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The Literature Review: Six Steps to Success Paperback – July 10, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-1412961356 ISBN-10: 9781412961356 Edition: 1st

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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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Corwin; 1 edition (July 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781412961356
  • ISBN-13: 978-1412961356
  • ASIN: 1412961351
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #546,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Provided very helpful information.
Chantal Prospere
Highly recommended for college and university library collections and individuals writing a thesis or dissertation.
RNS
It has step-by-step tips and processes for writing a literature review, which is good for me and helpful.
Jill O.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By RNS VINE VOICE on April 5, 2010
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 By Olivia on February 8, 2012
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 By Midwest Book Review on November 9, 2008
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 By DC Phil on December 19, 2008
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 By Oxford on July 31, 2012
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 By Susanne on December 27, 2012
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 By Karla C. Peterson on 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 By Stephen Ashton on February 15, 2012
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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