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Literature Reviews: Why it is important?

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Yuserrie Zainuddin School of Management Universiti Sains Malaysia

Issues related to Literature Review
Candidates unable to differentiate what to write in literature review and the chapter of theoretical framework and hypotheses development.  Candidate tends to summarise article in literature review.

Issues related to Literature Review
Candidate fails to conceptualize the concepts clearly and critically.  Candidate fails to relate concepts with theory underlying the study.  Candidate fails to explain in detail about other concepts used in previous study.

What is Concept?
A mental image that has no meaning to someone else except for the one who conceptualize.  It is mere what you think – not something that you can describe.

. dark. quality etc. love. beautiful. is Concept? Why we need to know “concept”?  Examples of concepts .in management commitment. organization. culture. return on investment.  .

 The variables come from concept that you have identify – from literature review.  .What’s Concept in your research? The variables? Independent. opinion. dependent. experience or observation. moderator and intervening.

What’s Concept in your research? Why do you choose this concept? Give definition – operationalisation – that you can visualize or feel or perceive.  .  How do you know you concept is something that what you would like to examine?  .




Relationship between Literature Review and Problem Statement  What is problem statement? .

Two concepts – are MAS & Managerial performance.Relationship between Literature Review and Problem Statement Something researcher has an interest/ real problem/or filling gaps about phenomenon.  .  A phenomenon – for example – management accounting systems (MAS)– how it can enhance managerial performance.

Relationship between Literature Review and Problem Statement   Stated in a statement: How the design of management accounting systems (timeliness. broad scope and aggregation) can enhance managerial performance? . integration.

Relationship between Literature Review and Problem Statement Alternatively:  Interested to know why there are differences in managers’ performance in manufacturing companies? Our focus now is on the performance of managers. You interest to investigate how MAS can explain the differences in managerial performance.  .

What are the concepts need to be discussed in literature review? The concept of MAS with four dimensions. aggregation and integration. namely timeliness. . broad scope.   Perhaps: Moderator if any.  Managerial performance – specifically what performance are you looking at.

the literature review must be defined by a guiding concept (e. your research objective. or your argumentative thesis).. or a set of summaries. the problem or issue you are discussing.  It is not just a descriptive list of the material available.What is a review of the literature? As a piece of writing.  .g.

to identify a set of useful articles and books Critical appraisal: the ability to apply principles of analysis to identify unbiased and valid studies . using manual or computerized methods.What you gain from literature review?   Information seeking: the ability to scan the literature efficiently.

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 – a-state-ofthe-art .

A literature review must do these things   identify areas of controversy in the literature formulate questions that need further research .

demonstrates that you know the field .justifies the reason for your research . it is not just a routine step taken to fulfill formal requirements. You need a good literature review because it: .Why do I need a literature review?  The literature review is integral to the whole thesis.allows you to establish your theoretical framework and methodological focus  .

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.Questions to ask about your literature review.g. problem.. on the effectiveness of a new procedure)? qualitative research (e.g. studies)? .    You need to answer these questions: What is the specific thesis.

. government documents.   What is the scope of my literature review? What types of publications am I using (e. organizational behaviour.Questions to ask about your literature review. journals. books. sociology. popular media)? What discipline am I working in (e. accounting..g.g. medicine)? .

   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? .Questions to ask about your literature review.

do I assess them.Questions to ask about your literature review.   Have I critically analysed the literature I use? Do I follow through a set of concepts and questions. discussing strengths and weaknesses? . comparing items to each other in the ways they deal with them? Instead of just listing and summarizing items.

and useful? . appropriate.Questions to ask about your literature review.   Have I cited and discussed studies contrary to my perspective? Will the reader find my literature review relevant.

What is a review of the literature? A literature review is a review of reading materials of what has been published on a topic by previous scholars and researchers .

.What is a review of the literature?  The purpose is to convey to the reader what knowledge and ideas have been established on a topic. and what their strengths and weaknesses are.

well supported by evidence.  .Writing the literature It is a purposeful kind of writing which is to be well argued.

Use clear and simple English appropriate for your audience. You are not writing for your supervisor or examiners but to anyone interested at your work .Writing the literature well documented  A straightforward style .

are you describing something. analysing something. .Writing the literature    You also need to think about what it is you are actually doing.

Writing the literature     explaining something. evaluating or assessing the value of other arguments or the sufficiency of evidence? . giving examples. arguing the point.

'suggests'.  . 'be'). 'discusses') or overworking the weaker verbs ('have'. relying on just one or two favourites (for example 'mentions'.  Candidate don't exploit verbs fully.Writing the literature What you are doing (topic) affects the language you use. 'states'.

and opinion of the research. 'verifies'. 'advances (the argument)'. 'excludes'. . 'confuses'. provide a stronger interpretation of your reading. 'questions'. 'postulates'. understanding.Writing the literature  Verbs such as 'judges'. 'convinces'.

both active and passive voice!) As a general rule.Writing the literature Active or passive voice  Both active and passive voice should be used . (Or…You should use. where appropriate. use active voice unless there is good reason not to  .where appropriate.

. a study of some kind. be it a survey. evaluations. Clearly. done by other researchers or by you. However discussing about research findings. an event.Writing the literature    Tenses The tense that suits your purpose is the tense you use. has to be in the past and it is usual to use the past tense to describe it. an experiment. recommendations and conclusions – present.

Writing the literature  Brownell (1985) reports a study conducted on managers which used Milani’s (1976) budgetary participation measure to measure the degree of participation. . This measure is still the most convincing to support Merchant (1996) hypothesis that managers would participate highly in budgetary process particularly in manufacturing.

Final Thoughts   A literature review is a piece of discursive (a series of logical disucssion) writing style. 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.

. 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.Final Thoughts   Organize the literature review into sections that present themes or identify trends. including relevant theory.

.  Argument about concepts use in your study (why do you used it and how do you used it).What do you want to achieve next? After literature review….

 .What do you want to achieve next? After literature review…. To develop a sound theoretical framework – identify all the dimensions of the concept (label and state it)  Having a precise definition of each of the variables identified in the study.