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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Module 3 the Literature review - more advice and links

The literature review for Module 3 is writ tine in summary form in the Critical Review - but you can do this as a Part 7 activity in order to understand your question (s) and topic from your professional inquiry.  Often you go over it for the reader in themes - so telling us what came before in terms of knowledge about the subject you are writing about and why it is important that you did your professional inquiry to find out more...

Here is a good link form the Open University with some bullet points about what it is supposed to do Please see the online information below in red.

Your literature review
At some point in your research activities you will have to produce a comprehensive and critical summary of the current and past research in your subject area. This summary is often called a literature review but other names include: state-of-the-art-review, topic review and subject review.

In order to produce a good literature review you will need to be regularly identifying and reviewing relevant material (more on this later). Your literature review will only be as good as the material you find and it is essential to understand how information in your field is published and how to search for it. You may find that you have to carry out a literature search at several points in the research process.

At the beginning you may want to do a search to:

improve your knowledge of the subject area
get ideas about how to conduct research in your area
identify gaps in the current body of knowledge
identify trends and predict future developments
identify keywords/terms and phrases
identify key people and organisations.
In the middle of the research process you may wish to review the literature to:

review your own progress or re-evaluate your position
check for new research findings that may impact on your research
check for relevant literature in related fields
use keywords you hadn’t thought of before.
When writing up your research you may use the review to:

check for new research findings that may impact on your research
introduce your topic
place your research in context
support your findings or research methods
demonstrate understanding of your subject area.
Precisely what constitutes a literature review will vary with subject as well as purpose. You will need to check with your supervisor or review board. Refer to the helpsheet ‘What makes a good literature search?’ for some general pointers on literature searching. There are many guides available that explain how to conduct literature searches and literature reviews. A selection of titles are listed in the further reading for this section.


Carrying out literature searches takes time. Developing your information skills will help you to produce literature reviews more quickly and to a higher standard.

It is possible to ‘speed up’ the searching process by using a consistent, structured approach as well as by making use of alerting services and ‘saved searches’.

You can improve the standard of your review by including material from a broad range of information sources, including those with which you are less familiar.

Many are doing this as an activity in Part 7 - if you have written it up separately you could add it as an Appendix - but essentially the literature informs your thinking about your topic and helps you to analyse what your are doing.

You Represent your literature in the Harvard style in your Bibliography (the Bibliography and the Appendices are not in your word count).

More will go up after next week's campus session.


  1. Thank you for this Paula!
    I'm currently doing my literature review and any help and tips I'm finding online are really helpful, including this blog :)
    See you next week