You are on page 1of 22

Conducting Literature Review

By M R Selamat

By the end of this presentation, you should be able to:


Distinguish between plagiarized, cut-paste material and original contribution. Find literature associated with your topic. Properly quote literature from within your thesis. Properly list reference material at the end of your thesis. Realize the severe consequences of plagiarism and the merit of doing your work without it.

What is a review of the literature?

A literature review is an account of what has been published on a topic by accredited scholars and researchers. You will be required to write a chapter on literature review. In writing the literature review, your purpose is to convey to your reader what knowledge and ideas have been established on the topic you have chosen, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. As a piece of writing, the literature review must be defined by a guiding concept (e.g., your research objective, the problem or issue you are discussing, or your argumentative thesis). It is not a descriptive list of the material available, or a set of summaries.

A Good Literature Review is:


Focused - The topic should be narrow. You should only present ideas and only report on studies that are closely related to topic. Concise - Ideas should be presented economically. Dont take any more space than you need to present your ideas. Logical - The flow within and among paragraphs should be a smooth, logical progression from one idea to the next Developed - Dont leave the story half told. Integrative - Your paper should stress how the ideas in the studies are related. Focus on the big picture. What commonality do all the studies share? How are some studies different than others? Your paper should stress how all the studies reviewed contribute to your topic. Current - Your review should focus on work being done on the cutting edge of your topic.

Besides enlarging your knowledge about the topic, writing a literature review lets you gain and demonstrate skills in two areas:

information seeking: the ability to scan the literature efficiently, using manual or computerized methods, to identify a set of useful articles and books critical appraisal: the ability to apply principles of analysis to identify unbiased and valid studies.

A literature review must do these things:

be organized around and related directly to the thesis or research question you are developing synthesize results into a summary of what is and is not known identify areas of controversy in the literature formulate questions that need further research

Ask yourself questions like these:

What is the specific thesis, problem, or research question that my literature review helps to define? What type of literature review am I conducting? Am I looking at issues of theory? methodology? policy? quantitative research (e.g. on the effectiveness of a new procedure)? qualitative research (e.g., studies )? What is the scope of my literature review? What types of publications am I using (e.g., journals, books, government documents, popular media)? What discipline am I working in (e.g., environment, geotechnical engineering, transportation, structure)?

Ask yourself questions like these:

How good was my information seeking? Has my search been wide enough to ensure I've found all the relevant material? Has it been narrow enough to exclude irrelevant material? Is the number of sources I've used appropriate for the length of my paper? Have I critically analyzed the literature I use? Do I follow through a set of concepts and questions, comparing items to each other in the ways they deal with them? Instead of just listing and summarizing items, do I assess them, discussing strengths and weaknesses? Have I cited and discussed studies contrary to my perspective? Will the reader find my literature review relevant, appropriate, and useful?

Ask yourself questions like these about each text book or article you include:

Has the author formulated a problem/issue? Is it clearly defined? Is its significance (scope, severity, relevance) clearly established? Could the problem have been approached more effectively from another perspective? What is the author's research orientation (e.g., interpretive, critical science, combination)?

Ask yourself questions like these about each book or article you include:

What is the author's theoretical framework (e.g., psychological, developmental, feminist)? What is the relationship between the theoretical and research perspectives? Has the author evaluated the literature relevant to the problem/issue? Does the author include literature taking positions she or he does not agree with? In a research study, how good are the basic components of the study design (e.g., population, intervention, outcome)? How accurate and valid are the measurements? Is the analysis of the data accurate and relevant to the research question? Are the conclusions validly based upon the data and analysis?

Ask yourself questions like these about each book or article you include:

In material written for a popular readership, does the author use appeals to emotion, one-sided examples, or rhetorically-charged language and tone? Is there an objective basis to the reasoning, or is the author merely "proving" what he or she already believes? How does the author structure the argument? Can you "deconstruct" the flow of the argument to see whether or where it breaks down logically (e.g., in establishing cause-effect relationships)? In what ways does this book or article contribute to your understanding of the problem under study, and in what ways is it useful for practice? What are the strengths and limitations? How does this book or article relate to the specific thesis or question I am developing?

So what is a literature review?

A literature review is a piece of discursive prose, not a list describing or summarizing one piece of literature after another. It's usually a bad sign to see every paragraph beginning with the name of a researcher. Instead, organize the literature review into sections that present themes or identify trends, including relevant theory. You are not trying to list all the material published, but to synthesize and evaluate it according to the guiding concept of your thesis or research question.

Now you can start writing


DECIDE ON A TOPIC NARROW YOUR TOPIC CREATE AN INTRODUCTION FOR YOUR LITERATURE REVIEW ORGANIZE THE BODY OF YOUR PAPER Scan each article to get an overview of each one. Group the articles by categories. Read each article carefully, taking notes on each one. WRITE THE BODY OF YOUR PAPER

Make the structure and organization of your write-up explicit. Integrate the studies you summarize in your paper. At the end of each section wrap up studies in a paragraph that tells the reader how the studies relate and address your topic. Make sure you take note of key terms and definitions. Identify landmark studies in your write-up Identify major trends across the studies you are reading. Present your conclusions. Present implications. Present suggestions for future research.

WRAP THE PAPER UP


Quoting reference into your writing

Quoting: (Author, Year) Quoting: Author (Year) Quoting: (Author1 and Author2, Year) Quoting: Author1 and Author2 (Year) Quoting: (Author1 et al., Year) Quoting: Author1 et al. (Year) Quoting: (Author, Year1, Year2, Year3, Year4) Quoting: (Author1, Year1 and Author2, Year2) Quoting: (Author1, Year1; Author2, Year2; and Author3, Year3)

Quoting reference into your writing

Ground motion was first incorporated into slope stability analyses to study the effects from earthquakes (Sarma 1973). This paper will not go much into the matters on pseudo-static and permanent displacement concepts as discussed by Newmark (1965), Chang et al. (1983), Lin and Whitman (1986), Kobayashi et al. (1990), Yegian et al. (1991), Leshchinsky and San (1994), and Kramer and Smith (1997). Instead, it will refer to works by Sarma (1973, 1975, 1979), Sarma and Bhave (1974), Kjartannsson (1979), Hoek (1987), Dowding and Gilbert (1988), Kavetski et al. (1990), Ashford and Sitar (2002), and the authors own earlier publications (Selamat 1999, Selamat and Chitombo 2003), on how ground accelerations were computed into forces that were used in the pseudo-static or permanent displacement ideas.

Quoting reference into your writing

This discussion highlights the relevance of Sarmas method on the emerging interest in the country in some areas of earthquake engineering (Adnan et al., 2005). This discussion will refer to works by Sarma (1973, 1975, 1979), Sarma and Bhave (1974), Kjartannsson (1979), Hoek (1987), Dowding and Gilbert (1988), Kavetski et al. (1990), Ashford and Sitar (2002), and the authors own earlier publications (Selamat 1999, Selamat and Chitombo 2003), on how ground accelerations were computed into forces that were used in the pseudo-static or permanent displacement ideas.

Quoting actual script into your writing

Dowding (1996) writes .too little experience from .earthquake engineering has spilled into .blasting vibrations.

Quoting actual script into your writing

The trend as indicated in Fig. 1 is currently happening.

90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 1st Qtr 2nd Qtr 3rd Qtr 4th Qtr East West North

Fig. 1 Growth in Waste Recycling Activity. (After Aziz, 2004)

Listing your reference


Author, Year. Title of Paper/Article. Name of Journal/Bulletin. Vol. No. pp. Author1, Author2, Author3, Author4, Year. Title of Paper/Article. Name of Journal. Vol. No. pp. Author, Year. Title of Book. Publisher. Place. pp. Author, Year. Title of Paper/Article. Name of Proceeding of Conference. Place. pp. Author, Year. Title of Paper/Article. Name of Report. Name of Organization. Place. pp. Http://www1.eng.usm.my/awam/servis

Listing your reference

Adnan A., Abas M. R., and Hendriawan. 2005. Earthquake Induced Energy: Sources and Hazard Analysis For Structural Earthquake Resistant Design in Peninsular Malaysia. The Ingenieur of the Board of Engineers, Malaysia, Vol. 26, pp. 21-25

What is Plagiarism

Rewriting someone elses script without quoting the source. Rewriting someone elses script as if it is your own Cutting and Pasting internet materials Publishing someone elses result without permission Reproducing someone elses figure or table without quoting source (as after Author, year)

Thank You