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IR5099 Literature Reviews

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Ryan Beasley

on 25 July 2014

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Transcript of IR5099 Literature Reviews

IR 5099: Literature Reviews
Dissertation Overview
Literature & the Lit Review
Purposes of Literature Reviews
Research Need Legitimacy!
All Work Builds On/Springs From Other Work
Lit Review: Proves to the Reader that Your Research Contributes to a Broader Scholarly Discussion
Social Enquiry is a Social Thing
'Prove to the Reader'
Address Major Areas of Research
Demonstrate Understanding of the Field
Know it Well Enough to Organise It
The Conclusion of the Literature Review is that Your Study Is Needed or Will Be Valuable
The Lit review is an Argument for Your Study
Structuring the Lit Review
An Argument is Organised
Structure Depends on Your Purpose
Structure Depends on the Existing Literature
Structure Depends on Your Style Preference
Your Study Makes Sense, and is Needed!
Simple Approach
'Early Studies Looked Primarily at X'
'Subsequent Studies began to Incorporate Y'
Can be Good for Giving a Sense of Development or Direction
Requires You to Organise Along Important Break-Points
e.g. Theoretical; Landmark Studies; etc.
Some Areas are Divided, or Have 'Schools of Thought'
Different Camps
'Research on Cheese Consumption has Followed Major Lines of Thinking: Recreational Consumption, Need-Based Consumption, and the Role of Culture in Moderating Consumption'
Can be Opposing Camps, or Your Own System for Organising
Different Methods
When Various Studies Point in Different Directions
When the Picture Is Not Clear
This Is More Like a Puzzle to be Solved
Better for More 'Empirically-Oriented' Areas
e.g. Is China a Rising Great Power? Some say Yes, Others Say No, Others Say Yes Economically but No Militarily; etc.
Like 'Different Camps' Approach
Focuses on the Ways in Which Research has been Conducted
'Research on Global Cheese Consumption has tended to Follow Three Different Approaches: Studies that Rely on Mass Surveys, Anthropological Studies into Cheese Culture, and Studies Analysing Economic Data Associated with Cheese Production and Distribution'
Summary: Lit Reviews
Lit Reviews Are Almost Always Central to a Dissertation
They Are Organised, Not Lists and Summaries
Their General Purpose is to Demonstrate Importance/Relevance of Your Study
They Vary Depending on the Nature of Your Research and the Field
There Are Various Ways of Structuring Them
Typical Dissertation Structure
Dissertation Philosophy
Integrate Across Scholarly Sources
Reasoned Argument
Apply Theories and Methods
Communicate Effectively in Writing
Work Independently
Titles Communicate
You Are Writers!
Serious, but Creative
Not a 'Report'
Thesis Statement
Literature Review
Evidence and Arguments
Title Stays with you for a Long Time
Literature: Advice
Managing the Literature: Advice
Take notes on everything you read
Full paragraph
What was the Argument?
What was the Method?
What were the Conclusions/Findings?
Build a 'Literature Map'
Goal is to recognize various connections
Annotated Bibliography
Today's Session
Dissertation Overview
Housekeeping Issues
Managing Literature: Advice
Approaches to the Literature Review
Your Lit Review MUST be organised
But How?
No 'One Right Way'
Think of it This Way
Your Dissertation has a Thesis
This is what you are arguing; your position
If your Lit Review was a stand alone assignment...
...Its Thesis would be 'The Following Study (your study) Needs to be Done'
That is, previous research is somehow 'limited'
Your study will address this
Brief Review: Thesis Statements
Supervisor Assignments
Dissertation Lectures
Communication Channels
Key Elements in Most Lit Reviews
Presentation of Theory(ies)
Key Terms and Definitions
Previous Research on Your Topic
Virtually ALL dissertations have 'theory'
Essential Things Clarified
This is typically the Bulk of a Lit Review
Why should I believe you?
Enough Detail to Remind you Later
Note: These likely won't be included in the Final Dissertation
Building Categories to Group Scholarly Works
There are Usually Many Ways to Do This
This is the Precursor to Your Lit Review Structure
Not a requirement, but helpful
Might link by Theory, Method, Central Argument, or some other important dimension
But Having a Structure is Important!
Structured Reading Notes
Keep in Mind Ways you Might Connect Works
Level of Detail?: whatever helps you most
Ryan K Beasley
Smith & Jones (2014)
Quick Summary Sentence
Key Argument
Method (if any)
How it might be used in your study
Examine cheese manufacturing process in Switzerland in the 1990s
Cheese increasingly made by machine processes
Case Study of 3 Cheese Types
Single country; Based mainly on interviews
Lit Review Section; Changes in Production
Relates to Other Studies
Fierke, 2010 (Social Construction of cheese)
Lang 2009 (Ethics of cheese production)
Topic to Thesis
A Thesis
The Position You are Taking, and Why
Guides the Research
Guides the Reader
A Thesis Never 'Looks at...'
It Proposes
Thesis Examples
Non-Thesis: ‘I like Cheese’
Topic: Patterns of Cheese Consumption
Non-Thesis: ‘This dissertation will discuss cheese and whether it will come to dominate consumption or not’
Very Weak Thesis: ‘People will be eating more cheese’
Thesis Example #1
'Due to increasing ability to make cheese, people will be eating more cheese.'
'While Cheese is not universally embraced (it is a cultured taste) and many find it stinky, due to its high protein content and wide availability, people will be eating more cheese.'
Thesis Example #3
Cheese represents a ‘pivotal fungal point’ (Cheddar, 2013) in the global food consumption pattern, providing a comparatively inexpensive source of protein that is readily available from a wide variety of lactating livestock. Yet cheese is not universally endorsed, with consumption varying across both culture and climate, and several drawbacks to eating cheese – including its smell and its mouldy character – potentially limit its ability to become the dominant source of protein in a world increasingly embracing a ‘Camembert Cosmopolitanism’ lifestyle (Gruyere, 2010). Future cheese consumption, then, will likely be driven by the coupling of livestock support measures and a global dairy campaign to alter cheese-based perceptions. Given current ‘veganization’ (Stilton, 2013) trends, these efforts are likely to be successful, gradually replacing a meat-based diet with a lactation-based diet.
Proposals Submitted
Your Goal: Move From Topic to Thesis
Key Things to Remember:
A topic doesn't define you
A topic doesn't define a dissertation
Can Change...But not too late
What do you think of this one?
What would make it better?
What makes it a thesis?
It is a 'weak thesis' in my view
Thesis Example #2
What do you think of this one?
It's a 'basic thesis', in my view
What would make it better?
This is a pretty good thesis, I think.
Why not a thesis?
Why not a thesis?
Why Weak?
Key Elements in Most Lit Reviews
Presentation of Theory(ies)
Key Terms and Definitions
Previous Research on Your Topic
Essential Things Clarified
This is the Bulk of a Lit Review
Literature Reviews
The purpose of a literature review is to situate the dissertation research question within existing theoretical frameworks and related studies. How have other authors approached the topic? What strengths and weaknesses are contained in such approaches? How can these approaches be enhanced, critiqued or radically overhauled?
Other Structure(s)
Captures the Reader's Attention
Situates the Work in the Real World
Situates the Work in the Academic World
Tells Where We are Heading
Usually Ends with the Thesis
Dissertations Dealing Largely with Theory or Thinkers
Organisation might follow different key arguments
Conclusions: Advice
adapted from Kay Chubbuck, Princeton Writing Program
Synthesize or Summarize the Central Argument
...one last time
Broaden the Discussion
Create 'bookends' with the Introduction
Consider the Implications of your argument (historical; political; scientific; cultural; etc.)
Connect to larger context (other problems or issues perhaps beyond the original scope)
End with Questions Raised by your dissertation
Acknowledge the Limitations of your study
What couldn't be done?
What would be valuable to do next?
Conclusions: Don't s
adapted from Kay Chubbuck, Princeton Writing Program
Don't merely summarize
Avoid 'in conclusion'; 'in summary' ; etc.
Don't apologize for your work
Acknowledging limitations is different
Not the place for platitudes or over-generalisations
'the world will be a better/safer place...'
Don't belabor the same point over and over
That is, don't belabor the same point over and over
Critical Perspective
Critical Thinking requires seriously entertaining other viewpoints
Two Types: 'Straw Man' & Strong Man/Person
Avoid 'Straw Man' Arguments
The purpose is to strengthen your argument by standing it against other, good arguments
'Straw Man' Arguments are typically over-simplified
'Realists only focus on power'
'Constructivists deny the importance of material conditions'
Can be done in various places
Lit Review; method; conclusions
Perhaps Close with a 'kicker'
The final line should also try to generate interest
Almost all dissertations have some type of or relations to some theory
In some cases, the Design/Method(s) and Evidence and Arguments could be combined
In some cases, the Literature Review is not a separate thing, but the 'body' of the dissertation
The 'method' is the argumentation
Dissertations with lots of 'Data Analysis'
Might spend a bit more time explaining method
Might have a 'Results' section that presents data, rather than an 'evidence & arguments' section
Follow your Supervisor's Advice!
Good Introduction show the topic Matters
To Real People
To Academics
Great Topics
Writing Advice
Writing Tips
Best Writers: 50%+ time is editing
Cutting Down from Reading Notes
Combining Sentences
Citation Strings
Editing can = Restructuring
No One 'Right Way'
Writing is an Art
There is no Formula for Dissertations
But All Approaches Involve:
Laying Out; Connecting
Building, Defending, and Critiquing an Argument
Active/Passive Voice
Using passive voice is less effective
Less effectiveness would be achieved by using passive voice
Passive Voice Obscures the agent (subject) of the action
A clear subject enhances clarity
Spotting passive voice
Use of helping verbs ('would be')
'to be' + past participle
when the subject follows the word 'by'
Don't switch voice mid-sentence
'While strong countries frequently employ military threats, it has been found that weak countries do not'
General Advice
I frequently write comments like 'this is unclear' or 'this argument is not clearly presented'
I never write 'could you vague this up a bit for me?'
Have someone proof read through your work
Find someone who cares for you enough!
Or is paid to do it...
Good writing is not complex sentences and ostentatious displays of locution
Good writing is presenting complex ideas, simply.
Establishing Credibility
Important; Sophisticated; Original
Method; Citations; Scholarship
Writing Clarity: Syntax, Style, Grammar, Etc.
'Elevator Talk'
Set writing goals - establish a diary of what you aim to write by when
Lead with your voice and analysis, not with another scholar’s. (Step back from the lit review and/or historical timeline.)
Structure & Argumentation
Make Grand, Sweeping Claims that aren't backed up by research
Claim that No Theory is Necessary, or that No Method is Necessary
Go beyond description of theory and method; tell the reader why it is important to your study
Just provide a narration. DO create an analytical structure. Story is part of it in IR, but theoretical analysis undertaken with rigor is key.
State thesis early and refer back to it often.
Make every section relate back to main idea.
Know yourself and your writing routine
Create a detailed outline of your dissertation - stick to it but don't be afraid to deviate from it when necessary and as the writing and research process dictate
Stuck?  In doubt?  Ask your supervisor for suggestions and assistance.
Consult the following resources
Strunk & White, Elements of Style
Zinsser, On Writing Well
Articulate a one sentence summary of your dissertation topic
Articulate a one sentence summary of your thesis
Articulate titles for each of your chapters
What does each chapter do?
What is its purpose, relative to the Thesis?
'The position you are taking, and why'
It doesn't 'look at'; It proposes or asserts or argues
What is it about?
Using Quotations can enhance credibility
Three common problems & solutions:
2) Quotes coming out of nowhere
From: 'Introducing Quotation in Writing' by Christopher W. Close
Quotation should be introduced to the reader, or put in context
Just because 'legitimacy needs to be established by legal authority' (Smith, 2009: 4) doesn't necessarily tell us how to establish it.
In her examination of war crime trials, Smith argues that 'legitimacy needs to be established by legal authority' (2009: 4), but she does not indicate how to actually establish such authority.
1) Failing to indicate where you got the quotation
Although power is relative, 'it is the single most important factor determining state interactions' in the international system.
3) Misappropriating an Author's ideas
Because 'soft power is increasingly available' it will become 'the most sought after form of power by small states' (Jones, 2006: 35)
This style takes others' arguments and presents them as the writer's ideas, even though they are cited.
Better to introduce them as others' ideas, and then indicate your support of or agreement with them.
Paragraphs help structure tremendously!
Each Paragraph should have a SINGLE topic that it develops
The first sentence is usually the 'topic sentence'
The remaining sentences develop the topic sentence
Developing the Topic Sentence
Use Examples to support it
Use details to elaborate or clarify it
Discuss an incident further
Last Sentence 'clincher'
Restates topic sentence
Paragraph Example
Cheese production has been transformed over the last century from being hand-crafted to being machine-crafted. In Colombia, for example, the cheese merchants association changed its charter in 1976 to embrace safety protocols associated with an increasingly mechanized cheese manufacturing process. Similarly, Ireland passed a series of 'lactose acts' in the mid-1990s designed to facilitate cheese worker compensation claims regarding work-related injuries. Although these acts were initially met with resistance, they have subsequently been embraced by most political parties. Most significantly, perhaps, is the fact that the United Nations High Commissioner for Cheese recently declared hand-crafted cheeses to be exempt from human rights law as it represents an 'antiquated artistic' rather than commercial practice. Mechanization clearly represents the modern approach to the production of cheese.
Paragraph Example
Cheese production has been transformed over the last century from being hand-crafted to being machine-crafted. This can be seen in a variety of countries, ranging from Colombia to Ireland. The production of cheese has also caused a wide variety of environmental problems, such as cow-tipping and milking wrist. Moreover, there are serious human rights issues associated with employment practices in cheese manufacturing, including forced migration, cheese 'sweat shops', and uncompensated bacterial infections. All this clearly demonstrates that cheese production is a complicated and dangerous issue.
Strike a balance
Don't 'borrow' quotes, 'use' quotes
Use enough to show you understand their value and how to use them
Don't use so many that it looks like you don't have your own voice
Very Long Quotes should usually be Avoided
Primary sources perhaps
Rephrase into your own words
Writing Advice
A Proposal is not a Tattoo
Dissertation Lectures
Methodology & Methods (Week 8; required)
Discourse Analysis (Week 9; optional)
Historical Methods (Week 10; optional)
Case Studies (Week 11; optional)
Writing Literature Reviews (Today; required)
3 April, 4-6pm, Arts Lecture Theatre (Beasley)
14 April, 10-12 Noon, Arts Lecture Theatre (Scheipers)
16 April, 4-6pm, UCO School 3 (Williams)
23 April, 4-6pm, Arts Lecture Theatre (Beasley)
No One Single Correct Structure
'Empirical Enquiry'
Case Study
Discourse Analysis
More on this is a moment
No Matter What Type of Dissertation
. 'Work of distinction quality, and possibly publishable, which addresses a well-defined research question, is theoretically sophisticated and demonstrates broad knowledge of the relevant literature, which is applied in a meaningful way. A logically sustained argument that is grounded in empirical evidence (unless a work of theory). Demonstrating originality, independence of thought and critical analytic ability. A high standard of presentation.' (module booklet)
Purpose & Philosophy
Critical Judgment
'tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them'
MLitt = Master the Literature (Lang)
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