Literature review and the PhD

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Presentation by Professor Simon Haslett at the Institute of Life Science, Swansea University, Monday 4th July 2011.

Presentation by Professor Simon Haslett at the Institute of Life Science, Swansea University, Monday 4th July 2011.

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  • 1. Literature review and the PhD
    Professor Simon Haslett
    Dean, School of STEM
    Seminar at the Institute of Life Sciences, Swansea University,
    Monday 4th July 2011
  • 2. Contents
    A taxonomy for literature reviews
    Undertaking a literature review
    Assessing the success of a literature review
    Institutional guides and resources
    Recommended reading:
    Randolph, Justus (2009) A Guide to Writing the Dissertation Literature Review. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 14(13). Available online: http://pareonline.net/getvn.asp?v=14&n=13
  • 3. Cooper’s (1988) Taxonomy of Literature Reviews
  • 4. Cooper’s Taxonomy (cont.)
    From “Organizing Knowledge Synthesis: A Taxonomy of Literature Reviews,” by H. M. Cooper, 1988, Knowledge in Society, 1, p. 109.
  • 5. Undertaking a literature review
    Once the categories have been decided, identify tools available relevant to the review:
    • Libraries:
    • 6. Personal
    • 7. Departmental/School/Faculty
    • 8. Institutional
    • 9. Other external e.g. British Library, learned society
    • 10. Online literature databases:
    • 11. Web-based e.g. Google Scholar – but note limits
    • 12. Web of Knowledge (Web of Science) – but note limits
    • 13. Subject-specific databases e.g. Geobase
    • 14. Conferences and other sources – be wary of whether peer-reviewed or not
  • My own usual procedure
    • Search Web of Knowledge
    • 15. Search Geobase
    • 16. Refine results if there are many
    • 17. Read through all remaining results
    • 18. Mark for collection into ‘marked list’
    • 19. Collate all titles and abstracts in ‘marked list’ and go through them
    • 20. Decide whether relevant or irrelevant
    • 21. Categorise them according to which aspect of my research they relate to
    • 22. Decide whether the title and abstract provide enough information on their own
    • 23. If not, obtain full paper e.g. search online, search library catalogues, inter-library loans
    • 24. Annotate abstracts and papers precisely where relevant passages are located
    • 25. Decide on organisation structure
    • 26. Prioritise primary refs for detailed discussion i.e. base paragraphs on, and secondary refs for simple citation (often as lists)
  • Assessing a literature review
    Boote and Beile’s(2005) Literature Review Scoring Rubric:
    Coverage
    Synthesis
    Methodology
    Significance
    Rhetoric
    (D. N. Booteand P. Beile, 2005, Educational Researcher, 34 (6), p. 8)
  • 27. Institutional Online Guides and Resources
    • Concordia University http://library.concordia.ca/help/howto/litreview.php
    • 28. Deakin University http://www.deakin.edu.au/library/findout/research/litrev.php
    • 29. Monash University http://www.monash.edu.au/lls/llonline/writing/general/lit-reviews/index.xml
    • 30. St. Mary’s University http://www.smu.ca/administration/library/litrev.html
    • 31. University of California, Santa Cruz http://library.ucsc.edu/help/howto/write-a-literature-review
    • 32. University of Canberra http://www.canberra.edu.au/studyskills/writing/literature
    • 33. University of Leicester http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/ssds/sd/pgrd/resources/literature-review
    • 34. University of North Carolina http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/literature_review.html
    • 35. University of Toronto http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/specific-types-of-writing/literature-review