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Academic Research Skills (ARS)

BM013-4-0
Literature Review

Topic & Structure of the lesson


What is a literature review?
The purpose of a literature review

Components of the Literature Review


Elements of the Literature Review

Module Code and Module Title


Research Methods for Degree Study

Title of Slides

Learning Outcomes
Understand the importance of writing a
concise and complete literature review.
Comprehension and application of
effective compilation of usable literature
reviews.
Application of literature reviews in usable
secondary research in tertiary education

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Research Methods for Degree Study

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Main Teaching Points


What is a literature review?
The purpose of a literature review

Components of the Literature Review


Elements of the Literature Review

Module Code and Module Title


Research Methods for Degree Study

Title of Slides

What is a Literature Review?


A literature review is a body of text that
aims to review the critical points of
current knowledge on a particular topic.
This can be a review from scholarly
publications, unpublished scholarly print
materials, audiovisual materials, and
personal communications.

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Research Methods for Degree Study

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Literature Review
discusses information about a specific topic
can be just a simple summary of the sources, but
it usually has an organizational pattern and
combines both summary and synthesis
Summary = a synopsis of important
information
Synthesis = interpretation of information
Identify new ways to interpret, and shed light on
any gaps in, previous research

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Research Methods for Degree Study

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Good and Poor Literature Review


Good

Poor

.. is a synthesis of available
research
.. is a critical evaluation
.. has appropriate breadth and depth
.. has clarity and conciseness

..an annotated bibliography


.. confined to description
.. narrow and shallow
.. confusing and longwinded

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Research Methods for Degree Study

Title of Slides

Importance of Literature Review


To learn what one knows and do not know
To understand the subject matter better
To identify and highlight the important variables
To document significant findings from earlier
research that will serve as the foundation of the
new research
To resolve conflicts amongst seemingly
contradictory previous studies

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Research Methods for Degree Study

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Importance of Literature Review (cont.)


To Identify areas of prior scholarship to prevent
duplication of effort
To develop hypotheses
To point the way forward for further research
To convince the reader that the researcher is
knowledgeable about the problem area

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Research Methods for Degree Study

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Types of Literature Review

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Research Methods for Degree Study

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Components of the Lit. Review


Components: development of the literature
review requires four stages:
Problem formulationwhich topic or field is being
examined and what are its component issues?
Literature searchfinding materials relevant to the
subject being explored
Data evaluationdetermining which literature makes
a significant contribution to the understanding of the
topic
Analysis and interpretationdiscussing the findings
and conclusions of pertinent literature
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Research Methods for Degree Study

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Recommendations on How an
Article should be read
1. Read the abstract or summary first. This
tells you if its worth reading.
2. Read the bibliographic data.
3. Take notes on the article concentrating
on the following points, or photocopy the
abstract or summary. This includes,

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Research Methods for Degree Study

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a. Problem statement. State it clearly.


b. Hypothesis or Objectives. List them
exactly as stated in the article.
c. Procedures. List the methodology used
(survey, experiment, case study, and so
on), the number of subjects and how they
were selected , the kind of instrument
used (questionnaire, observation, etc.)
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Research Methods for Degree Study

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d. Findings. List the major findings.


Indicative whether the objectives of the
study were obtained or the hypotheses
were supported.
e. Conclusions. Describe the authors
conclusion. Note your disagreements with
the author, and the reasons for such
disagreement.
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Research Methods for Degree Study

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Common Errors in Literature


Review

Review isnt logically organized


Review isnt focused on most important facets of
the study
Review doesnt relate literature to the study
Too few references or outdated references cited
Review isnt written in authors own words
Review reads like a series of disjointed
summaries
Review doesnt argue a point
Recent references are omitted

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Research Methods for Degree Study

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Conclusion
Its' ultimate goal of literature review is to bring
the reader up to date with current literature on a
topic and forms the basis for another goal, such
as the justification for future research in the
area.
It is a vital chapter in a thesis/report

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Research Methods for Degree Study

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Useful Links for Lit. Review


Macauley, P. (2001). The Literature
Review.
http://www.deakin.edu.au/library/findout/resear
ch/litrev.php

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Research Methods for Degree Study

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Tutorial
Students are required to write-up a
literature review (one page) using three
relevant academic articles of a particular
topic.
Topic and articles can be provided by the
tutor or identified by the students
themselves.

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Research Methods for Degree Study

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Review Questions
1. Define the term Literature review.
2. Discuss in detail the importance of literature review.
3. What are the disadvantages if a research thesis has no
literature review chapter or a poorly done literature
review?
4. What are the factors that need to be taken into
consideration in order to produce a good literature
review write-up?
5. Discuss the four components of literature review.

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Research Methods for Degree Study

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Question and Answer Session

Q&A
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Next Session

Concepts and Data Collection

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Research Methods for Degree Study

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