Literature Review and Analysis
Goal: The purpose of this paper is to examine a communication issue of organizational significance. This will help you discover what others in your area of interest have learned about your topic. Using the work and insights of those who have come before, we can move continually forward as a field and avoid “reinventing the wheel.”
Guidelines: For this paper, you are to write an integrative literature review that focuses on a specific organizational communication process. You will conduct a literature search to identify all relevant theory and research within that area. After reading relevant literature, you should consider how this literature fits together (i.e. integrate it) and consider what issues still need to be considered in this area (i.e. develop research questions or hypotheses). Your final product will then be a paper that reviews the literature in an integrative fashion by making an argument about what has been done in a particular area and what needs to be done in the future.
First, select a topic of interest that is relevant to some area of organizational communication.
After you have selected and cleared your topic, you can begin your research in earnest. The literature review must include published articles from refereed, academic journals. Please try to make these from recent journals—from last 10-15 years. The librarian can be of tremendous help in guiding you to appropriate journals.
You must find at least 10 journal articles that address your topic (you can use more). You will find that some of the articles are very technical and complex. Read the abstract first to give you an overview and then work through each article section-by-section trying to identify the overall points being made.
As you search for articles try to include at least one or two communication journals. This isn’t always possible, but try.
Communication titles include, but are not limited to, the following:
Communication Research Reports
Critical Studies in Mass Communication
Howard Journal of Communication
Human Communication Research
Journal of Applied Communication Research
Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media
Journal of Communication
Journal of Communication and Religion
Management Communication Quarterly
Mass Communication Review Yearbook
Media Studies Journal
Pennsylvania Speech Communication Annual
Philosophy and Rhetoric
Quarterly Journal of Speech
Southern Speech Communication Journal
Western Journal of Communication
As you collect articles, consider taking notes that highlight main points relevant to your topic. Especially note where your various articles agree or disagree with one another.
As you write your paper your task is to report the state of the art in your chosen area of research. You will summarize what is said and come to some conclusions about what it all means. I generally suggest that you organize your paper around three or four main points that seem to be dealt with in the literature. For example, if you are writing about socialization, you might find the literature focuses on topics like 1) the process by which newcomers learn assumptions, values, and norms of the new organization, 2) the strategies individuals use to make sense of the new culture, 3) the differences in socialization practices within different organizational cultures.
Present your materials in an organized manner. And let the reader know the organizational structure of the paper. I suggest the basic three-part presentation:
INTRODUCTION: Introduce your reader to your topic and the approach(es) you are using to analyze the process. Set the tone of the paper. You may open with some attention-gaining device.
As part of the introduction, overview the main points you plan to cover. Identify clearly for the reader the logic behind your organizational choice. Are your three points those that recur in the literature? Tell the reader. For example, “Research on manager interpersonal styles tends to be divided into investigation on managers over 40 and those under 40.” Clearly identify a thesis for the paper, or a statement that summarizes the argument in the paper in one sentence. For this paper, your argument will be how you are categorizing what has been written about your chosen topic.
BODY: In the body of the paper you have the task of carrying out what you overviewed in the introduction. Provide a review of the literature that you have investigated (e.g. what do we know about socialization or what do we know about cultural diversity). As you move through the paper, remember to lead with your own thematic points about the literature. Do not review each individual article one at a time. Review the knowledge produced from the articles and then use the articles as examples to support what you are saying. Remember, a literature review serves to synthesize what is known about a given topic so that readers do not have to do the work of reading all of the individual articles. Identify each referenced article by author and publication date (APA format). Do not list the titles of the articles. It’s a waste of space. State, for example, “Jones (1997) conducted research with new management trainees…). Compare and contrast research and findings as you go. At the end of each discussion (both at the end of each article and each major point) “clinch” your point by telling the main idea you wish to convey. Finally, include a section that offers a detailed argument about future research that could be conducted to further our knowledge about the process you have chosen through the research approach(es) you have taken.
CONCLUSION: At the end of your paper review your main points and summarize the overall conclusion to be reached at the end of your research. For example, “The research suggests that executives’ listening skills are significantly more refined than the listening skills of…”
Reference sheet: Include a listing of all articles to which you specifically referred throughout your literature review. Unlike a bibliography, a reference sheet does not include work you used in preparing your paper but did not refer to by specifically. You will, of course, include all ten of the articles reviewed for this assignment.
In terms of mechanics, your paper should:
1. Be 15-20 pages long (typed, double-spaced)
2. Follow APA format guidelines
3. Include at least 10 references
4. Be clearly organized, free of typos and grammatical error, (meet the standards of college-level writing).
1. Your ability to follow directions included on this sheet,
2. Your ability to focus on relevant organizational communication issues,
3. Quality of journals and articles used,
4. Clarity of organization,
5. Clarity of arguments,
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