Error message

  • Deprecated function: implode(): Passing glue string after array is deprecated. Swap the parameters in drupal_get_feeds() (line 394 of /home/nixotca/public_html/gk12/includes/
  • Deprecated function: The each() function is deprecated. This message will be suppressed on further calls in menu_set_active_trail() (line 2386 of /home/nixotca/public_html/gk12/includes/

Coastal Ecosystem Literature Review Project

Project 1: Literature Review

Current Threats and Human Impacts on (ecosystem of student's choice)

Activity Description

The students will write a review paper on either salt marshes, rocky shores, or sandy beaches, and discuss threats to this ecosystem and how human activities impact the ecosystem.  There are several goals for this project:

  1. Students will become aware of research needs pertaining the ecosystem of interest.
  2. Student will become familiar with scientific writing and literature review principles.

Estimated Time of Activity

Four to five 90-minute periods.  Because teaching these valuable skills in extremely time-consuming, this is when setting up an online forum for students to interact, critique, ask and answer questions comes in very handy (Moodle, for example).

Activity Objectives

Many skills need to be in place in order for students to compose a literature review, including:

  • Finding appropriate peer-reviewed articles (through Google scholar, Scopus, Web of Science, etc…)
  • Reading and comprehending scientific journal articles.
  • Using citation managers to handle references
  • Composing a clear and readable literature review, without plagiarizing.

Activity Instructions

1) Download EndNote or RefWorks (or other citation management software).  Determine which scientific journal resources your school has access to.

            *Note that PlosONE is one of many open access journals.

Students should have created an outline for their literature review prior to first class session.

2) First class session:  this class will be devoted to teaching students how to locate and download appropriate articles by introducing them to Google scholar and open access journals.  They need only read the abstract at this time.

Also show them how the citation management software works.

The goal will be for the students to get 10 good references and construct an annotated bibliography (list references: title/author/year only, and briefly explain why each one is appropriate for their paper).  But the students will find appropriate articles that they will not have full access to, so they cannot include these.  The teacher needs to inform the students of this.

During the first class session, students will probably get 3 references listed and described in the annotated bibliography, and should complete the rest on their own.

3) Second session: students must learn how to read and extract relevant information from this type of resource.  Students must learn the structure of the paper, what they can and cannot ignore, and how to find the information that is important to their research.

Here are some guides for teachers and students making their first endeavors in reading primary literature:

Students will read and highlight five or more of their papers by the next session.

4) Third and fourth session: Students will begin typing their paper using their notes, citation managers and working carefully to avoid plagiarism.  Teachers will circulate and troubleshoot privately with students regarding difficulty reading article or writing the paper.

5) Fifth session: Peer review.  Given a rubric, students will carefully critique each other's papers with an official attached document.  During the week (homework) students will revise paper based on critique, and describe how they responded to each of the suggested revisions.

This final paper is submitted to the teacher for final grading.


Graded literature review.


List the activity assignments here. Assignments should specify what students will do in class as well as produce outside of class (homework).


  • computers for each student
  • reference management software (RefWorks or EndNote for example)
  • literature review guidelines
  • peer review instructions
  • grading rubric


Return to ARM Description.