Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2022


AP Research students often find writing the literature review for their thesis papers challenging due to struggling to see connections between sources, leading to difficulty in establishing a gap in the literature. However, incorporating the use of an organizational tool can help students with these challenges and lead to a more thorough and interconnected annotated bibliography entries. With limited research into how well spreadsheet matrices and concept maps help AP Research students improve their writing of these entries, this action research project aimed to further the conversation of how best to help AP Research students approach writing a literature review. In a pre/post-intervention quasi-experimental design, one section of 20 AP Research students were asked to utilize a spreadsheet matrix and one section of 19 AP Research students were asked to utilize a digital concept map. Student annotations were evaluated before and after the intervention using a rubric. A chi-square test for association revealed a significant increase in proficient scores after interventions were implemented, but no significant difference in post-intervention scores between the two test groups. These findings suggest that the use of either a spreadsheet matrix or a digital concept map can lead to better proficiency in writing their annotated bibliography entries, both overall and specifically for interconnecting sources. The implication is that AP Research teachers should train students to use either a spreadsheet matrix or a digital concept map to help improve their ability to write an annotated bibliography, see connections between sources, and ultimately write their literature review.

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