Literature Review

Rhetorical Functions Illustrates importance and need for project Justifies methodical (methodological?) choices Demonstrates familiarity with subject Should Flesh out background of study Critical assessment of area of study Establish need for current and future research projects Tips Categorise literature into topic clusters Find relevant positions regarding project Build on conclusions leading to project Demonstrate where literature is lacking Literature Review […]


Literature review brings together current body of subject knowledge. Most academic papers are relatively short (<10 pages) therefore cannot contain current body of knowledge, just reference to parts that are reported on in paper. Papers typically make only small contribution to body of knowledge. Need to read a lot of papers. Literature review demonstrates ability to bring together information and […]

Critical Evaluation

When there is a lot of information on the subject area, it is easy to repeat what existing literature already states. This is not a literature review as nothing has been reviewed. Need to make own comments on literature being reviewed. Should be well reasoned & supported by evidence from literature. If there are clearly opposing views published, task is […]

What are Academic Papers for?

Papers validate contributions to knowledge. Reviewed: Subject experts peer review. Published with others in area checking it. Scrutinised by other researchers once in public domain. Tested again and again by many people. Paper can stand up to tests, be modified or thrown out. Papers disseminate knowledge, e.g. discover and share a cure for disease. Papers further research identify existing solutions […]

Aspects of the Literature Review

Should be well-argued & critical evaluation of particular subject. Should show width and depth of reading relevant and appropriate literature. Not sufficient to read two or three papers. Remember triangulation. Should focus clearly on particular issue being looked at. Should learn a lot about subject and will help give clearer focus on questions to ask. Should be coherent piece of […]

Role of the Literature Review

To add to the existing body of knowledge, we need to know what is already there. This is the determined by carrying out a literature review. It is also used to support and justify research. Also by reviewing existing work we can identify questions not yet answered, either: from “future work” section of existing dissertations/papers, or spotting a gap – […]