Overview of CH01

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Is this Normal?

Hello! I think maybe you need some clarification around the extent of the literature review. In most cases, as part of an application, the admissions team want to see a research proposal which is similar to what you have explained.

However, the actual literature review as part of that, is quite minimal and not expected to be thorough. Mainly because the literature review is a core chapter of an actual dissertation and can take quite some time to write! Also, as Nead mentioned, it constantly evolves over the life of the thesis too.

I think a smaller literature review of the key concepts and themes, as well as the key authors in your area of research, is what they would want to see. It shows your writing skills and also your prior research skills before being accepted into the program. Further, it also shows that you have some knowledge in the area and have figured out some potential gaps in the literature to explore.

I hope this helps! Let me know you go.

Literature review tips, tricks and tactics

Great recommendations here! Thank you. I really like the idea of an annotated bibliography and will start doing this from now on. Great suggestion. Especially, as you mentioned, as the years go on I’m likely to forget which journal articles will serve me best in the literature review.

As naive as this sounds, once you write the literature review, say in year 1, do you continually add to it as new research comes out? So it essentially keeps evolving over the 4 years?

Literature review tips, tricks and tactics

Thanks for this Michael. Will make a cup of tea and read these articles now! Legend. Really appreciate the response.

Literature review tips, tricks and tactics

That was a great response. Thank you! It gave me some good feedback as to what I am currently doing is right!

I’m currently reading books on my topic and I’m using Evernote to make chapter summaries and list major quotes etc. Undertaking somewhat of a reading for understanding approach with notes being a key for me. I also like the fact that I can go back to my notes and use them for the literature review too. I can see how it is important to do this given how much you have to read!

The thing that struck me the most there was that people use Wikipedia for literature reviews?! At a PhD level?! Wowee. I’m equally as concerned as I am confused by that!

I’ve started writing a tentative version (it will no doubt be absolutely torn to shreds by a supervisor!) of the literature review and it is taking more of a discursive chapter approach. I’ve been able to do quite a lot of reading on my subject area so I’m experience quite a bit of ‘flow’ with writing the different sections of it so far. Alas, I’ve had no feedback on the draft (only about 50% of the topic covered so far) so I have no idea if what I’m writing is necessary or important. I guess it doesn’t hurt to have ideas penned down anyway?

Thanks for the advice on not worrying about a word limit and writing way over the limit in the first instance. That’s good. Gives me the confidence to not worry about the word count number stating back at me in Microsoft Word!

Literature review tips, tricks and tactics

Hi all, new to the forum but have read a few threads and have found it to be of immense value to someone considering a PhD in Education.

At the moment, I am about to start my Master’s thesis, which I will use as part of a PhD application later on this year. With that in mind, I was wondering if anyone had an tips, tricks, tactics or useful advice on -

1. How to start a literature review
2. How you work on your literature review and fine tune it over time
3. The approach you take to the literature review
4. How many words is a literate review in a PhD usually?
4. Any other advice you might have!