Critcally Reviewing Literature

Chapter 3 – critically reviewing literature – main purpose is to help you to develop a good understanding and isngiht into relevant previous research and the trends that have emerged

Two major reasons exist for reviewing literatures (sharp et al. 2002) First – preliminary search helps to generate and refine your research ideas Second – critical review – demonstrate current awareness of the current state of knowledge in your subject, its limitations and how your research fits in this wider context (Gill and Johnson 2002)

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Sharp, J, A, Peters, J, Howard, K, (2002), “The management of a student research project”, 3rd edition, Aldershot, Gower

Gill, J, Johnson, P, (2002), “Research methods for managers”, third edition, London, Paul chapman

Therefore need both to map and assess the existing intellectual territory (Tranfield et al 2003:208), establishing what research has been published in your chosen area and if possible to try to identify any other research that might currently be in progress. Consequently, the items you read and write about will enhance your subject knowledge and help you clarify your research questions further. Tranfield.D, Denyer. D, Smart,P, (2003), “Towards a methodlogy for developing evidence informed management knowledge by means of systematic review”, British journal of management, Vol: 14, Iss: 3, pf 207 -222

Reading what other researchers in your area have already found out Some research – literature will help identify theories and ideas and you will test using data (deductive approach) Planning to explore your data and to develop theroeis from them that you will subsequently relate to the literature (inductive approach.

Wallace and Wray 2006 recommend the use of review questions – specific questions you ask of the reading which will be linked directly or indirectly to the research question.

Wallace. M, Wray. A (2006), “critical reading and writing for postgradautes”, London, Sage

Wallace and wray define critical reading as “the capacity to evaluate what you read and the capacity to relate what you read to other information” 5 questions

1. Why am I reading this – stick to purpose of reading
2. What is the author trying to do in writing this – how valuable writing is
3. What is the writer saing that is relevant to what I want to find out
4. How convincing is what the author is saying
5. What use can I make of the reading

Because of the time taken to publish, the information in these sources can be dated. Your literature review should reflect current thinking as far as possible, so the limitations of such sources must be recognised

As you start your plan you need to beware of information overload. One of the easiest ways to avoid this is to start the main search for your critical review with a clearly defined research question, objective and outline proposal

The identification of key words or ‘ search’ terms is the most important part of planning your search for releavant literature (Bell 2005) Bell, J, (2005)m “Doing your research proeject” 4th edition, Maidenhead, open university press

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