Advanced Research writing

WRTG 391


Writing Assignment #2


The Critical Annotated Bibliography


 Writing Assignment #2 will be a critical annotated bibliography of at least 12 scholarly sources.


In this assignment you will write a list of at least 12 references in alphabetical order in APA format.  In addition, each reference will be followed by a short analytical summary of 150-200 words.  


At the end of the short summary, you will include a sentence or two that critically analyzes the source and that mentions distinctive features about the article and why it may or may not be useful for you in writing a literature review.


You may select a topic of your choice.  However, when selecting a topic, keep in mind that it should be a topic on which a number of studies or scholarly articles have been published.  


Also, ideally the topic that you chose for this assignment will be the same one that you use for the Literature Review—which would give you a headstart on preparing for that assignment.


Otherwise, you will need to begin work on the Literature Review by assembling an entirely new bibliography. 



Overall, in considering a topic, you may consider your major, topics that will be covered in future classes you plan to take at UMUC, and your interests.  Contact the instructor if you have a topic of special interest that you would prefer to use rather than the alternatives listed below.


Select one of the following topics for both your Critical Annotated Bibliography and for your Synthesis/Literature Review writing assignments (you may change your topic if you run into problems, but try to avoid switching because it will make much extra work for you):


  1. During recent political campaigns, there has been much criticism of labor unions and, over the past few decades, both their membership and influence have declined. Recent scholarly studies have examined the history of the labor union movement in the U.S. What insights do they offer for our understanding of the current situation in our country? Whose views appear to be the most influential among scholars and whose seem to have been discredited?


Please use the references below to find the articles for the annotated bibliography and the literature review. We were required to find articles from the school database and not from the internet so, I was able to find these.






Farber, Henry. Industrial & Labor Relations Review. Oct2015, Vol. 68 Issue 5, p1126-1156. 31p. 2 Charts, 14 Graphs. DOI: 10.1177/0019793915592623. , Database: Business Source Complete


King, John; Yanochik, Mark. Atlantic Economic Journal. Sep2015, Vol. 43 Issue 3, p375-382. 8p. DOI: 10.1007/s11293-015-9463-5.


Bova, Francesco. Contemporary Accounting Research. Spring2013, Vol. 30 Issue 1, p14-41. 28p. DOI: 10.1111/j.1911-3846.2012.01160.x. , Database: Business Source Complete


POHLER, DIONNE M.; LUCHAK, ANDREW A. Industrial & Labor Relations Review. Oct2014, Vol. 67 Issue 4, p1063-1094. 32p. DOI: 10.1177/0019793914546295. , Database: Business Source Complete


Malinowski, BethMinkler, MeredithStock, Laura; American Journal of Public Health, Feb2015; 105(2): 261-271. 11p. (Journal Article – review, tables/charts) ISSN: 0090-0036 PMID: 25521905, Database: CINAHL Complete


Sobczak, André; Havard, Christelle. Journal of Business Ethics. Jun2015, Vol. 129 Issue 2, p311-324. 14p. 2 Diagrams, 5 Charts. DOI: 10.1007/s10551-014-2159-y. , Database: Business Source Complete


Malinowski B; Minkler M; Stock L, American Journal Of Public Health [Am J Public Health], ISSN: 1541-0048, 2015 Feb; Vol. 105 (2), pp. 261-71; Publisher: American Public Health Association; PMID: 25521905, Database: MEDLINE


Dawkins, Cedric E. Business Ethics Quarterly. Jul2012, Vol. 22 Issue 3, p473-500. 28p. 3 Charts. DOI: 10.5840/beq201222331. , Database: Business Source Complete


Zullo, Roland. Industrial & Labor Relations Review. Jul2011, Vol. 64 Issue 4, p699-711. 13p. 7 Charts. , Database: Business Source Complete


GEOGHEGAN, THOMAS. Nation. 4/6/2015, Vol. 300 Issue 14, p226-229. 4p. 1 Color Photograph.


Kelly, Maura; Lubitow, Amy. Labor Studies Journal. Dec2014, Vol. 39 Issue 4, p257-277. 21p. DOI: 10.1177/0160449X14567806. , Database: Business Source Complete


Luce, Stephanie. New Labor Forum (Sage Publications Inc.). May2015, Vol. 24 Issue 2, p72-79. 8p. 1 Color Photograph, 1 Chart. DOI: 10.1177/1095796015578919. , Database: Business Source Comple

















Writing Assignment #3


Synthesis/Literature Review Essay
(this “synthesis” paper can be considered a “mini” Literature Review,


Which, in full, can be quite lengthy)


Writing Assignment #3 will be a synthesis essay, a format that is sometimes referred to as a literature review. 


KEY IDEA: This essay will NOT be like the typical one you have written in the past where you take position and assemble supporting evidence in order to convince your reader that your conclusion is correct. Now, you will assume that your reader, like you, is already familiar with your topic AND is about to launch a new, in-depth research project on it. However, your reader wants to avoid wasting time and effort. Therefore, he/she wants YOU to assemble, evaluate, compare and contrast the existing, published scholarly research on the topic. Your essay’s conclusion will present your findings ABOUT THE RESEARCH ARTICLES, not about the topic itself.



With your conclusions in hand, your reader will be able to avoid wasting time on articles that lack credibility, or that are based on inadequate data analysis, or that have been discredited by subsequent scholars. He/she will be able to go directly to the best publications on the topic and use them as a foundation for the new project intended to advance knowledge on the topic.

Your job is to convince your reader that you have really discovered and analyzed the most important published articles, compared them to each other and drawn intelligent conclusions about them.



Your synthesis essay should be organized in the following manner:


  • Introduction: Write one or two paragraphs in which you introduce the reader to your topic.
  • Body — the categories into which you are dividing the literature: Divide your sources into a few categories.  A suggestion is that you divide them into three to five categories.
  • Conclusion: Summarize what the literature says on your topic.




  • This semester, you have critiqued an author’s analysis in the critique essay and have critically evaluated several articles in the annotated bibliography.  In this assignment you will synthesize the ideas of several authors in a synthesis essay, or literature review.
  • For your annotated bibliography, you selected a topic based on your interests and, possibly, your major.  You constructed a list of 12 references and summarized and critically analyzed them in 150-200 words each.


Through this process, you may have seen patterns in the scholarly literature in the topic on which you conducted research.  For example, consider the following examples:


  • You may have researched studies in ________ and found that there are varying opinions on key concepts and proposed solutions.
  • You may have researched studies in ________  and found that scholars disagree sharply about strategies for __________ and subtopics tend to fall into four categories.
  • You may have researched ______ and discovered that there are discrepancies between one important study and another, or between one set of statistics and another.
  • You may have researched articles on _______ and found studies that answered three basic questions on ________ but they all appeared to ignore______, which—in your opinion—represents an important oversight.




In the synthesis essay, you will focus your research efforts in a particular area, perhaps as a response to what you found while writing the annotated bibliography.  You will then conduct more research and synthesize your findings in this synthesis essay.


Please note that the annotated bibliography was the beginning, not the end, of your research.  You might decide to disregard several of the articles you analyzed in the critical annotated bibliography because they don’t speak to the specific area on which you have decided to write your synthesis essay.  You might select one article that you analyzed in the critical annotated bibliography, look up the articles cited in that article, and “snowball” your research in that way. 


In other words, this process is a recursive one.  You might find reasons to hone in on and narrow your topic even further after you have written the annotated bibliography.


While you may change your topic between the Critical Annotated Bibliography and the Synthesis/Literature review assignments, you should consider strongly selecting the same topic for both from the following alternatives:


USE this topic below for the literature review please. It is the same topic for the anototed bibliography. Use the same references to find the articles.


  1. During recent political campaigns, there has been much criticism of labor unions and, over the past few decades, both their membership and influence have declined. Recent scholarly studies have examined the history of the labor union movement in the U.S. What insights do they offer for our understanding of the current situation in our country? Whose views appear to be the most influential among scholars and whose seem to have been discredited?




 How to organize the synthesis essay:


When you have focused on your topic, determine how you will divide the literature.  In other words, consider the following examples we described above.


You might divide the paper as follows:




  • Identify the main subtopics or themes in your overall general topic
  • Indicate the scope of your literature review, i.e., what will it include? What will it exclude? (due primarily to your limited time available during this course)
  • Indicate why this topic is important and how it fits into larger themes.
  • Preview the conclusion that you will reach at the end.




  • Bundle of articles A that have _____ in common.
  • Bundle of articles B that have _____ in common.
  • Bundle of articles C that have _____ in common.
  • For each bundle: summarize each article, evaluate its relative importance, analyze the author’s conclusions, the data presented, the way it fits into larger controversies, compare and contrast it to the other articles in the same bundle, indentify themes or subtopics, provide a provisional conclusion about this article only.




Review the most important provisional conclusions that you presented in the body of the essay. Explain how these earlier conclusions weave a major Conclusion for the essay as a whole—one that points a direction for the reader: go this way with your new project, not that way! Summarize the most important items of evidence on which you based your Conclusion. Indicate any gaps or niches in the published articles that you reviewed. (This would be especially valuable to your reader as he/she continues to work on the same topic. However: save your best material for your final writing assignment, the Niches/Gaps essay, due in the last week of the course.)



While creativity is always welcome, I suggest that, at the outset, you begin each section of the body of your essay with the following template:


In ____’s article, “________title_” (___date), he/she ______(summarize content of the article briefly). Compared to ______ (another article), this article _____ (agrees/disagrees/supports/undermines?) the view that _______. It’s strength is ______, but its weakness is _______. The author bases his/her position on _____ (what kind of data or support?) which is characterized by _______.  As a result, this article can be considered ______ (important? Unimportant? Boring? Badly written? Based on poor data? No data? Controversial? Or___?)



Approach and Requirements


Your synthesis essay, or literature review, should be 2000-2500 words, not including your “references” pages at the end of the review.  In other words, the text of the paper should be 2000-2500 words.  


In addition your synthesis essay should include at least 10 scholarly sources in the “references” section.  As stated above, this means that you may decide not to use all 12 sources that you summarized in your annotated bibliography.  You are free to use all 12 of them.  However, it is possible that your experience in writing summaries of the 12 sources led you to conclude that a few of them will not be as helpful to your topic as you had originally thought.  You may decide not to include such sources in the synthesis essay.  This is totally up to you.  Moreover, you might find other sources that you would like to include in your synthesis essay that were not included in your annotated bibliography.  You may use such sources in your synthesis essay as well. 

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