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Writing a Literature Review Assignment


Writing a Literature Review Assignment. Louise Livesey. Academic Skills Adviser. This workshop will Provide information on how to handle content and structure of a ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Writing a Literature Review Assignment

Writing a Literature Review Assignment
  • This workshop will 
  • Provide information on how to handle content and
    structure of a literature review assignment.
  • Offer tips on how to assemble findings from the
    literature into an essay-style format.
  • Introduce you to basic elements of good practice
    when drafting the finished paper.

Louise Livesey Academic Skills Adviser
The Plan
  1. What is a literature review assignment?
  2. What is in a literature review assignment
  3. Structuring literature reviews
  4. Moving from analytical notes to written work
  5. Maintaining academic style

1.What is a literature review assignment?
  • It is not a furniture sale catalogue
  • (Haywood Wragg, 1982 2).

1.What is a literature review assignment?
What is it, then?
Activity 1 What does a review achieve?
1.What is a literature review assignment?
  • Aims of the research
  • To establish a taxonomy of the student peer
    mentor by seeking, from the research, a list of
    mentor characteristics most often associated with
    positive outcomes from the mentoring relationship
    for both mentor and mentee. Briefly described in
    abstract and then more fully in penultimate

1.What is a literature review assignment?
  • Main aim should demonstrate a sound
    understanding of work done previously in the
    topic area.
  • Identify research possibilities and tailor a
    possible research project
  • Locate or develop a research methodology
    appropriate to a future project
  • Justify a choice of area for further

1.What is a literature review assignment?
  • Its not just about collection, its about
    showing you can select, organize and classify
    findings into a coherent account (Bell, 2005
  • The written up review is deliberately succinct
    and gives the key research/knowledge/issues in
    the field.
  • It is not descriptive sources need to be
    engaged with critically before they make the
    final cut. Finding the literature may be about
    fact-finding but the written up version rarely
  • It aims for academic critical objectivity it is
    not a good idea to leave out a key study/finding
    because it disagrees with a position or
    hypothesis you are arguing...

2.What is in a literature
Degree/level Overall content is determined by what youve found when reviewing literature.
BA, BSc, BEng Topic focused to answer a question or justify further research so - Key (current) sources - Seminal (definitive) sources
MA, MSc Summarise fields knowledge so far Analyse both the topic and the body of work found within it inc. theoretical underpinning of the topic/key issues May analyse the methodology literature. Seminal work is included but new research that is highly relevant is foregrounded.
(adapted from Hart, 1998 15)
A written up literature review might include
2.What is in a literature
    Historical background   Justification of the relevance of a future research project by showing the body of knowledge it would contribute to  
    An overview of current research context   Identification analysis of key evidence, concepts and theories which underpin a given topic within a discipline.  
  Current gaps in the field where new research could extend or complete missing aspects of what has been researched before.     Debate about key assumptions or findings that a discipline relies upon  
3.Structuring literature reviews
  • The expectations around basic structure apply
  • Introduction
  • (Headings/sections)
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • (Appendices)

Thematic Pros and cons Chronologically
Theoretical Fors and againsts Historical to present
Methodological Strengths and weaknesses Era by era
(Hart, 1998 Ridley, 2012)
3.Structuring literature reviews
  • 3 potential structures at text level
  • Distant to close
  • Comparative/
  • contrasting
  • Chronological

3.Structuring literature reviews
Managing a point at sentence level
4.Moving from analyticalnotes to written work
Analysing sources
Writing draft
Thinking, planning, mapping
4.Moving from analyticalnotes to written work
  • Keep the aims/questions/hypotheses of the
    assignment firmly in mind when beginning to
    assemble the material.
  • Remember it is a circular not a linear process.
  • Bear in mind the potential overlaps between the
    sub-topics within the topic you are reviewing.
  • Create a line of reasoning that leads a reader to
    your conclusion/position.

4.Moving from analyticalnotes to written work
  • Using the notes function of Endnote
  • Using MS Office OneNote to create a notebook
  • Using sticky notes
  • Creating a database of findings in access or
  • Code up handwritten or typed notes using a
    personalised colour code or alpha-numeric code
  • Use the back of a roll of wallpaper to brainstorm
    and link findings in your notes
  • Use mind-mapping or concept mapping, either by
    hand or using university software

5.Maintaining academic style
  • Avoid over personalisation unless a lecturer
    suggests they want a personal take 3rd person
    sentences and pronouns.
  • Scrutiny of recent data reveals vs I looked at
    some recent information
  • You are criticising theories/evidence/studies
    not people.
  • Potential deficiencies of Smiths study are vs
    Smith is clearly not a reliable researcher
  • Your review is not journalism, make sure all of
    your observations have evidence to back them up
    and dont be chatty.
  • This reviews findings would suggest vs what I
    found was
  • Use cautious phrasing more than definitive
  • Potential issues within Prasans study are vs
    This study is poor
  • Avoid overly-complex sentences 7-15 words per
    sentence are enough.

5.Maintaining academic style
  • Consider using a phrasebank during the editing
    and re-drafting phase of writing to help you to
    improve on your style.
  • Morleys Phrasebank http//www.phrasebank.manches

5.Maintaining academic style
  • Bell, J. (2005) Doing your research project. 4th
    ed. Maidenhead, Open University Press.
  • Hart, C. (1998) Doing a literature review
    releasing the social science research
    imagination. London, SAGE Publications Ltd.
  • Haywood, P. Wragg, E.D. (1982) Evaluating the
    literature. Rediguide 2, Nottingham, University
    of Nottingham School of Education.
  • Oliver, P. (2012) Succeeding with your literature
    review. Maidenhead, Open University Press.
  • Ridley, D. (2012) The literature review. 2nd
    edition. London, Sage Publications Ltd.
  • Terrion, J.L. Leonard, D. (2007) A taxonomy of
    the characteristics of student peer mentors in
    higher education findings from a literature
    review. Mentoring Tutoring, 15 (2), 149-164.
  • Weissberg, R. Buker, S. (1990) Writing up
    research experimental research report writing
    for students of English. Englewood Cliffs,
    Prentice Hall.

Academic Skills Advice Service
  • Where are we? Chesham Building B0.23. Give us a
    call or come speak to us Monday-Thursday
    10am-12pm and 1pm-4pm
  • Who am I? Louise, the dedicated workshop adviser.
  • Who can help me with study and writing skills?
    Lucy and Russell run Instant Study Skills Advice
    sessions Monday-Thursday and Writing Skills
    Clinics twice a week. You can also access
    self-help resources on our webpage.
  • Who can give me maths advice? Helen and Michael
    specialise in Maths support for students though
    clinics and pre-booked appointments.
  • How do I get in touch? Email academic-skills_at_brad
    .ac.uk Telephone 01274 236849

Any questions?
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  • Eligible students have been sent an email with a
    survey link from International-office_at_bradford.ac.
  • ISB helps the University to
  • understand the international student experience
  • make improvements for you as students and
  • understand what we are doing well.
  • But! We need students to fill out the survey
  • more students better data better experience
  • You could win an iPad Mini 2 or a years gym
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