The ability to review, and to report on relevant literature is a key academic skill.A literature review: To some extent, particularly with postgraduate research, the literature review can become a project in itself.
With small-scale writing projects, the literature review is likely to be done just once; probably before the writing begins.
With longer projects such as a dissertation for a Masters degree, and certainly with a Ph D, the literature review process will be more extended.
It can also establish a framework within which to present and analyse the findings.
After reading your literature review, it should be clear to the reader that you have up-to-date awareness of the relevant work of others, and that the research question you are asking is relevant. Be wary of saying that your research will solve a problem, or that it will change practice.
If you are proposing a research topic that has a substantial amount of previously published work already in place, the prospect of delivering a good literature review can seem like a daunting task — so many books and articles with so many citations!
You may be tempted to save time by restricting your review to the last decade, but this can be a critical failure point.They will ask questions such as: These are questions that you will already probably be asking yourself.You will also need to be ready to answer them in a viva if you will be having one. are particularly relevant to the process of critical review.Develop relationships that make sense within that framework and organize your review around ideas not tenuous links by researcher or subject or chronology.Only include the material that you actually read – cutting and pasting someone else’s bibliography will come back to bite you later – especially if you have to do an oral defense and someone asks for your thoughts on a specific article or study.Your interpretation may be self-evident to you, but it may not be to everyone else.You need to critique your own interpretation of material, and to present your rationale, so that your reader can follow your thinking.You need to demonstrate to your reader that you are examining your sources with a critical approach, and not just believing them automatically.Your interpretation of each piece of evidence is just that: an interpretation.If you attend a conference or workshop with a wider group of people, perhaps from other universities, you can take the opportunity to ask other attendees for recommendations of articles or books relevant to your area of research.Each department or school has assigned to it a specialist Information Librarian.