Hello! I am in the process of putting together my thesis and was wondering about literature. I wrote my lit review 6 months ago and now have done most of my data chapters. But reading over my lit review most of the literature there is now in the data chapters...how do you deal with this? If I took out the parts of the lit review that are in the data chapters there wouldn't be much left. Is it ok to repeat this stuff? This was always my worst part, I really struggle to see the point of a separate lit review so hoping once I figure this out it all might make sense!
I wouldn't repeat it. Basically I introduced the broader topic in the introduction, and then anything relevant to each chapter I put in the intro for that chapter. This makes my intro about 20 pages and then 5 - 10 pages for each chapter intro.
Thanks ToL, that's what I was aiming for with earlier drafts of my Intro/lit review but my supervisor basically wrote 'expand this' in every paragraph until it ended up a lot longer than I had wanted (about 14000 words when my max word limit for my thesis is 50,000). I guess he was just wanting me to cover everything he wanted to see in the whole thesis and that I could move things around later but it's just ended up confusing me. Oh well! I'll just have to spend some time working out what is general and what is chapter specific.
I've had a similar problem myself and it can be quite hard to work out what to do. In the end I carefully read through my topic chapters and took out most of what I'd covered in the topic chapters from the literature review - the downside of this is that it made the literature review shorter. There was also some key information that I felt was important enough to be covered in both the literature review and the topic chapter. It also sometimes helps to maybe explain something briefly in the lit review and then something like 'for more information, see section X of chapter X'.
Thanks Anon, good to know it's not just me being silly and that other people have this problem. I also have a lot of overlap between data chapter intros (similar topics and they are meant to stand alone so very difficult not to repeat yourself!). Again my supervisor told me I had to explain everything in detail when I wrote each chapter, but then said I had major problems with repetition...I wonder why hah. So I think I'm going to have to sit down with them all and work out what goes where and try not to sound too repetitive. Oh and ToL I meant to ask if your pages were double spaced when you counted pages? My lit review is 23 pages single spaced...
I've always been told don't bring up new literatures you haven't mentioned in the literature review in later chapters. The way you talk about the literature should just have a different purpose which limits repetition. I.e lit review gives an overview and how you position yourself in that field before honing in on the gap/new Knowledge you can contribute. In your later chapters it's the relationship between those literatures and your specific study/findings. I wouldn't want to spend 5-10 pages of mini lit review in each chapter as it takes words away from your own contribution. You could probably state in a few paragraphs of a chapter intro which literatures from the review are relevant to that particular chapter rather than explaining them all again.
Hrm I've never been told not to put new literature in data chapters, the main references overlap but the more specific ones are only in the data chapters. Are you in sciences or humanities, I'm not sure if the structures differ there? Each of my data chapters is written as a paper so it needs to stand alone, and with my word count being quite tight at 50,000 words max my literature review can't really be more than 10,000 for me to fit in 4 data chapters (which are roughly 8-11,000 words) and a discussion chapter too. I've also been told 6 pages double spaced should be the minimum for an intro to a data chapter although my second supervisor told me this and my first supervisor disagrees hah, currently mine vary from 5-8 double spaced pages. I've heard you either need to choose a long into/lit review and short individual intros or vice versa, at the moment both of mine are quite long so just need to shuffle things about I think =)
Good question Dunham, I use the terms interchangeably as I'm not doing it as separate things. I think lit review is where you discuss and critique the relevant literature and the intro is just a general introduction to the topic. I'm combining so I have general intro leading into more specific literature in my introduction chapter. It depends what structure you as using whether you put a long or short intro into your data chapters I believe, although I'm clearly no expert hah.
No worries Wowzers, in my field writing data chapters as papers is seen as the standard format, I know of one person who had a separate methods chapter but that is unusual, mine aren't strictly papers as they will have a lot of 'for methods see 2:x:x' etc, but the intro/lit review, methods, results and discussion sections will be in each data chapter =)
I'm also using the two terms interchangeably. I wouldn't say I have much critique in my intro though - it's more of a general background that leads into my thesis, and then in each chapter is the specific detail required to understand the background and significance of the data collected.
I think if all your chapters are interrelated, then it's fine to have a long main intro and then short ones for each chapter. My chapters are very separate so the opposite works for me.
Hrm I think my thesis is somewhere in-between interrelated and separate hah, the first two chapters are similar methods but different time periods, the third is an experiment run in the same place and time periods as with the first two but different methods and very different data, the fourth is another experiment but very different methods/circumstances, but the theme of all of them is linked...I guess that means my intros needs to be somewhere in-between too. All the general stuff in the main intro and anything specific to each chapter in the smaller intros, but with enough general info to make each chapter make sense on it's own....ok lets do this =)
Ah okay. I was not familiar with the term "literature review". So far, I just saw two types of theses. The "traditional" one that basically was one long paper (introduction, material&methods, results, discussion) and the "article compilation format" where a introduction is followed by the published papers and manuscripts and a conclusion chapter in the end. These article compilation theses were in total rather short and often not more than 100 pages, while the traditional ones were sometimes up to 300 pages (of course comparable subjects). In Sweden, almost everyone did it in the article compilation format, as their PhD often takes 5 years or longer resulting in at least 2 publications and often several manuscripts that are not yet published (which is quite a lot for that field of biological science). I always considered the article compilation as less work, as you already have papers and manuscripts written and just copy/paste them into the thesis.
Thanks for the info !
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