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The Challenger

McNair Scholars Program
University of Missouri-Columbia

October/November 2007

End 2007-2008 Internship Begins End
Nineteen bright and talented students have begun their year-long journey with the McNair Scholars Program this fall. These scholars represent a diverse field of interests. Under the guidance of faculty members, the scholars gain valuable experience in undergraduate research and graduate school preparation.
Scholar Major Faculty Mentor
David Aguayo Secondary Education Lisa Flores
Valeska Araujo Economics/Philosophy Bradley Curs
Brittani Brown Psychology Michael Lambert
Michelle Clark Comm. & Science Disorders Judith Goodman
Sean Crockett Chemical Engineering Galen Suppes
Miriam Galenas Geological Sciences Alan Whittington
Danielle Graef Psychology Moshe Naveh-Benjamin
Kamara Jones Journalism Carol Anderson
Jimmie Jones Business Management Lori Franz
Lindsey Lanfersieck English John Evlev
Tracey Latimore Psychology Nicole Campione-Barr

A. Olga Mafotsing Fopoussi

Biology Stefan Sarafianos
Renae Mayes Middle School Math/Social Studies Michael Mobley
Kelly Mottaz Fisheries & Wildlife Robert S. Hayward
Diana Ortiz Biology Lori Eggert
Tamela Smith Anthropology Lisa Sattenspiel
Brittany Smotherson Middle School Math Karen Cockrell
Jenniffer Stetler Animal Science/Biochemistry Charles R. Brown
Catera Wilder Biological Engineering Sheila Grant

MU McNair Fall 2007 Highlights


Workshop/Seminars: Scholars have particpated in several workshops that concentrated on the entire graduate school admissions procedure and the process of conducting academic research.

Senior Retreat: Graduating scholars received in-depth, hands on assistance in completing their graduate school applications. This retreat also assisted with troubleshooting as scholars discovered issues with graduate school applications.

GRE Prep Sessions: Throughout September scholars developed test-taking strategies and reviewed the subjects covered by the Graduate Record Examination. Scholars also recieved tips and feedback on the analytical writing section of the exam.

Research Proposal: Scholars introduced their research question and sketched out a detailed plan as to how the intend to carry out their research or scholarly activity.

Ronald E. McNair Day: Former McNair Scholars, now graduate students at MU, shared how the various aspects of the McNair Program prepared them for their graduate studies.End


What is a Review of Literature?

A review of literature is an essential part of your academic research project. The review is a careful examination of a body of literature pointing toward the answer to your research question. A literature or a body of literature is a collection of published research relevant to a research question. All good research and writing is guided by a review of the relevant literature. Your literature review will be the mechanism by which your research is viewed as a cumulative process. That makes it an integral component of the research process.

The purpose of the literature review remains the same regardless of the research methodology you use. It is an essential test of your research question against that which is already known about your subject. Through the literature review you will discover whether someone else already has answered your research question. If your research question has been answered, you must change or modify your question.

If you find that someone else has not answered your research question satisfactorily, then search out the answers to these questions:

  • What is known about my subject?
  • What is the chronology of the development of knowledge about my subject?
  • Are there any gaps in the knowledge of my subject?
  • What openings for research have other researchers identified?
  • How do I intend to bridge the gaps?
  • Is there a consensus on relevant issues? Or is there significant debate on issues?
  • What are the various positions?
  • What is the most fruitful direction I can see for my research as a result of my literature review?
  • What directions are indicated by the work of other researchers?

Only you can determine what is satisfactory, relevant, significant or important in the context of your own research.


Getting ready to write: It is time to review your notes and begin the draft of your literature review. Write out your research question again at the head of a list of the various keywords and authors that you have uncovered in your search. Do any pairings or groups pop out at you? You are structuring or sketching out the literature review, which is the first step in writing a research paper, thesis or dissertation. Eventually, a broad overview picture of the literature in your subject area will begin to emerge.

Writing the review: In preparing to write your review, remember that your first draft will not be your final draft. Throughout the writing process, allow yourself to write in a non-linear fashion. If a selection of the writing is giving you difficulty, jump to another section.

Edit and rewrite: Your oal is to communicate effectively and efficiently the answer you found to your research question in the literature. While editing your work, take into consideration that your review should be clear and concise. Big words and technical terms will make your review hard for all readers to understand. Always re-read what you have written. Once you have edited your work, have someone else proofread your review. Then revise and rewrite it. If you ar writing an abstract and introduction, leave them for last.

Writing the conclusion: Throughout your written review, you should communicate your new knowledge by combining the research question you asked with the literature you reviewed. End your writing with a conclusion that wraps up what you learned in the literature review process. While the interaction between the research questions and the relevant literature is foreshadowed throughout the review, it usually is written at the very end. The interaction itself is a learning process that gives researchers new insight into their area of research. End

[Information adapted from materials published by the Union Institute]

Notes on Networking and Etiquette
As scholars travel to acadmeic conferences, complete with receptions and multi-course meals, these tips on etiquette are becoming more and more helpful. Below are a few more points that will assist in the ever expanding events scholars are finding themselves attending.
  • Respond to invitations and RSVPs promptly. Even if you're unable to attend, let the person or organization know your intentions.
  • Be aware of dress codes for events. Check with someone familiar with the event to know what you should wear.
  • Place your name tag on the right hand side of your body. This way when someone shakes your hand, their eye goes straight up your arm to your nametag.
  • Avoid discussing politics or other controversial topics with people you've just met. You don't know their entire background and can't be certain that what you say won't alienate them. Keep to safe topics such as the event you're attending.
  • When being served at a table, wait for everyone to recieve their meal or desert before you begin.
  • When looking at your place setting think of a BMW. The bread plate is to your left, your meal plate is in the middle and your water is to the right.
  • Another tip for place setting: touch your thumb to your middle finger on both hands. This makes your left hand ito a "b" and your right hand into a "d." You're now pointing to your bread plate and your drink. Make sure you do this inconspicuously.
  • Use your silverware starting with the farthest from your plate. You may have a salad fork, a shrimp fork, and a main course fork. They are placed in the order that you will use them. The utensil above your plate is reserved for desert.
  • Take smaller than normal bites of food. You're not there to gorge yourself. Take your time eating and use the event for your networking needs.
  • When attending a reception where you may have to eat standing up, hold everything in your left hand. Allow your right hand to be free to shake hands with others or to eat. To do this, place the plate between your middle and index finger and your drink between your thumb and index finger. Finally, lay the napkin over your pinky.
A way to hold a plate with one hand
  • Don't overcrowd your plate at buffet meals. Only take enough that you can easily manage. End

[Special thanks to Chef Leslie Jett, Hotel & Restaurant Management Program, University of Missouri-Columbia]

NaTashua Davis, Assistant Director
Jeremy Bloss, Program Advisor
Darlene Dixon, Program Assistant

For additional information
McNair Scholars Program
536 Clark Hall

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