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The Literature Review

Taking a look at the literature on your topic/area of interest is an ongoing task. This Prezi will guide you through the literature review process.
by

Sophie van der Walt

on 11 May 2010

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Transcript of The Literature Review

The Literature Review Start here Taking a look at the literature on your topic/area of interest is an ongoing task.
This means, that although you may do quite extensive reading of academic articles for your initial propoal you will continuously be updating and revising what you've written with new literature found. Now come here Definition of a literature review A research literature review is a systematic, explicit and reproducible method for identifying, evaluating and synthesizing the existing body of completed and recorded work produced by researchers, scholars and practitioners (Fink, 2010:3).

This means you have to be: systematic (devide your topic into smaller, more manageable areas and read up on those), explicit (be as extensive as possible using the academic sources found in your university library) and reproducible (keep track of which journals and books you've read)

A review of the literature is important because without it you will not acquire an understanding of your topic, of what has already been done on it, how it has been researched, and what the key issues are.

In your written project you will be expected to show that you understand previous research on your topic. This amounts to showing that you have understood the main theories in the subject area and how they have been applied and developed, as well as the main criticisms that have been made of work on the topic.
The review is therefore a part of your academic development - of becoming an expert (Hart, 1998:1). now read this! What is the purpose of a literature review? To situate your research in the context of what is already known about a topic.
It needs to show how your work/thesis will benefit the whole.
It does not need to be complete, only relevant

It should provide the theoretical basis for your work, show what has been done in the area by others and set the stage for your own contribution.
Helps to establish a need for the research
Gives the historical context of the topic within the subject area
Shows what where the gaps in the literature is Questions a literature review can answer 1. What are the key sources in this field of study
2. what are the major issues and debates about the topic
3. what are the origins and definitions of the topics
4. what are the key theories, concepts and ideas
5. what are the epistemological (a branch of philosophy that investigates the origin, nature, methods, and limits of human knowledge) and
6. ontological (what entities exist or can be said to exist, and how such entities can be grouped, related within a hierarchy, and subdivided according to similarities and differences) grounds for the discipline
7. what are the main questions and problems that needs to be addressed by the problems Did you know this? What type of literature should you use? Published books
Academic Journal articles, also called scholarly
or peer-reviewed journals
Theses
Conference papers

All of these different sources are FREELY available at your local university library. Get to the Library What should you look for when reading the literature? Read the abstract and look for the key concepts/aspects
of the article/book
Look at the:

1. arguments
2. motives
3. standpoints
4. concepts
5. evidence
6. conclusions
7. hypothesis
8. definitions
9. problems discussed
10. ethics get reading! Criteria for a good literature review It needs to be complete in other words cover all the major points raised by your research problem

Fair use of authors - do not qoute a single author or overuse and author, try to obtain a balance between the different authors and their views

Topical and not dated - make sure your topic is relevant to the field and that the sources you use are not outdated (usually this means not older than 5-10 years)

Use of academic sources - this includes books, journals, theses and conference papers. Try to steer away from internet sources which are usually not academic

Well organised - you must summarise and integrate each of the different authors and view points to present a holistic view of what the literature says on your topic, who differs and why and who you agree with end here Literature test:

Name 3 national journals in your field/topic

Name 3 international journals in your field/topic

Name 2 key scholars in your field/topic
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