Healthy Snacking Literature Review
Project Files: Trust_litreview.pdf
Class: ED 690
While the global volume sales of snack foods is predicted to increase by 9.8 million tons in the next three years (Food Navigator-USA, 2008), there is surprisingly little research about the snacking habits of adults. In ED 690, my teammate and I decided to do a research project about the snacking habits, behaviors, and perceptions of young adults. We split the workload of the project and I was responsible for the majority of the literature review. I used the SDSU Love Library, UCSD Libraries, Google Scholar, and a variety of other tools to research snacking behaviors. After copying all of the relevant research to a document, I split the research into key sections (i.e., the definition of a snack, motivations for snacking, and snacking behaviors) and pieced together the literature review. This literature review helped my teammate and I design our research instruments and make informed conclusions in our final report.
Locating scholarly articles, journals, and books was a very strategic process. Since there is very little research about healthy snacking and adults, I had to start with articles about snacking. As I read through the articles I would look for particular pieces of information about healthy snacking, or even better, healthy snacking in relation to adults. Sometimes I would only find 1-2 sentences in a 15-page article. I would then look through the works cited for the study referenced in these sentences and then search for that study. Sometimes I would get an exact match of the study and other times the search would provide me with similar results. This process involved an in-depth analysis of a large amount of literature in order to find a few valuable bits of information that would help inform the research project.
The next steps, interpreting and synthesizing the information, required inductive and deductive reasoning. Especially since there was little research to work with, I had to figure out how to relate the results of studies to a large audience (young adults). Furthermore, I had to determine which material was relevant to our study and how that material would enlighten our research project.
Problems and Opportunities:
As mentioned previously, there is very little research about adult’s snacking behaviors and healthy snacking. I had to sift through a lot of material to find relevant pieces of information and then make generalizations about adult’s snacking habits using this information. While this was a problem, it was not an obstacle – I was able to make the most of what I was given to work with. In fact, it required a lot of extra work and research but also provided me with the opportunity to improve my research, analysis, and interpretation skills.
Another difficult part of this project was the writing process. This was my first time doing a literature review and I had not idea how technically specific Professor Bober-Michel wanted the review. I also did not know how to interpret the data and piece it together to flow logically. Luckily, I had my teammate, Sherry Hertle, who provided valuable feedback that significantly improved the literature review. It took many drafts and re-writes of the literature review, but I learned a lot about writing literature reviews and using that information to make decisions about the research project.
While I learned many skills from this project (research, analysis, interpretation of literature), the overall process of writing the literature review was a learning experience. There was a significant learning curve with this project, but it has helped me immensely in other EDTEC classes. For example, in my EDTEC 590 class, my teammate and I were tasked with evaluating the San Diego Zoo’s new wayfinding system. We had to do a literature review of wayfinding systems at Zoos, which is not a commonly researched topic. However, I felt comfortable throughout the entire process – I knew where to search, what to look for, how to interpret the material, and how to use the information from the literature to make informed conclusions and findings in our final report.
I am also planning to pursue a Ph.D. in Education and I know that the cognitive skills I learned from this project will help me excel in graduate school.
Field of Educational Technology:
Doing a review of relevant literature is a very important part of any research study or evaluation. When designing a research project, analysis of the literature is valuable because individuals can learn from and expand upon past studies. Literature reviews also help individuals make informed decisions about how to organize their research project (i.e., what type of research to do, which type(s) of instruments to use, and how to make conclusions based on the results). Just like in the ADDIE model where you must analyze the audience before developing an educational training program, in research and evaluation it is important to review the literature to have a solid foundation of knowledge to build from.
Food Navigator-USA. (2008). Snack market set for billion dollar growth. Retrieved from http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Product-Categories/Chocolate-and-confectionery-ingredients/Snack-market-set-for-billion-dollar-growth