You will need to begin a literature research, as part of your project or dissertation. To identify existing research and information about your chosen topic, the literature research is what you will need to carry out. You will produce a literature review, from the materials you ﬁnd. What you have found through your search, this written piece will have all that summarised and analysed.
WHY IS THE LITERATURE RESEARCH AND REVIEW IMPORTANT?
The importance of literature review in research cannot be stressed enough. A core part of the academic communication process is using the published literature. It helps you link your work to wider scholarly knowledge, demonstrates your understanding, and puts any research you have done in a wider context.
Published literature is used to
- Vouch for an academic basis to your research
- Elucidate your ideas and ﬁndings
- Find data and research methods
- Categorize potential issues with the work you plan to do
In some areas you may be analysing the literature itself or other primary sources, some projects involve conducting your studies. The information you ﬁnd in your literature research should inform and underpin everything you do, including the methods you use and your discussion of your ﬁndings, in all these cases.
HOW LONG DOES A LITERATURE RESEARCH TAKE?
The time required depends upon your topic completely. Keep in mind you will need to:
Invest your time to read and digest what you ﬁnd. Take out the time to get your hands on of materials that aren’t locally available. Interlibrary loans take an average of 2 weeks to arrive.
- Don’t procrastinate and delay what you can do in the given time – it will only make life stressful and mean that you won’t get the marks you .deserve.
A literature search can be an intimidating process, to help you plan and manage the process, here are some simple steps. Picking your research question
- Planning your search
- Choosing your sources
- Finding books
- Finding journal articles
- Locating the materials you need
- Evaluating and recording your results
- Reviewing your search plan
- Finding too much
- Finding too little
- Finding materials which are not ‘academic enough.’
- Synthesising your results
- Providing an overview and an argument
- Reading critically
- Writing Analytically
- Identifying areas for further research
- Reflect afterward
You may ﬁnd you need additional help as you go through this process. You can get help from your colleagues, your tutor, by going to an information desk or by arranging to see your subject librarian. Take suggestions of where to ﬁnd help on particular issues from the people who have gone through the same process.
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