Increased ease of access to a wider range of published material has also increased the need for careful and clear critique of sources.
Your interpretation may be self-evident to you, but it may not be to everyone else.
You need to critique your own interpretation of material, and to present your rationale, so that your reader can follow your thinking.
It is important that your literature review is more than just a list of references with a short description of each one. Merriam (1988:6) describes the literature review as: Merriam’s statement was made in 1988, since which time there has been further extension of the concept of being ‘published’ within the academic context.
The term now encompasses a wide range of web-based sources, in addition to the more traditional books and print journals.
You can find the contact details for the Information Librarian for your own area via the Library web pages.
This person can help you identify relevant sources, and create effective electronic searches: anything on your research area is a good start. You may also want to make a clear decision about whether to start with a very narrow focus and work outwards, or to start wide before focussing in. It is a good idea to decide your strategy on this, rather than drifting into one or the other.Guidance will be available via your own department or school and via the relevant Information Librarian.There may also be key sources of publications for your subject that are accessible electronically, such as collections of policy documents, standards, archive material, videos, and audio-recordings.There are three stages at which a review of the literature is needed: This applies especially to people doing Ph Ds on a part-time basis, where their research might extend over six or more years.You need to be able to demonstrate that you are aware of current issues and research, and to show how your research is relevant within a changing context.The ability to review, and to report on relevant literature is a key academic skill.A literature review: To some extent, particularly with postgraduate research, the literature review can become a project in itself.It can also establish a framework within which to present and analyse the findings.After reading your literature review, it should be clear to the reader that you have up-to-date awareness of the relevant work of others, and that the research question you are asking is relevant. Be wary of saying that your research will solve a problem, or that it will change practice.If you can find a few really useful sources, it can be a good idea to check through their reference lists to see the range of sources that they referred to.This can be particularly useful if you find a review article that evaluates other literature in the field.