|Key Notes: Academic Forensics, the Literature Review|

Constellation, Level 5

Today we were given a lecture on literature reviews and how they are used within dissertation and academic writing. the aim of the presentation will allow us to understand exactly the different parts to a literature review: what is known, who knows it, and whats missing?


what is a literature review: 

A literature review is a summary of what existing scholarship knows about a particular topic. It is always based on secondary sources that is, what other people have already written on the subject; it is not concerned about discovering new knowledge or information. As such, it is a prelude to further research, a digest of scholars opinion a literature review should focus only on the relevant academic literature: popular or non academic sources may be brought in occasionally to illustrate a point, but the central interest is always on the theories put together by experts in the field.

what does a literature review do?

  • situates your research focus within the context of the wider academic community in your field.
  • reports your critical review of the relevant literature
  • identifies a gap within that literature that your research will attempt to address.
  • identifies literature in other fields that may help alleviate this gap.

what will you be asking/discovering?

  • what research question are you asking?
  • why are you asking it/them?
  • has anyone else done anything similar
  • is your research relevant to research/ practice/ theory in your field?
  • what is already known or understood about this topic?
  • how might your research add to this understanding or challenge existing theories and beliefs?

where does it go? 

Depends upon your topic, question and form of dissertation

  • it can be a chapter at the start that sets the context (for disciplinary work)
  • it can be spread out throughout a number of chapters (interdisciplinary work)
  • it can be spread out through the entire dissertation (for transdiciplinary work)

I found that going to this lecture was specifically interesting, as a student that at the start of the lecture wasn’t 100% certain on what a literature review was i feel now that I understand and I am confident that I could write one by using all of the information above.


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