MGMT617 – Research Methods
Guidelines for Assessment Task 2: Critical literature review, problematisation and envisioned contribution.
The midsection of a research proposal is its literature review. A strong literature review not only summarizes and integrates the knowledge base on a subject, but also identifies aspects of the knowledge base that are problematic—inadequate, incorrect, inconsistent, or incommensurate with reality. Ultimately, your research question should focus on addressing one of these problems with our current knowledge.
Your task for the second assessment is to (1) summarize and integrate the knowledge base on your substantive topic, i.e. your literature review itself; (2) persuasively problematise some of the knowledge on your topic; and (3) explain the procedures you used to create a high-quality literature review, as discussed in the unit.
These elements of your assignment map directly onto the marking rubrics (shown on pp. 3-5 of the document, pp. 14-16 of the unit outline). Criteria 1 and 2 refer to your literature review section. Criteria 3 refers to your problematisation and contribution section. Criteria 4 refers to how you use the unit’s materials on crafting a high-quality literature review.
• Use the first section to summarize and integrate what we know about the topic of interest. A strong and comprehensive literature review will cover: definitions, prevalence, importance, correlates, contexts, typical research designs, and measurement. Remember, literature reviews are persuasive documents. Integrate your literature review by convincingly making 4-5 important points about the state of knowledge in the area. The body of literature in an area form a scholarly conversation. Distinction- and high distinction-level submissions will describe how this conversation has evolved over time, and indicate where the conversation seems to be going next.
• Use the second section to problematise one or two things in the knowledge base on your chosen topic. Describe what is wrong with what we already know. What is inconsistent, incorrect, or inadequate about existing scholarly knowledge? In other words, in what way is this body of knowledge incommensurate with itself, with reality, or with your experiences? Make a persuasive case for your ‘problematisation’ of existing knowledge by using other journal articles (compulsory) and occasional trustworthy non-academic sources (optional but preferred). The more persuasive your argument, the higher your mark.
o Your final paragraph in this section should focus on scholarly contribution. Your problematisation will determine how your proposed study makes a scholarly contribution. Make a case for why it is important to solve the problem you’ve identified in the literature, and show how the body of knowledge is advanced by fixing this problem.
• Use the third section (1-2 paragraphs) to link your literature review back to principles in the unit’s readings. Identify the guidelines for crafting a good literature review (as covered in the course readings) and explain how you implemented those guidelines. Just as in the first assessment task, whenever you draw on criteria from the readings, please be explicit.
• Use 10-15 recent, high-quality scholarly journal articles on the substantive topic of interest (alongside other trustworthy sources, like government statistics and policy reports). Remember to rely primarily on high-quality scholarly journal sources.
• Word limit is 1,500 words, maximum. You may use fewer than 1,500 words; that’s not an issue. The word limit excludes references.
• High-quality writing is important. Researchers need to be understood by the general public. The most important thing is that the writing is organized logically. A few grammatical errors will not be too bad. However, writing that is incomprehensible or lacking logical structure will earn poor marks on the last criterion in the rubric.
More information about when and how to submit, as well as the assessment rubrics, can be found in the EUO.
As always, please feel free to get in touch with your lecturer with your questions, clarifications, and concerns. S/he will typically respond within 1-2 business days.