The course has been instrumental to me in understanding how to conduct effective research using existing literature resources. The knowledge acquired in this course will no doubt be used in the future when preparing and writing my dissertation literature review. While I was able to carry out the research, I must state that the experience was both mutually beneficial and challenging. In this reflective essay, I will reveal the gains and challenges and evaluate the current state of my ability to sources, review and synthesize scholarly sources.
I gained an immersive experience in analyzing different sources related to my research topic, Modern Racism in Institutions of Learning. The course allowed me to explore the significant keywords and themes of the researchable issue. Identifying the themes was crucial because it enabled me to know the validity of the source. The research was subdivided into themes such as social construction based on racism, oppression, and dehumanization, culturally responsive education, and white privilege to understand racism is being practiced in learning institutions.
Also, the literature review process allowed me to understand that time is essential when conducting research. The literature sources were restricted to only five years old to ensure the relevancy and accuracy of the information and relate to current populations. I learned that older sources do not depict the current trends, rendering the research ineffective in the recent phenomena.
In this course, I gained an understanding of literature review writing versus other scholarly writing. The literature review mandates the author to conduct a critical analysis, compare multiple current sources, and generate some comparisons between them. For instance, sources Adams & Pilloud (2021) and May & McDermott (2021) discussed oppression and dehumanization. Moreover, sources; Adams & Pilloud (2021) and Moffic et al. (2020) described the theme of white privilege, which influences modern racism. On the other hand, scholarly writing comprises a wide range of written work by researchers, scholars, and academicians. A notable difference is that a literature review is just a section within a scholarly work that focuses on evaluating the current literature as per the given topic.
However, the literature review process faces several challenges, such as identifying the correct sources. While researching the topic, Modern Racism in Institutions of Learning, I found more than 18 700 scholarly reviewed sources related to the topic hence determining the specific sources to use was not easy. To determine the appropriate sources, I developed keywords such as modern racism, education, learners, white privilege, culturally responsive education, and oppression and dehumanization. I am still learning to determine the specific keywords based on a given topic.
The synthesis process allowed me to relate themes and what different authors thought believed. For instance, some authors argued that white privilege is to blame for modern racism in learning institutions. Most people believe that white Americans receive undue advantages because of the color of their skin. Some other scholars argued that all learners need to experience similar treatment in institutions of learning because all learners are equal except for the color of their skin. They also stated that the differences in academic performance between white and black learners were brought by other external factors such as family backgrounds and intellectual capacity. I still need to learn to make comparisons of themes from different sources.
Writing a literature review is mandated to come up with an outline which is a mapping of what is expected of the paper. In my outline, I wrote the introduction and thesis statement for the paper, which is a guide on the expectations of the literature review. After that, the specific themes were identified in separate paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph summarizing the paper. Upon developing and ascertaining a clear outline, I started writing a rough draft that contained the ideas based on the paper’s topic and instructions. On this, I started writing the introduction by discussing modern racism. In the subsequent paragraphs, I wrote the specific themes in different sections based on the author’s descriptions and lastly wrote the conclusion, which is a summary of the entire paper. On the rough draft, I did not care about punctuation and proofreading of materials. Lastly is the final draft, a polished work of my writing where I took time to proofread and correct errors while ensuring clarity and proper structure.
I need to polish my research skills and clarify my writing work. Although I completed the task appropriately, I still need to practice and learn proofreading skills to ensure my work is precise and error-free. This will allow me to gain some milestones in my future writing for the subsequent courses and my dissertation.
In conclusion, writing a literature review was instrumental in allowing me to understand the proper ways to identify scholarly sources related to a research topic. The process allowed me to understand the significance of keywords when conducting research, mainly when thousands of research materials are available. I also gained experience in preparing for an outline and writing a rough draft and the final draft of a paper to ensure that it is well polished, clear, and concise.
Adams, D. M., & Pilloud, M. A. (2021). Perceptions of Race and Ancestry in Teaching, Research, and Public Engagement in Biological Anthropology. Human Biology, 93(1), 9–32. https://doi.org/10.13110/humanbiology.93.1.01
Amy R. May, & Victoria McDermott. (2021). Invisibility as Modern Racism: Redressing the Experience of Indigenous Learners in Higher Education. Journal of Communication Pedagogy, 5, 55–61. https://doi.org/10.31446/JCP.2021.2.09
Moffic, H. S., Bailey, R. K., Clark, F. A., Cohen, C., Friedman, C., Isom, J., & Malhotra, A. (2020). Dismantle Racism in Psychiatry & Society. Psychiatric Times, 37(8), 1–15.