Choose a research area of interest, conduct a thorough search of recently published academic

articles, and write a literature review encapsulating the important developments in this area of


 Be intentional and specific in the area you wish to explore/investigate to conduct a focussed and refined literature search.

 Include only articles in academic journals – search for them using online academic

databases and the reference lists of relevant articles.

 Read the articles carefully, several times if necessary, to make sure you understand each


A literature review typically includes:

a. Introduction, which describes the context in which your topic is situated and explains its


b. Synthesis, which summarizes key aspects of prior studies;

c. Evaluation, which analyzes and appraises prior studies in terms of their theoretical underpinnings, methodologies, results, interpretations, and conclusions;

d. Justification, which identifies major themes or knowledge gaps in prior studies and

provides a rationale for your intended work or guidelines for future work on the topic; and

Bachelor of Applied Social Science

The South African College of Applied Psychology (Pty) Ltd

Applied Research Methodology

Page 12

e. Conclusion, which recaps the main findings from the literature review and explains how

these findings inform policy, research, and practice or how your work will address the

knowledge gaps.

Related key learning outcomes:

This assignment will allow students to:

 Practice the key skill of searching for academic research papers on a chosen topic;

 Engage in a structured way with the literature they have selected, orienting them to

existing work on the topic. This lays a foundation for the literature review component of

the Research Proposal assignment;

 Develop their academic reading and synthesis skills;

 Reflect on the realities of conducting research (i.e. the limitations imposed on research);


 Reflect on what makes “good” research