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FCS 5240: Socio / Psychological Aspects of Dress

What a Literature Review Is

Literature review is an examination of the research that has been conducted in a particular field of study. It is an account of what has been published on a topic by accredited scholars and researchersIt accounts for relevant works/articles that provide background and support to the topic. The purpose of the literature review is to convey to your reader what knowledge and ideas have been established on a topic, to demonstrate your ability to identify relevant information and to outline existing knowledge, and to evaluate and synthesize the information in line with the concepts that you have set yourself for the research.

How to Read a Scholarly Journal Article

How to Approach the Article: When you read journal articles, think about how you are going to write a paper based on what you read. 
• Keep in mind your own research question 
• Focus on the information in the article that is relevant to your research question (you may be able to skim over other parts) 
• Question everything you read - not everything is 100% true or correct 
• Think critically about what you read and try to build your own argument based on it

Reading the Article: Look at the structure of the article (most scientific articles follow the same specific format) 
 Abstract (summary of the whole article) 
 Introduction (why the author did the research) 
 Methodology (how the author did the research) 
 Results (what happened) 
 Discussion (what the results mean) 
 Conclusion (what the author learned) 
 References (whose research the author read)

• Read the abstract and conclusion first (these have the main points) 
• If you find anything in the abstract or conclusion that is important for your paper, search for the information 
• If you need more information, then read through whole sections (usually discussion or results section) 
• “Close read” by deciding what parts of the reading are worthy of deeper study. This requires investigating early perceptions and scrutinizing possible significance.

Annotation (the act of annotating, making notes, commenting upon): There are a few major ways to take notes (mapping, outlining, 2-column, word-for-word), but this is a personal style choice. Try different ways, but use the one that fits you best, and engages you in the topic. 
• Pay attention to what each section is about. The Abstract, Discussion, and Conclusion sections usually have the most important information. 
• Take notes while you are reading (that way you don't have to go back and re-read it when you write your paper) 
• Write summarizing notes for main points in the margin, or on a separate piece of paper 
• Highlight only very important quotes or terms

Avoid These Traps

  • Trying to read everything
  • Reading but not writing
  • Failing to keep bibliographic information
  • Organizing and structuring your review chronologically --> Please organize your paper by ideas (thematically!)

A good literature review is FOCUSED - Remember your purpose: read with purpose and write with purpose!

Identifying a Topic

The following list of terms and keywords may be useful in searching for your topic. Often it is helpful to try different keywords and combinations of keywords. These terms come from the thesaurus in PsychInfo, but should be useful in other databases as well.

  • Dress and culture
  • Dress, body and media
  • Dress and religion
  • Body image
  • Physical appearance
  • Physical attractiveness
  • Fads and fashions
  • Appearance for gender and sexual identity
  • Masculinity and femininity
  • Racial and ethnic identities through dress and appearance   

Publication Type Comparison

You will come across three main types of articles: Scholarly, Trade, and Popular. But, you need to find and use scholarly articles for FCS 5240 research assignment. You can  tell it is scholarly by several characteristics

  • A scholar, specialist, expert wrote it
  • The intended audience is for academia
  • Has a bibliography or works cited page

Comparing 3 types of publications -

  • Scholarly: Highly reliable, use freely. Written by scholars for scholars
  • Trade: Use with caution, written by people in the industry for people in the industry 
  • Popular: Avoid, authority and reliability hard to determine.