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Literature Reviews


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  • 1. Reviewing the Literature Level 3: Independent Study
  • 2. Preliminary Questions
    • Why, in research, might we want to refer to what others have said and done?
    • What counts as authority in research? Where can authority be found? Why do we need it?
  • 3. Why ‘Literature Review’?
    • Brainstorm individually and then in groups why you might want to include a literature review in your Independent Study project.
  • 4. Past students Answers
    • To show a gap in the research
    • To support an argument
    • For inspiration
    • To compare and contrast with previous work
    • For guidance
    • To cut corners – make life easy
    • To lend credibility to our own work
    • To provide a framework to follow
    • To provide a starting point
    • A review demonstrates knowledge
    • It increases validity
    • It shows a chronological development of ideas
  • 5. Hart, 1998
    • What’s done from what needs to be done
    • Discovering important variables
    • Synthesizing and gaining new perspective
    • Relationships between ideas and practice
    • Context of topic/problem
    • Significance of problem
    • Demonstrating vocab of topic/subject
    • Structure of subject
    • Ideas and theory to applications
    • Main methodologies and methods
    • Historical context
  • 6. Strengths and weaknesses
    • Look at handout ‘Feedback on Literature Review Sections’
      • Highlight key words/phrases used
      • What receives positive feedback?
      • What criticisms are made?
    • Presentations
      • From the feedback and our discussion, give a short presentation of your understandings of what an effective literature review is.
  • 7. The Composing Process (1)
    • Starting to write … and when to stop reading
    • Drafting
      • Planning
      • Organisation
      • … you don’t have to start at the beginning
    • Blogging the literature
      • http:// /
  • 8. The Composing Process (2)
    • An effective literature review develops an argument by:
      • Clearly showing the relationship between your arguments and the evidence.
      • Linking sentences within sections to indicate these links and connections.
      • Using summary statements at the end of sections to draw conclusions.
      • Supporting opinions either with facts and/or theory from the literature.
      • Using examples, citation and quotations appropriately.
  • 9. The Composing Process (3)
      • Acknowledging and accounting for differing opinions/positions rather than ignoring them.
      • Making your own conclusions clear rather than 'sitting on the fence' or leaving it to the reader to draw conclusions.
      • Clearly connecting the different sections. An introduction to the literature review outlines the structure of what is to come, making the order of the arguments clear, and explaining why you have chosen this particular way of ordering the material
  • 10. References
    • Hart C (1998) Doing a literature review. London, Sage.
    • Creswell, J.W. (1994) Research Design: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. Thousand Oaks, Calif., Sage Publications. [Chapter 11 ‘Scholarly writing’]
    • Bouma, G. D. (1996). The Research Process. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.