Literature Review: How are you…really

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Literature Review: How are you…really? Measuring wellbeing.

Background to the topic of this assignment

Historically, there has been considerable debate over how to operationalise the construct of wellbeing, as it is often conceptualised within two perspectives; hedonism and eudaimonism.

Hedonism focuses on happiness, situating wellbeing within the context of pleasure and the absence of negative affect or pain. Alternatively, eudaimonism suggests that wellbeing is about personal growth and an individual’s ability to discover their true potential in life.

How researchers define ‘wellbeing’ can directly influence their research outcomes. This makes it difficult to compare and contrast studies on wellbeing, as researchers may be measuring markedly different concepts.

You should start to think not only about the theoretical side of this topic, but also about the research methodology and practical application of research in the area of wellbeing. You can consider any practical / research application of this topic. One pertinent example is wellbeing amongst university students. A national survey of higher education students indicated that common reasons for leaving university included health problems, stress, and low wellbeing. Consequently, it is necessary for tertiary institutes to evaluate their student’s wellbeing. This is the example we will focus on in lectorials, but not the one you have to focus on for your literature search or literature review assessments.

What is the aim of this literature review (and, what is a literature review?)

You will write a literature review on the topic of wellbeing. Your review will cover the theoretical underpinnings of how wellbeing is measured, and this may impact the research outcomes obtained in studies.

A literature review is not simply a summary of research literature. A literature review is also not simply an argumentative essay. Instead, a literature review aims to critically examine scholarly writings, in the main focussing on research literature, on a specific topic. It generally seeks to evaluate and critique a question or topic.

In this literature review you will address the issue of how wellbeing is defined and situated within the perspectives of hedonism and eudaimonia. Consequently, different psychometric measures are used to assess the wellbeing of individuals. A conceptual problem includes that of individuals experiencing high levels of distress and also having high levels of wellbeing.  This can also have real-world implications, where many institutions will target wellbeing programs, depending on how wellbeing is framed.

Historically, many researchers were interested in framing the concept of wellbeing as experiencing pleasure or an absence of pain. This may impact the way researchers and institutions view indviduals and their wellbeing outcomes. Some key researchers have created a number of landmark measures of wellbeing, including the Subjective Wellbeing (SW) and Personal Wellbeing (PW). However, there is still debate about how wellbeing should be measured.

Your literature review should aim to review and asses this literature in order to draw some conclusions about the conceptualisation of wellbeing.

What you need to do

Through the lectorials you will be guided in how to write a literature review. Broadly, this will involve searching for appropriate and relevant scholarly research articles, summarising and critically examining these research articles, and also in the skills needed to compare and contrast the different research evidence available.

You will write your literature review using APA formatting, including the correct use of citations and referencing of scholarly research.

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