The effectiveness of the Six Sigma process on health facility efficiency and performance

Paper instructions:
Develop a research question of interest to you related to the course material. How does age affect attitudes toward exercise is an example of a research question. The dependent variable is attitudes toward exercise and the independent variable is age. A literature review is a report on the state of research at the point in time the review is being written.

Conduct a literature search to identify ALL research papers related to your question (note: if you have too many articles, narrow your focus, if you have too few, expand. Depending upon your topic, at least 20 will be necessary.) Keywords are essential here. The right ones will help you search smarter. It may take some time to find the keywords that lead you to where you want to go. Because this is a medical sociology course, I expect you to use literature not only from sociological journals, but also nursing, medical, health studies, and other relevant journals. It is HIGHLY recommended that you meet with a reference librarian for assistance in identification of articles.

After finding your articles you will read them. Create a matrix, using a spreadsheet (example attached). Identify each of the following components from the research articles: theoretical orientation, design, and findings. The design includes your main variables (attitude toward exercise and age), the demographics used, plus any associated variables you discovered of importance in the articles you read. Perhaps health status was found to affect attitude toward exercise; perhaps weather patterns do. Design also includes the population studied, where the studies took place, the size of the populations (N = sample size), and statistical procedures used.

Synthesize the matrix into a basic literature review. A literature review begins with an introduction to the research question, and then explains the theoretical argument (aka: thesis statement). Follow this by synthesizing the information discovered. Remembering that your dependent variable is your focus. Begin with a description of it and how it is being measured. As you state the relationships found between your dependent and the independent variables found in the articles , note how the independent variables are also n=being measured. ‘Age’ is fairly consistent and simple but ‘depression’ will have variations.–

For the independent variables (effects of) you report those that affected the dependent significantly. If you find differing effects in different studies (sometimes there is a significant effect, sometimes there is not) report this information. Consider what populations were studied? Could the differences found be because of differences in the populations?

Analyze and critique the studies. Note what was missed. Were studies only done on men? Were all ages considered? Make suggestions for further research on the topic (include women and/or those under 21 or over 60). Finish with a conclusion. [The bolded words throughout this set of instructions indicate the sections of your paper.)

By the time you are finished, you will easily have about 20 pages. If not, you either didn’t do a comprehensive review of all possibilities or you have found a major hole in the literature. In the first case, it is back to the databases to broaden your topic a bit; in the second, it is time to jump on it and do the research.

Grade Rubric (75 points)
Completed Matrix (20 points)
Review was comprehensive – at least 20 articles (20 points)
Inclusive of material discovered (20 points)
Clarity (5 points)
Bibliography (5 points)
Properly cited and referenced, grammar, punctuation, etc (5 points)

Proposed Matrix/Outline to use for Literature Review

You can do an outline for each article or you can create a searchable Excel spreadsheet or Word table.

Example of Outline:

Note: this is a starting point. If I left something out that you find important to your topic area, include it. The point to a concise literature review is two-fold:
1) It condenses information you may need for further use.
2) It could become a publication, if it is truly exhaustive.

The information that is to be included in the outline/matrix is as follows:

1) Topic – Research Question – Thesis statement – however you want to describe it: a clear concise statement telling one what the research is about
a) This will contain the dependent and main independent variable
2) The independent, dependent, control and demographic variables
a) Main variables can be found in the hypothesis or the research question.
b) Control and demographics should be listed in the methods section
i) May be referred to as ‘measures’ or ‘indicators’
ii) Sometimes are found in tables listing descriptive statistics
3) The theoretical structure proposed
a) May or may not be present or clearly defined
4) The hypothesis(es)
5) Method
a) Original survey or interview?
b) Observation?
c) Focus group?
d) Etc.
6) Data used
a) Original collection or secondary?
b) May refer to more than one study
7) Sampling method
a) Should be stated even if secondary data used
8) Note whether or not any scales or indexes were created
a) Or, if existing, standard measures were used
b) Note whose they were/where they came from
9) Statistical models used
a) State them
i) At a minimum will be descriptive statistics
(1) Here, if anything of importance to the hypothesis stands out, I note it
10) Supplemental analysis, if present
a) Note process used
i) It is possible to use focus groups to create a mailed out survey which is then analyzed.
ii) Some do the mailed survey first and then do individual interviews of a subset of the original sample.
11) Results or Findings
12) Was/Were the original hypothesis(es) supported or not?
a) Were there other findings of interest?
13) Conclusions
a) Note any problems at any point in the research that you or they picked up on.
b) Mistakes made – noted by either you or the author
c) Recommendations for further study – again, their ideas or yours
i) Perhaps break the above three into their perceptions and then yours

Bibliography Examples for Journals
American Sociological Association Format (ASA)

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