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TEXT 1 Writing a literature review



TEXT 1 Writing a literature review

Exercise 1. Read the text below and say why you need to review the literature for your thesis or project.  

A review of the literature has the following functions:

to justify your choice of research question, theoretical or conceptual framework, and method;

to establish the importance of the topic;

to provide background information needed to understand the study;

to show readers you are familiar with significant and/or up-to-date research relevant to the topic;

to establish your study as one link in a chain of research that is developing knowledge in your field.

The review traditionally provides a historical overview of the theory and the research literature, with a special emphasis on the literature specific to the thesis topic. It serves as well to support the argument/proposition behind your thesis, using evidence drawn from authorities or experts in your research field.

Your review of the literature may be

1. stand-alone,

2. embedded in the discussion,

3. segmented into a series of chapters on several topics.

The review must be shaped by a focus on key areas of interest, including research which provides a background to the topic (depending on whether it is for an Honours thesis or for a PhD). It should also be selective. A common mistake in writing the review is to comment on everything you have read regardless of its relevance. In your writing it is useful to think of the review as a funnel - start wide with the overview and then quickly narrow into discussing the research that relates to your specific topic.

Another way of looking at the process, particularly if you are examining several topics (or variables), is to think of yourself as a film director (Rudestam and Newton, 1992). You can think of providing your audience with:

long shots to provide a solid sense of the background;

middle distance shots where the key figures and elements to be examined are brought clearly into view;

close-up shots where the precise focus of your work is pinpointed.


Exercise 2. Work in pairs. First make up questions you need to ask when planning and drafting a Literature Review and then discuss them with your partner.

1. in your has what field done of been research?

2. of selection to principles are what you use going?

3. going to how order you your discussion are?

4. Chronological be or it methodological thematic will conceptual combination a?

5. you section will headings use what?

6. other do how relate various the to studies each?

7. make what do the contribution precise to they field?

8. into does been how done already own research your fit what has?

Date: 2016-04-22; view: 755

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