A successful literature review engages students, researchers and writers in a dialogue with the literature, theories, writing and arguments in their field and helps to set the pattern of critical thinking and good writing. It is the vehicle for identifying the theories, and the use of these theories in practice in the published work of critics and other researchers, and the themes and the arguments in the field. In the literature review, the student situates him-or herself in the field and in the dialogue, engaging the previous and current work of others in a manner which shows understanding of the arguments and contributions made in these works. The student also shows how his or her work will extend and depend on or add a particular slant, edge or extra perception to that ongoing dialogue. Literature reviews can be extremely solid and plodding; however, an exhaustive coverage of all the literature without noting, analysing or drawing into a dialogue merely shows busyness and hard work, rather than a grasp of the major arguments and issues towards which the student’s work is contributing. In the literature review, students show their engagement with the literature through their reading, and they begin to make use of others’ arguments, and the work of key theorists whose theories and interpretations will guide the focus and analysis of their own research and arguments.
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- Enabling students to carry out a successful literature review/theoretical perspectives chapter
- Macmillan Education UK
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