Identifying Research Trends: Abstracting & Analysis
The purpose of this assignment is for you to become familiar with recent scholarly research and analyze
current trends in research related to your general area of scholarly interest within the field of
In doing the assignment you will be working with all of the research articles within the past year in the
journal you identified as the most important journal for you to read regularly in the "Reading the
Discipline" assignment. The journal you use for this assignment must be a research journal. Use only
research articles; no book reviews, commentary, organizational business, etc.
Include no fewer than 16 and no more than 20 articles for this assignment. In other words, in most cases, you
will use all of the articles in all of the issues published during the past year. However, if the journal you have
chosen published only 10 articles during the past year, then you should abstract the articles published over
two years of the journal, if the journal published 40 articles over the year, then you may do one-half year.
Do the project in the following steps:
1. Prepare a bibliography.
List the citations, in proper MLA or APA format (e.g., alphabetical by author), of all the research articles for
the past year in the journal that you identified as the most important scholarly journal for you to read
regularly. (Thus, your bibliography will include 16 to 20 articles.)
2. Abstract the articles.
Write an abstract for each of the articles listed in your bibliography. We want you to master the art of
abstracting and time has shown that the following conventions produce the most useful abstracts:
- Each article should be on a separate page
- Write in paragraph style rather than just listing information.
- At the top of the page, provide the proper citation for the article (in APA or MLA format).
- In one or two paragraphs, summarize the content of the article. Include the following:
- Provide a summary statement for the purpose of the article
- Identify the key concepts informing the work and how those concepts are defined.
- List the hypotheses being tested or the thesis of the article.
- Describe how the researcher went about his/her work.
- Explain the findings of the article.
- Explain the significance of the findings.
- DO NOT copy or simply reword the abstract at the top of the journal article. These abstracts are usually
insufficient summaries compared to the information required above.
3. Analyze the research.
Consider the research covered in this group of articles then develop a typology for categorizing this body of
research. Your typology should have sufficient categories to be useful for organizing the research (at least
three categories). Using this typology, write an analysis (no more than 1250 words) of current research
trends within the journal you have chosen. This section should be written in the format of a research paper,
including proper citations. Develop a thesis and support your claims. Do not
just list your answers.
Basing your analysis on the typology you are using, you should do the following in your paper:
- Explain your typology and its usefulness for understanding the research trends of the articles included in
the past year in your chosen journal. What aspects of the research does the typology highlight? Where
does the typology draw our attention? And what aspects of the research may be overlooked by using this
- Discuss what your typology and your analysis of these articles suggest about current research in your area
of interest within the field of Communication. What strengths and weaknesses are evident in this body of
research? Are there certain "hot issues" being addressed? What do these articles tell us about the current
state of research in Communication?
- Describe differences in research assumptions and perspectives used by the various researchers. What does
the current research suggest about current trends in methodology?
- Talk about the general types of conclusions drawn within these articles. Do the conclusions promote
further research and theory building? Given the current trends you have discovered in these articles from
the past year, suggest directions for future research.
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