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Dissertations 2 research + lit reviews (pre-2003 compatible)

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  • Critical analysis: it’s all about asking questions . Not random questions, but specific questions, targeted in order to maximise the value of any evidence. it can make the difference between the excellent student and the mediocre one; The enquiring mind seeks to test everything it is told or reads: it seeks to read ‘between the lines’. In other words, if told something is ‘true’, rather than accept that as fact, you will always seek to apply your analytical judgement to fully test to see whether that something really is ‘true’ or not . Note-taking as part of the Research Process Be organised. Keep all your research notes and, most importantly, file them in a sensible, logical order. The well-organised student saves much time by knowing exactly where to find their notes. Effective research note-taking: Skim-reading, chapter / index searching, etc. to narrow down Using the margins; at the head of the page, note the author (s) name (s), publication title , year of publication, place of publication & the publisher . (Also, you may wish to date your notes; certainly you should number each page, in case the pages get mixed up). Importantly, note down the page number by every comment you record – the margin is an ideal place. This applies whether you are quoting directly or summarising a point in your own words. Note-taking for sufficient context; Photocopying as a tool; annotation-highlighting; Spider/flow diagrams/mindmaps for key issues & relationships with one another;
  • Note-taking as part of the Research Process (cont) ‘ Cornell’ system , to facilitate questioning, critical pro-active note-taking.
  • Attention to detail with quotation marks (avoiding risk of unintended plagiarism). If you are directly quoting, make certain to wrap the quote in quotation marks. The passing off of others’ work as your own is a serious offence and can result in expulsion – the last thing you would want is to be caught out for accidental plagiarism as a consequence of shoddy note-taking! Once beyond initial researching stages: try keeping separate notes for separate parts of your dissertation / project (e.g., one set of notes per chapter/section: advantages: Organising thoughts; Aids focus for project; Makes sure you are obtaining enough information for all sections of the project (balance); Helps with deciding where useful quotes or references may best be included in the dissertation. Disadvantages: It’s quite difficult! Oral recording of notes to aid articulation
  • Critical analytical research/note-taking: a ‘pro-active’ approach to taking notes Try to establish if there is a central ‘theme’ to the source: a key argument, etc. For books, look for initial clues, in jacket blurbs, introduction and conclusion sections. Skim reading can help to identify potentially relevant passages Don’t attempt to write down everything. If a vast amount of a chapter appears to be relevant, you should foremost attempt to record the essence of what the author is arguing. Cut out unnecessary prose and descriptive passages. You will need to record some background factual information, but your notes should concentrate on the analysis of the book you are reading: try to discern between analytical/argument (opinion, theory, etc.) versus description/narrative/background/linking information (not always easy to do this). [email_address] – may need recording in detail; [email_address] – generally record info in less detail, summarising in own words if not previously noted If analysis , and relevant, it may be necessary to take detailed notes (or photocopy/highlight/annotate). If the argument is straightforward, it may save time to sum it up briefly in your own words rather than quote it directly – unless the passage lends itself to quotation, in which case you write the passage out in full, in quote marks ‘…’
  • Always question (every paragraph, every sentence): ‘ is this relevant? ’ ‘ is it information I (might) need? ’ ‘ have I fully understood what the author is saying ’? Double-check to see if your notes accurately reflect the point the author is making & have not missed subtle aspects of any argument. ‘ Is it “argument”?’ ‘If so, is the source a “ messenger ” or “ originator ”?’ If messenger, where are the ideas coming from? You do not want to mistakenly credit the messenger as an inventor of a particular concept, theories or understanding if they are not themselves the originator! If you are reading a secondary work, make a note in the margins of your notes of the actual originator, i.e., ‘[ author name ] view: to check ’ – you may at some stage need to work backwards to examine the originator’s findings in detail, from the source itself.
  • Always question (every paragraph, every sentence): [contd.] ‘ What are the issues here?’ ‘Can I identify the areas of contention and debate around the subject?’ Crucially, you must ask specific questions about the information as you are reading . These are the ‘who’ ‘what’ ‘where’ ‘how’ ‘why’ ‘when’ type questions which may help you to (i) better focus your consequent research on the topic, (ii) ascertain gaps in your knowledge, and (iii) approach the question in as focused, detailed and enquiring, a manner as possible. Ask these questions about both the subject you are dealing with, and the interpretations of the author you are reading. Ask questions about the events you are dealing with, for example, ‘How was something allowed to happen?’, ‘Why did it happen’, ‘Could it have been avoided?’, ‘Where there any good points about it and, if so, what were they?’ In essence, you can evaluate arguments by being (i) adversarial ; (ii) inquisitorial . Academic convention favours the latter: balance, detached, etc. Questioning of author interpretation: ‘ Is the author correct, or is there a flaw in their argument?’
  • Can I identify any preconceptions that can be seen to have affected his or her judgement? Does the year in which the book was written affect the judgement of the author, and has new evidence since come to light which may challenge the author’s conclusions? If so, ‘Can I obtain any more recent material, or will I have to go with my own instincts?’ ‘If I go for the latter, can I defend the arguments of my own which I introduce into the essay?’ Place of publication ? Educational background? any bias or personal attachment ? If yes, ‘Is there a motive for this, or could it be unintentional’? Do they have a stake in the subject they are writing about? Is the information accurate, or are there errors?
  • Have subtleties been missed? Has any fundamental perspective been missed? ‘ Is there a reason why the information may have been presented in the way it has?’ ‘ Does the nature of the source affect the way it is written and the judgements that are made?’ ‘ Why was the work written ?’ Was there a purpose? To inform? To educate? To persuade? What was the intended audience? Has any organisation funded the research which might lead to questioning as to whether the conclusions are biased? Is the work genuinely academic and impartial or can you identify an agenda? If there is an agenda, is it open, or hidden? What, if any, are the writer’s qualifications to write on the subject? How does it ‘fit’ with argument located elsewhere? Are there similarities? Differences? … and how compatible?
  • Ask questions also about the author’s evidence, such as : Do the sources/research approaches used by the writer affect the way he/she writes? Are there any limitations in these sources and, if so, does the author recognise them? Is the evidence well-presented, and are the conclusions drawn the appropriate ones? Has the writer relied on primary or secondary material? Is the writer making a new contribution to the subject, or is he or she merely reviewing the existing literature? Is the source material new?
  • Finally, ask questions such as: ‘ What is really being said here?’ It is important that you try to cut through the way that material is presented, so as not to allow surface presentation to colour your judgement as to what is the real essence of the argument. Or ‘Are there any points the author might be seen to have inadvertently missed (or deliberately avoided)?
  • ‘ Post-study reflection’ : set aside 10-15 minutes at the end of each study period for trying to summarise in your own words what you have just learned at the end of each and every study session. This can be of huge benefit. Set your notes to one side. On a blank sheet of paper, try to jot down, in proper sentences, what you have learnt in that study session. Ask questions such as: ‘Were there any identifiable key themes?’ ‘What was really important about what I read today?’ ‘Were there any surprises?’ ‘What are my own views on this?’ ‘Does the information change my understanding/ perspective on the topic?’ ‘Does this research have any bearing on my previous findings?’ ‘Are there any discernible arguments that I can compare and contrast with other perspectives/interpretations?’ ‘What do I think of the strength of the arguments I have read today?’ ‘Are there any weaknesses in the argument/s put forward?’ ‘Is there anything I can challenge?’ ‘Does my reading today suggest any new lines of enquiry?’ Your ability to summarise what you have been studying will show you how much you have understood and will be helpful in the realisation of your project. Don’t worry if you draw a blank . If you can’t sum up in your own writing the key themes of what you have learnt, bring your notes back, carefully re-read them once, then put them again to one side, and try to repeat the process, asking the same questions. Having refreshed your memory, you should be able to answer some of these questions. If not, then you have probably been too arbitrary in your note-taking, and should be more focused and critically questioning in your next study period – try Cornell system if you haven’t already. Advantages: * you gain a better perspective on your day’s work and * your summaries can form the basis of your initial writing articulating the points of others in your words. It should be stressed that this process of reflection must be performed immediately after study, when your mind is still attuned to that study.
  • Is there a requirement for a research journal? This may be a requirement for submission as part of some modules, and may even account for a percentage of the overall modules grade. Many students adopt a sporadic, shallow attempt at research logs , which end up of little use to the end project, indeed, compromise it substantially – it’s difficult to remember the fine detail of decisions taken a week earlier, yet alone a month or several months later. So, maintain on a daily basis – as in-depth as possible – it’s a great resource for checking back on your research as your project evolves through to completion; make as in-depth and critical as possible . It depends on the nature of the project/module expectations just how important the information in your log can be – it may be essential evidence, critical to the success of your project; It can be immensely useful for when you are writing up your research methods section , reminding you of all the twists and turns, all the key decisions you made/issues you became aware of/how you dealt with problems as they occurred/tried to prevent problems from occurring (anticipated);
  • Is there a requirement for a research journal? This may be a requirement for submission as part of some modules, and may even account for a percentage of the overall modules grade. Many students adopt a sporadic, shallow attempt at research logs , which end up of little use to the end project, indeed, compromise it substantially – it’s difficult to remember the fine detail of decisions taken a week earlier, yet alone a month or several months later. So, maintain on a daily basis – as in-depth as possible – it’s a great resource for checking back on your research as your project evolves through to completion; make as in-depth and critical as possible . It depends on the nature of the project/module expectations just how important the information in your log can be – it may be essential evidence, critical to the success of your project; It can be immensely useful for when you are writing up your research methods section , reminding you of all the twists and turns, all the key decisions you made/issues you became aware of/how you dealt with problems as they occurred/tried to prevent problems from occurring (anticipated);
  • Even without a requirement for a research methods section or indeed to produce a research log , information gleaned from a well-kept research journal can be invaluable in helping you to form a high quality Introduction section ; Yet there are other benefits that won’t necessarily be so immediately visible in the end project: a research log, critically reflecting on your findings throughout your research (constantly referred back-to as you progress that research), will help to improve the focus and coherency of your information gathering , aiding critical reflection as your research develops … and so benefit the focus/coherency of your end project .
  • what it should seek to do (function) In essence, you are aiming to show that you have an understanding of the state of knowledge and the nature of the debate surrounding the topic you are going to examine. This makes sense: how can you produce a decent project if you ignore the research hitherto conducted on the topic? The literature review is your opportunity to state: here is the state of current understandings relating to the topic, the state of debate – in brief .* Think about what the Lit Review offers: the opportunity to impress your assessors that YOU understand clearly and can summarise the essence of the knowledge – a real opportunity to introduce your subject above and beyond what a conventional introduction would do. You need to self-assess how successfully your literature review manages to fulfil this task. * depends on nature/structure of dissertation (see below) Aims: should and could include: To show you understand the range of debate on the topic you are addressing; Moreover, to show that you understand and convey where the different explanations/ interpretations/ theories/ suggestions/ ideas originate from, … … and the relative contribution – the importance – of these sources;
  • To show any difficulties or problems within the literature that will require investigation, by you in subsequent chapters (if it is relevant to your own research), or by others in the future (if it is not relevant to your own research); To expose any misconceptions surrounding the topic: in other words to show you understand if there are prevailing misunderstandings that need to be clarified, whether in the academic literature itself or in the popular ‘received wisdom’. Variations of the literature review (over)
  • Variations of the literature review (characteristic): Cat. A Introductory ‘Issue-based’/ arts-humanities Cat. B Introductory+ - Experiment-driven/ ‘scientific’ Where it belongs: Lit review: … as a separate chapter (cat a or b); … as a part of your introduction (cat a); … ‘ as-you-go’ (cat a). Lit review: (cat a) as introductory tool in conventional issue-structured projects, (cat b) as main body chapter in (often) primary research-focused and/or ‘research progression’-structured reports.
  • Given the nature of the project, you must make hard decisions as to how much space to devote to any section that aims to provide an overview of the literature debate. What amount of space most benefitsunderstanding of your topic? Will a large paragraph suffice? Maybe (but certainly not if you have to produce a distinct Lit Review section!)
  • What types of sources could I include in my literature review? Potentially, anything that is relevant can be included, whatever the medium. Academic books and journals are obviously the most important, but also newspaper or magazine commentary (always useful for showing popular understandings and misunderstandings surrounding a subject!). The same applies to non-printed sources, such as television documentaries/ investigations/ current affairs/ news programmes or the internet. But this does NOT mean every source you have looked at/used deserves mention in your lit review. In fact, you should be very selective . The most important questions are: What is the purpose of this source? What is it saying? Can I attribute to it a central argument that is it’s own (or is representative of understandings or viewpoints)? A common mistake students make is to fail to identify the significance or importance of the source they are examining. Is there good reason to include?
  • Identify the nature/purpose of publication: Academic? Non-academic? If, ‘non’, what? ‘ Messenger’ or ‘originator’ source ? - it is essential you must discern whether the ideas you are reading are attributable to the author you are reading, or whether he/she is simply the messenger. Always check the references authors themselves make. Signposts are always there if you look carefully for them! Academic writing generally falls into three categories: that which contributes new research or thinking to the subject; that which reviews the state of the existing literature (works of ‘synthesis’); Though in reality, type 1 usually combine both 1 & 2. Your own work would hardly look professional if you falsely credit the writer of a work of synthesis as the originator of an argument! Intent? To inform? To persuade?
  • What should determine whether I include a source in my literature review? You should seek to determine what exactly is the contribution of each piece of literature to the knowledge on the topic. An important question is to ask is, ‘ what is it saying? ’ - ‘ Is the source contributing anything new? ’. If it isn’t, there must be another reason to include reference to the source – for instance, for errors of assumption – otherwise, if there is no reason to make reference to a source, then don’t bother! Importantly you must ask: ‘ What, if anything, does the work contribute or represent - intentionally or unintentionally/ good or bad - to academic and/or popular understandings of the subject? ’ Another important question is ‘ Can I draw any connection between the conclusions drawn in this book and other sources I have read? ’ Answering these should provide clues as to what to say about the work. And remember, you only have limited space, so you must be very concise in summing up the essence of the publication’s contribution .
  • Listed below are some of the obvious types of printed source you will come across: Basic subject compendiums : recommended textbooks designed to give students a good general grounding for a course. These are unlikely to contribute much of value, as their coverage is too wide. Thus, they are not specific enough to mention in a literature review. The exception might be if you feel that the book, in its brief coverage, commits an error or an unhelpful generalisation about your topic. In which case, you might wish to make a point about misconceptions and misunderstandings in the general literature, citing this work. Monographs : a substantial, specialised work on a particular subject containing detailed original research. Survey or Thematic books: more general books covering a period or particular theme, some or all of which may be relevant to your topic. Often designed for undergraduate students. May discuss the existing literature (but also may not); may include some original research but if it does this will be of a more limited nature than a monograph. Anthological works – edited books with contributions from various authors around a particular theme, with perhaps an article or two relevant to your own line of enquiry. Journal articles of a survey nature; journal articles containing original research; journal articles both surveying the existing debate and contributing original research. Biographies. N.B. All may contain some original thinking, even if not all have conducted their own original research, so all may potentially be citeable in your literature review, though in practice some types of work are more citeable than others. There may also be primary source material that has offered important enough insight to your topic to merit discussion in your literature review: Primary published sources : edited diaries and letters, memoirs, company reports, etc.. To summarise, analysis of the nature of the literature will help you to decide whether to include mention of that literature in your review. Refer back to the importance of pro-active and critical analytical methods of note-taking, and particularly the importance of distinguishing between analytical material on the one hand and description and narrative on the other. Such an approach will encourage you to think about the exact contribution of any author on the understanding of the subject .
  • How general or exact-topic-specific should be the focus of my literature review? (depends on various factors, such as how much context is helpful, how much literature has been written on the exact topic). Requires planning It is up to you to set this balance, taking into consideration the word count available: you don’t want to produce a literature review so exhaustive that you crowd out any space for independent research and thinking of your own. In terms of the proportion of your total dissertation that should go towards your literature review, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’. There are too many variables, not least the varying amounts that may actually have been written on different subjects. As a general guide, as a proportion of your total chapter pages (including introduction, methods, and conclusion; but excluding bibliography and appendix) a literature review might feasibly take up anything between one-tenth to one-sixth of this total space .
  • The important thing is to make sure you cover everything that really needs to be said, in other words that you show you have a full (and not just selective) understanding of the changing debate. Another important thing is to ensure you don’t waste valuable space by writing about things that are not really relevant. Exact-topic-specific material must have priority over the general-topic material, as this most obviously relates to your research. Yet, some coverage of the general subject will be necessary in order to place your research-subject within its proper context. It is therefore helpful to think of the path of discussion as being like that of in inward-heading spiral. You begin by discussing the developments relating to the thinking and understanding on the general subject, before narrowing down to discussion (as much as there has been) on the developing thought and understanding of your exact topic.
  • Keeping the literature review within bounds (tactical goals) If space is limited: tactical cuts to contain the range of your commentary, such as: Confining to a specific time-period up to present, or place; and/or Confining to academic publications; and/or Confining to sources identified as especially significant; and/or Setting an upper limit, such as five, ten, 15 key sources. Any such decisions: wise to consult with supervisor, to see if is OK – don’t want to compromise project or grades! Should I include books that I have not read? Generally this is not a good idea – risky, unless impossible to find, in which case you can refer to other academic sources’ reference to it. You don’t have to read books in their entirety. If you feel the book had best be included, then at the very least you should track it down and give it a cursory once-over – examining the introduction and conclusion at least - before putting in your analysis. How should I structure my literature review How should I structure my review? Generally a thematic approach should prioritise over chronology. Identify key issues relating to your topic, and deal with each one by one, in the most discernibly appropriate sequence.
  • Should I criticise the literature in my literature review , or should I save criticism until later, after I have discussed my own research findings? Depends how close the point is to your central investigation: Yes, if the issue does not directly relate to your own primary investigations or your original-thinking input into your work. If central to your study, hold back, or, better still, give just a hint that the issue will be analysed/discussed in chapter X, later … ‘where it will be argued …’ Basically, if you feel it is helpful to the reader’s understanding of the issue, you could give an advance summary – in the form of a short sentence – of any problems you have identified in the literature. This must be brief as it is important that you don’t pre-empt your subsequent chapters to the point where these reveal nothing that you have not already revealed in your literature review! Yes, if you are presenting another author’s criticism of a source (i.e., criticism that is not your own). Very important tip! One of the best ways of ascertaining how to write a literature review correctly is to see how the academics do it themselves ! E.g., journal review articles, first chapters of monographs. One of the best ways of ascertaining how to write a literature review correctly is to see how the academics do it themselves! Examine some published texts: analyse the kind of conventions involved, and emulate this practice. Don’t simply copy, but take time to think about why, stylistically, the information is presented in the way that it is. In a note-book, note down some of the phrases and conventions used.
  • Transcript

    • 1. An LDU short course presentationDissertations & Major Project Writing Week 2 of 5: Research skills, ‘surveying the literature’ & the ‘literature review’Robert Walsha, LDU City campus, Calcutta House, CM2-22
    • 2. Dissertations & Major Project Writing week 2This week’s topics:• Research skills, methods & methodology: – critical analytical research: effective information gathering; – critical reflection; – keeping a research journal.• ‘Surveying the literature’: understanding & undertaking effective literature reviews
    • 3. critical analytical research• It’s all about asking questions!• Note-taking strategies for success; – Skim-reading, chapter/index searching, etc – Using the margins; – Note-taking for context; – Photocopying as a tool / highlighting; – Spider/flow diagrams or mind-maps for keeping focus of key issues & their relationships with one another; also for establishing clear structural approaches;
    • 4. critical analytical research – Spider/flow diagrams or mind-maps …Example of a mind-map
    • 5. critical analytical research Climate Classification GB234 / 03/04/02 I. System of Climate Classification– ‘Cornell’ system, to facilitate Koppen A. Invented by Vladimir Koppen, botanist. Saw biological activities as function of climate characteristics questioning, critical pro-active What did he do? B. Created climograph; displays moly temp. and precip. On 1 Why important? graph Define C. Main concern was make it simple: relship between note-taking climograph. How potential evap and amt of mois recd at any geo. location do you calculate Give example II. Arctic Climates: ET + EF. E avg. moly temp<50 List and define E ET: avg. temp. warmst mo. 50F + < 32F climates Characteristics *tundra or continental sub arctic ET? EF? EF: avg. temp. in warmst mo. <32F *ice cap or arctic Define Humid Dry III. Humid Dry Boundary Boundary How HBD A. Marks maj. diff. between humid + dry climate regime. calculated? Example? B. Must know how boundary calculated Summary: Koppen was a botanist who invented a system of climate classification. He believed that characteristics of climate determined biological activities (such as ????) o classify climates he developed the climograph, which displays variables of moly temp. and precip. We are looking at the relationship between potential (Source unknown) evaporation and amt. of moisture rcvd at a particular geographical location. E-type climates are locations where avg. mo. Temps are less than 50F. precip. is rcvd. But comes as snow. ET climates are tundra or continental sub-arctic. Warmest mo. temps of 50-32F. EF climates are ice cap or arctic. Warmest mo. = below 32F.
    • 6. critical analytical research• Note-taking strategies for success (cont.); – Attention to detail with quotation marks (avoiding risk of unintended plagiarism); – Once beyond initial researching stages: keep separate notes for separate parts of your dissertation / project (e.g., one set of notes per chapter / section); – Or try recording your notes (MP3 recorders, etc).
    • 7. critical analytical research• Critical analytical research/note-taking: the importance of asking questions ‘as you go’: – Look for central ‘themes’ ~ ‘It will be argued…’; – Skim reading to identify potentially relevant passages; – Be selective about information you record: – Seek to discern: (i) analysis (ii) description.
    • 8. critical analytical research• Constantly question: – ‘is this relevant?’ ‘is it information I (might) need?’ – ‘have I fully understood what the author is saying?’ – ‘Is it “argument”?’ ‘If so, is the source a “messenger” or “originator”?’ If messenger, where are the ideas coming from?
    • 9. critical analytical research• Constantly question: – ‘What are the issues here?’• The ‘who’ ‘what’ ‘where’ ‘how’ ‘why’ ‘when’ questions;• Be inquisitorial, not adversarial, in asking questions about the author(s) interpretations: – ‘Is the author correct, or is there a flaw in their argument’?
    • 10. critical analytical research– Preconceptions?– Does date of publication influence the author’s evaluation?– What about place of publication?– Any bias or personal attachment?– Do they have a stake in the subject they are writing about?– Is the information accurate, or are there errors?
    • 11. critical analytical research– Have subtleties been missed? Has any fundamental perspective been missed?– ‘Is there a reason why the information may have been presented in the way it has?’– Does the nature of the source affect the way it is written and the judgements that are made?– ‘Why was the work written?’ What was the intended audience?– How does it ‘fit’ with argument located elsewhere? Are there similarities? Differences? … and how compatible?
    • 12. critical analytical research• And ask questions about the author’s evidence: – ‘Do the sources/research approaches used by the writer affect the way he/she writes?’; – ‘Is the evidence well-presented, and are the conclusions drawn the appropriate ones?’ – Has the writer relied on primary or secondary material?; – Is there anything ‘new’ about the evidence utilised?;
    • 13. critical analytical research• Finally: – ‘What is really being said here?’ – ‘Are there any points the author might be seen to have inadvertently missed (or deliberately avoided)?’
    • 14. critical reflection• Reflection ‘as you go’: assessing significance, relationships between things you have learnt; identifying argument, noting your view of strength & compatibility of arguments, etc.• Also: ‘post-study reflection’ can be helpful in this process.
    • 15. Keeping a research journal
    • 16. Keeping a research journal• Is there a requirement for keeping a research journal or log?• If yes, maintain this on a daily basis …• … make as in-depth/ critical as possible …• … evidence especially useful for discussion in any ‘research methods’ section.
    • 17. Keeping a research journal• Even if no requirement: a research log can: – Improve your introducing of the topic, your ability to convey exactly what you are interested in/looking for; – improve the focus & coherency of your information gathering, aiding critical reflection as your research develops … and so benefit the focus/coherency of your end project
    • 18. literature reviews• The purpose of a ‘literature review’;• What the literature review should show: – understanding of the debate related to topic; – where the different explanations/ interpretations/ theories/ suggestions/ ideas originate … – … plus their relative contribution;
    • 19. literature reviews – any difficulties and problems within the literature or in wider assumptions that will require investigation; – any misconceptions/ misunderstandings• Variations of literature review (over)
    • 20. literature reviews A BLit. Review Issue-structured Experiment/survey/ options (arts-humanities results-led (placing) model) (i.e., scientific-model)1. … as part of X ? (too large for  Introduction intro?)2. … as separate section   following Intro?3. … ‘as-you-go’ X: need for a distinct Lit (i.e. dealing with Review section at start;  topic-by-topic in main chapters focus on main chapters) own research results
    • 21. literature reviews A BLit. Review Issue-structured Experiment/survey/ options results-led (arts-humanities model) (i.e., scientific-model)Function Introductory Introductory + If part of Introduction Lit. reviews tend to be section, may be more detailed, as anything from a subsequent chapters paragraph upwards; centre on own If a separate section, experiment or survey would need to be results larger
    • 22. literature reviews• What types of source should I mention in my literature review?• Being selective about sources & information included;
    • 23. literature reviews• The importance is identifying the nature & purpose of the source … – Academic? Non-academic? If, ‘non’, what? – ‘messenger’ or ‘originator’ of information? – Intent? To inform? To persuade?
    • 24. literature reviews• Important: determine the nature of ‘what it is saying’ (or not, as the case may be): e.g., – new idea/argument/research/approach? – a reinterpretation?/an adaptation? – A synthesis?• … and ‘what it represents’: e.g., – In terms of academic understandings? Popular understandings? Misunderstandings? – Old? New? Unusual? Orthodox? Representative? Unrepresentative? views• … and ‘how it relates’ to the knowledge.
    • 25. literature reviewsIs it academic*? Identify the nature of the source core / basic subject text No Yes journal article Is it a primary or secondary monograph Is it a primary source*? or secondary biography source*? Primary survey / thematic title, Secondary with at least 1 relevant Secondary chapter Primary edited anthology, with magazine or published diaries, letters, at least 1 relevant chapternewspaper article, memoirs, company trade/ industry reports, findings of various other secondarypublication, other official enquiries, etc.
    • 26. literature reviewsPrimary Published diaries, letters, Deciding memoirs, company reports, what to findings of official enquiries, etc. include Has its publication Drop it! No contributed to understandings of – or had influence upon – the topic, directly or Yes Include it! indirectly?
    • 27. literature reviewsSecondary Does it survey the existing literature? Deciding what to Yes include No How does thesource comment on the literature? … it Does it contain No may provide clues originalfor your own review! research? … plus! make note of Does it contain any new original sources to Yes thinking? No check out.
    • 28. literature reviewsSecondary Does it contain No (Cont.) original Deciding research? what to include Does it contain Can the original author’s Yes No thinking?interpretationbe linked with Include it! Assess Yes any existing the worth & significance tradition or of the author’s similarity of Does the author adaptation thinking? in any way Yes adapt/ modify Decide whether it’s the existing worth citing the source No No arguments? as a recent adherent to the view.
    • 29. literature reviewsSecondary Does it contain No (Cont.) original Deciding research? what to include Does it contain Can the original author’s Yes No k hec thinking?interpretation c u ble rebe linked with Do efo g! Yes b pin any existing p tradition or No dro So, you perceive the similarity of author’s Further reading thinking? Not interpretation as may help clarify Sure? departing from this! existing No understandings? Yes
    • 30. literature reviewsSecondary So, you perceive the No (Cont.) author’s Deciding Not interpretation as Sure? what to departing from include existing understandings? Yes Was the argument Why not? Yes influential? Are the arguments I.e., have others taken spurious? Have the up this line offindings been challenged explanation/ thinking elsewhere? Does the Include it, since?argument deserve greater linking it with attention? Include it, other sources addressing these it inspired points! No
    • 31. literature reviewsSecondary Does it contain No (Cont.) original Deciding research? what to include Does it contain original Yes No thinking? Does the work contribute anythingInclude Yes else worth mentioning? For it! example, does it typify popular assumptions, popular fixations? Does it perpetuate over- Drop it! No simplifications or prevailing mis- understandings?
    • 32. literature reviews• How general or exact-topic-specific? Trajectories of Lit Reviews Wider related Precise topic Topic (for of investi-useful context) gation
    • 33. literature reviewsExample 2: Not much written on your topic? Start oncontext / bigger picture / related your topic? StartExample 1: Lots of literature on studies, concentratingon parallels, bigger picture / essential relatedon context / but crucially commenting on (relative) lackof research/published material precise topic … topic ofresearch; move swiftly to your on your precise Trajectories 1 2 Lit Surveys Wider topic/ context Main Topic Main Wider Topictopic/context
    • 34. literature reviews• Keeping the literature review within bounds;• Should I review books I’ve not read?• How should I structure my review?
    • 35. literature reviews• Do I ‘criticise’ or merely ‘present’ the literature?• Final tip: see how the academics do it themselves!

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