I’m currently doing a lot of reading before I start the mammoth task of starting my literature review.
However, I’ve come across some books/academics that are clearly retarded - their work is shoddy and makes no sense. Their arguments are poor and very simplistic, and sometimes very sexist. I get angry just reading some of their work.
My dilemma is - Is it worth actually noting these in my literature review? I essentially will only be putting them in there to show what rubbish has been written on my subject area. I know a review is in part a huge critique of the work.. but I’m just torn as I’d rather have more scholarly and worth while texts in my PhD.
Personally, I think it depends on the work in question. If it is the work of say a theorist who is quite renowned, or has done quite a bit of work in that chosen field, I'd say it's fine to use it. One of the main things your supervisors will want is for you to demonstrate why your own research is independent and worth pursuing, so you would need to compare it to someone's work which you will either deploy or depart from.
However, if it is just some random work you've found which has no academic relevance then I wouldn't use it. Your supervisors are bound to question your sources, and if it is someone who doesn't offer anything intellectual then it will more than likely not be accepted. I'd definitely stick to more scholarly sources.
As someone who has worked with groups of people who are socially excluded for reasons including mental health issues and learning disabilities, I believe it's very important to challenge incidences like the inappropriate use of 'retarded'. The language we use about vulnerable groups does affect their perception and treatment in society, and I am glad Jane92 reflected on this after posting.
I think if you do a search to see whether these authors have been cited by others, and try to work out whether they have been the cause of any debate in your field, then you will know more about how to progress. In my field, the literature review has an emphasis on REVIEW, not literature, if that makes sense. That means that if the source is SIGNIFICANT, it gets included, if not, it is minor and doesn't make it... My literature review needs to be analytical, selective and synthesised at the end, while of course also not being biased or superficial. I think that if other scholars have engaged with these authors, then either you should too, or you should have a good reason which you make explicit of why not to. I'm also of the mind that you could do a 50 word summary for your own records of these less than ideal sources with a reason for rejection at the bottom. This will help you later if you change your mind, gives you an overview over the material you have encountered, it might give you a basis for snowballing some references, and when you get to the period before your viva, you can review these too, and be ready for any questions challenging why these authors were largely excluded from your review.
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