RW2 H3 WRITING A LITERATURE REVIEW for 42908 Engineering Project Preparation
POINTS TO CONSIDER
1. When planning what to include in your literature review:
• What has been done in your field
• What is relevant
• What you need to cover
• Why you would include some bodies of literature and not others
2. Minimum to cover:
• Key writers in the field
• Most recent relevant research
Step one: Mapping the coverage
Identify specifically what needs to be covered. This is an evolutionary process, and can be challenging. It is important to recognise that it is a hard slog, but achievable.
Step two: determining your task objectives
The next step is to work out what tasks you must fulfil in the process of writing your literature review. The following points give an indication of some of the tasks.
• Demonstrating that you have a thorough critical understanding of the literature
• Drawing out key issues central to your research
• Justifying the choice of topic
• Identifying gaps in the literature or problems to be solved
• Developing an argument in the process of reviewing the literature
Step three: structuring a review
As with the previous stages, the structure of your review depends on the nature and objectives of your research. The appropriateness of the following approaches will be for you to decide.
• A chronological approach
• Organised around key themes or debates
• A methodological approach
• Organised by the way the research field itself has developed
Step four: critical engagement with the literature
It is very important to engage with the literature, and to comment on and relate the literature to your own research.
When you are conducting your critique, keep the following types of questions in mind:
• What has been done and how do the various studies relate to one another?
• What is the nature of the contribution made by the different studies? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
• What is particularly useful about the particular studies being reviewed?
Step five: position your research in relation to the literature
Indicate at appropriate points how your research ties in what has already been done.
ABOVE ALL, REMEMBER TO TELL YOUR AUDIENCE WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND WHY.