WRITING THE LITERATURE REVIEWpresented by Colleen Cridland, Learning Skills Adviser for the Faculty of ScienceColleen.email@example.com
Writing the Literature Review The workshop will cover: • Purpose of the Review Important considerations • Stages of the Review • Constructing the literature • Structuring the literature review • Referencing • Writing
The Literature Review • Is Research about research • Analyses: critically evaluates • Sources, theories, methods, gaps in research • Hear Dr Steve McKillup’s definition of a literature review http://www.library.cqu.edu.au/tutorials/litreviewpages/whatsm.htm • Synthesises • Your own theme/argument of position • Outlines the parameters of your own research
The purpose of the literature review Identify priorities you have for undertaking the literature review • To select research relevant to my study • To outline existing knowledge in my field • To evaluate existing research relevant to my field • To identify research methods relevant to my study • To identify gaps in the research • To Identify more appropriate research methods • To position my study in the context of previous research • To express views about the topic • To indicate how my topic is to be investigated • To justify my study
1. The purpose of the literature review • Familiarises readers with the depth, breadth and scope of the research • Defines key concepts • Locates the research within a relevant body of literature • Organises, reframes, reconceptualises existing approaches to establish the importance of your research • Establishes how your research will contribute to the body of knowledge • Dr Steve McKillup’s explains the literature review’s importance http://www.library.cqu.edu.au/tutorials/litreviewpages/whatsm.htm
1. Important considerations • It is necessary to acknowledge important research in the field, but the review should be organised around concepts and issues not authors • Choice and weighting of articles demonstrates your understanding • The literature review does not simply summarise the literature. A literature review critically discusses concepts, theories and methodologies (Summarised from University of SA nd)
2. Constructing a Literature Review The process of developing a literature review is not sequential. You may regularly return to an earlier process: • Develop the focus of the literature review • Identify the literature • Manage the literature • Record the literature • Ensure relevance of the literature • Retrieve the literature • Order the literature • Organise the structure of the literature review • Review the literature • Draft the literature review • Write the literature review
3a. Retrieving the literatureIdentifying the literature Compile a list of references • Supervisors and other staff may provide an initial reading list • Check reference list of articles read • Locate and use other research reviews • Use the library’s search strategies • databases • Contact the Subject Librarian for your school or department http://www.library.cqu.edu.au/tutorials/litreviewpages/searchlh.htm • Develop a search strategy • Ask about the best retrieval systems and databases relating to your topic • Develop an understanding of appropriate keywords
3b. Managing the literature Find a system that suits you – be consistent • Card system • Database system like Endnote • Table • Double notes • Endnote • Hear Ms Leone Hinton speak about the importance of organising your information http://www.library.cqu.edu.au/tutorials/litreviewpages/organiselh.htm
3b. Recording the LiteratureTaking Notes • Find a standard that fits you: be consistent • Essential information: • Author, Title, page(s) • Brief outline • Your evaluation • Additional comments, notes • Quotation marks for verbatim passages • Page numbers for important sections • Double notes • Bibliographical entry with brief notes • Expanded notes directly relevant to research
3b. Recording the literatureSuggestions for taking notes • Do not overdo it (especially on facts) • Analyse and evaluate rather than copy • Record general observations and theoretical context rather than the minutiae of research • Do not forget to record your own understanding and comments as you read • Make sure you maintain sight of the bigger picture • Make notes USEFUL: now and in your research project • They are the map for your further study and research: be consistent, concise and to the point • Allow for changes and additions: your opinions WILL change
3b. Recording the LiteratureDevelop sound reading strategies • Set aside significant time in your routine for the amount of reading you need to do • Dr Daniela Stehlik comments on the time and attention required to assess information at post graduate level: http://www.library.cqu.edu.au/tutorials/litreviewpages/evaluateds.htm • Screen the relevance of material before you download • Apply strategic reading steps to articles as you search to deduce relevance of material to your research
3b. Recording the literatureReading Ladder – Strategic reading steps • Before you start serious reading and notetaking • Read the title (usually descriptive) • Read: a) the subheading to the title if there is one; and b) the sub-headings within the article • Look at captions, titles of tables, axes. Take note about what the graphic data describes • Read the abstract (or summary) at start. This should say why, how, what of the article • Read the conclusion • Read the introduction • Ask yourself: a) How does this article help answer my topic? Is this article where I am likely to find useful information • When you have decided a source is relevant, begin to keep effective notes.
3b. Recording the literatureDeveloping a critical approach Be active • Question • Evaluate • Make judgements • Identify problems • Describe & Categorise • Analyse • Establish cause & effect
3b. Recording the literatureDeveloping a critical approach Identify the significance of a text: • What is this author saying? Try to put into your own words how the evidence and position of the researcher is being presented. • Highlight the main findings of the research. Note them down. • What is the quality of the evidence? • Who is the author and when was this written? • Was it written in response to other research? Is this a new piece of research? • What is the author’s standpoint and what are the underlying assumptions in the research? Are the assumptions relevant? • Is this a significant work in its field? Know the significant works in the field and include them as required.
3b. Recording the literatureDeveloping a critical approach • Dr Steve McKillup discusses how to assess the Evidence http://www.library.cqu.edu.au/tutorials/litreviewpages/evaluatesm.htm • Examine the conclusion carefully and ask: is this the correct conclusion made from the research questions? • Is every point relevant to the findings? Does one point lead logically to the next? (This is a way of checking whether it flows logically.) • Does the methodology support the conclusions? Is the methodology significant to your research? • Does the researcher account for different results from others? Can you identify reasons for differing results? • What are the strengths of the research? • What are the weaknesses? • What assumptions does the author make? • Do I agree or disagree with these? • What has been left out and is this significant? Why?
3b. Recording the literatureDeveloping a critical approach • Pose questions about the articles you are reading • Note down answers to the questions you have asked • Record questions that come to mind in an organised and systematic way • Within your reading log • Within a document for the purpose
Structuring the Literature Review The essay structure Introduction • Content – what is covered • Structure – how it is organised • Boundaries – what is outside the scope • Outline of content The Body Section 1 – The most important topic or a key concept • Discussed and evaluated • Summarised and related to your research project Section 2 – The next most important topic or key concept • Discussed and evaluated • Summarised and related to your research project Section 3 etc Conclusion • From each of the section summaries, highlight the most relevant points • Relate these back to the need for your research • Reiterate what these mean for the research design (from University of SA)
4b. Structuring the Literature Review:Organising the structure There are many ways to organise the literature review. Whichever structure you choose, make sure the structure is apparent to the reader and that the review is logical and coherent Common ways to organise literature reviews: • Chronological – historical or developmental context • Classical Approach – major writings • Topical or thematic – categories or concepts • General-Specific – broad – increasingly specific • Combined
4b. Structuring the Literature Review Organising the structure • Chronological The research is discussed in chronological order. This may be useful to demonstrate the historical or developmental context of your research
4b. Structuring the Literature Review Organising the structure • Classical Approach The research is presented in consideration of the most significant aspects of your research area and discusses the key research in relation to the topic
4b. Structuring the Literature Review Organising the structure • Topical or thematic Sections are devoted to various concepts or categories relevant to your study.
4b. Structuring the Literature Review Organising the structure • General-Specific This approach begins from a wide perspective and progressively focuses on the specific topic of your research.
4b. Structuring the Literature Review Organising the structure • Combined A combination of the above approaches
4c. Structuring the Literature Review: The content • Develop your research questions • Primary question Generally more broad • Secondary questionsMore specific Address aspects of broader question • Place your topic in context of the literatureA limited context may restrict your literature review • Too broad a context will result in lack of control and direction • Dr Steve McKillup talks about positioning his research: http://www.library.cqu.edu.au/tutorials/litreviewpages/position1sm.htm • Create a visual map of the concepts within your research
4c. Structuring the literature review: The content • Present an overview of issues in your field and the interrelationships between them • Identify main issues, findings and common themes • Present current debates on these issues • Explain how your research adds to, or contradicts this body of knowledge • Position your research within a theoretical framework • Show how your study will make an original contribution to the field • Outline or reveal relevant methodologies and frameworks that you wish to use in your research • Help to justify your research questions Associate Professor Graham Pegg discusses how a discussion of the literature leads the reader to the research questions: http://www.library.cqu.edu.au/tutorials/litreviewpages/positiongp.htm
4c. Structuring the literature review: The content The Hierarchy of the Question • Identify hierarchies: the zoom function of research • Organising sources • Categories (theory, approach, method, results) • Chronological groups • Comparison table • Categories
4c. Structuring the literature review: The contentWhat physiological & psychological effects does marijhuana have on the body?
5. Referencing Literature Review • There are two referencing systems: • Author date system • Numerical system • Always acknowledge your source whether you summarise or paraphrase or quote
5. Referencing • Identify the preferred system of referencing within your school or department • Visit the library website and complete an online tutorial for the preferred referencing system • If you are in doubt about correct citing conventions (in-text or end-text) consult a Learning Skills Adviser
6. Structure, Focus and Clarity • Find a drafting method that works for you • Mind maps, relational charts • Risks of freewriting • Outline • Good outline allows spotting of logical errors • Good outline allows you to work on sections separately • Rework outdated outlines • Writing • Act on problems promptly. • Visit a Learning Skills Adviser • Use online resources • Attend a workshop
Learning Skills Homepagehttp://www.lib.monash.edu.au/learning-skills/ • Class and workshop timetable • Drop-in schedule • Links to online resources • LSA contact details • firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject librarianshttp://www.lib.monash.edu.au/hal/librarians.html • Biological Science – Kerry Bedford • Chemistry – Nhan Le • Geosciences – Jennifer Kain • Mathematics – Nhan Le • Physics – Robert Thomas
Final notes • Does my literature review reflect sufficient analysis and synthesis? • Did I sufficiently research my question? • Do I present themes and position clearly enough? • Do I feel the review is my own piece of work? • Does it flow? Is it clearly and logically presented? • After reading my review, would I want to continue reading my research paper?
References CQU Library (2007). What is a Literature Review. Accessed March 15, 2009 from http://www.library.cqu.edu.au/tutorials/litreviewpages/what.htm Learning Connection (nd). Research Writing, Research Education, University of South Australia. Accessed May 18, 2008 from http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/learn/ResearchEducation/?PATH=/Resources/research-Education/research+education/&default=Online+resources/Research+writing.htm Study Support (2007). Critical Analysis, Deakin University. Accessed May 20, 2008 from http://www.deakin.edu.au/current-students/study-support/study-skills/handouts/critical-analysis.php#resources University of SA (nd). Writing the Literature Review, University of South Australia. Accessed May 18, 2008 from http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/Resources/research-Education/research%20education/Online%20resources/Support%20materials/Literature%20review.htm Acknowledgement to Dr Tomas Zahora for use of slides 3, 28 & 36, also to Mr Ed Irons for use of his Reading Ladder strategy