 stars Already knew that
This book was terrible! As it was required for a graduate course I bought the book & was sorely disappointed! Read more
Published 15 days ago by Jasmine Ferullo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great
Published 16 days ago by Taif
4.0 out of 5 stars nice guide for a literature review
I used this a resource for my first literature review assignment. It provided great clarity around the writing process. Recommended highly.
Published 26 days ago by Wendy
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great insight to help studensts with literature review process
Published 27 days ago by IRENE D. WHITE
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great condition
Published 1 month ago by thanhdo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A must have if you are completing your master's degree.
Published 1 month ago by Darryl Conley
3.0 out of 5 stars Good content, but steer clear of Kindle version if possible
Overall the content of the book is clear, concise, and helpful. I've purchased both the paper and Kindle version, and unfortunately the reader experience quickly becomes... Read more
Published 1 month ago by E. Geddes
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book and shipper!
Published 1 month ago by spuggy
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More About the Author

Lawrence A. Machi is a professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership at the University of La Verne. He teaches research methods and design and chairs doctoral dissertation research in addition to teaching classes in organizational development. Machi has extensive experience in higher education, having taught in schools of education at the University of San Francisco, St. Mary's College of California, and Sonoma State University prior to his tenure at the University of La Verne.

Machi has also been a K-12 educator, having worked as a secondary teacher and served as a school administrator in both secondary and elementary school districts in Northern California. He has held the roles of vice principal, principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent. Machi has consulted with many California school districts and nonprofit organizations over the years. His specialties have been in the areas of finance, negotiations, and organizational development. He holds an MA in curriculum development and an EdD in organizational leadership.

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