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CRITICAL literature review PG training workshop Dr Junjie Wu.

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1 CRITICAL literature review PG training workshop Dr Junjie Wu

2 Learning objectives Role of literature review in your dissertation Role of literature review in your dissertation Definitions of literature & literature review Definitions of literature & literature review Critical thinking Critical thinking Critical thinker or non-critical thinker Critical thinker or non-critical thinker Critically select reading materials Critically select reading materials Critically read literature Critically read literature Critically write literature review Critically write literature review

3 Research process Choosing the research topic Identifying research problems/questions Formulating & clarifying research objectives Critically reviewing literature Research design Data collection Data analysis Writing project report (Dissertation)

4 Literature & Literature review Literature is the works you consult in order to formulate and gain further understanding into your research questions Literature is the works you consult in order to formulate and gain further understanding into your research questions Literature review is a critical summary and an assessment of the current knowledge including substantive findings as well as theoretical and methodological contributions to a particular topic Literature review is a critical summary and an assessment of the current knowledge including substantive findings as well as theoretical and methodological contributions to a particular topic Literature review is an integral part of the entire research process & makes a valuable contribution to almost every operational step of research Literature review is an integral part of the entire research process & makes a valuable contribution to almost every operational step of research

5 Importance of a critical literature review Literature review can give you an overview or act as a stepping stone Literature review can give you an overview or act as a stepping stone A literature review is for you to take a critical look at the literature (facts and views) that already exists in the area you are researching A literature review is for you to take a critical look at the literature (facts and views) that already exists in the area you are researching A literature review is not a shopping list of everything that exists, but a critical analysis that shows an evaluation of the existing literature and a relationship between the different works A literature review is not a shopping list of everything that exists, but a critical analysis that shows an evaluation of the existing literature and a relationship between the different works It demonstrates the relevance of the research It demonstrates the relevance of the research

6 Literature review as a key part of the research process Literature review Theoretical framework Hypothesis/ Propositions Design/ Methodology Findings implications Problems/ Questions

7 You need to become a Critical Thinker before you can do a critical literature review You need to have an ability for Critical Thinking before you become a Critical Thinker

8 Critical thinking & Critical thinker

9 Definition of critical thinking “..purposeful, self-regulatory judgment which results in interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference, as well as explanation of evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological, or contextual considerations upon which that judgment is based…” “..purposeful, self-regulatory judgment which results in interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference, as well as explanation of evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological, or contextual considerations upon which that judgment is based…” (APA Delphi Study 1990)

10 Skills of critical thinking (1) Critical thinking includes a complex combination of skills, such as: Rationality Rely on reason rather than emotion Rely on reason rather than emotion Always ask questions Always ask questions Require evidences Require evidences Are concerned more with finding the best explanation Are concerned more with finding the best explanationSelf-awareness Weigh the influences of motives and bias, and Weigh the influences of motives and bias, and Recognise our own assumptions, prejudices, biases, or point of view Recognise our own assumptions, prejudices, biases, or point of view

11 Skills of critical thinking (2) Open-mindedness Evaluate all reasonable inferences Evaluate all reasonable inferences Consider a variety of possible viewpoints or perspectives Consider a variety of possible viewpoints or perspectives Remain open to alternative interpretations Remain open to alternative interpretations Accept a new explanation, model, or paradigm because it explains the evidence better, is simpler, or has fewer inconsistencies or covers more data Accept a new explanation, model, or paradigm because it explains the evidence better, is simpler, or has fewer inconsistencies or covers more data Accept new priorities in response to a re-evaluation of the new evidence or reassessment of our real interests, and Accept new priorities in response to a re-evaluation of the new evidence or reassessment of our real interests, and Do not easily reject unpopular views Do not easily reject unpopular views

12 Skills of critical thinking (3) Discipline Are precise, comprehensive, and exhaustive Are precise, comprehensive, and exhaustive Resist manipulation and irrational appeals, and Resist manipulation and irrational appeals, and Avoid snap judgments Avoid snap judgmentsJudgment Recognise the relevance and/or merit of alternative assumptions and perspectives Recognise the relevance and/or merit of alternative assumptions and perspectives Recognise the extent and weight of evidence Recognise the extent and weight of evidence

13 In summary, critical thinkers By nature they are sceptical until they are convinced By nature they are sceptical until they are convinced They are active, not passive. They ask questions and analyse. They consciously apply tactics and strategies to uncover meaning or assure their understanding They are active, not passive. They ask questions and analyse. They consciously apply tactics and strategies to uncover meaning or assure their understanding They are open to new ideas and perspectives. They are willing to challenge their beliefs and investigate competing evidence They are open to new ideas and perspectives. They are willing to challenge their beliefs and investigate competing evidence

14 By contrast, non-critical thinkers Are passive, taking a simplistic view of the world Are passive, taking a simplistic view of the world See things in black and white, as Either-Or, rather than recognising a variety of possible understanding See things in black and white, as Either-Or, rather than recognising a variety of possible understanding See questions as Yes or No with no subtleties See questions as Yes or No with no subtleties Fail to see linkages and complexities Fail to see linkages and complexities Fail to recognise related elements Fail to recognise related elements

15 Critical selection of reading materials

16 Use keywords of your topic to search broadly for a number of articles from good database (Long-list) Use keywords of your topic to search broadly for a number of articles from good database (Long-list) Read abstracts first to prioritise the items you have decided to read from the list (Short-list) Read abstracts first to prioritise the items you have decided to read from the list (Short-list) When you begin to read, note texts that are often cited by others (whether positively or negatively, both are useful) When you begin to read, note texts that are often cited by others (whether positively or negatively, both are useful) Make a list of the 3 or 4 journals which most often carry frequently cited papers, and then check the work back of those journals for other useful papers Make a list of the 3 or 4 journals which most often carry frequently cited papers, and then check the work back of those journals for other useful papers Look through the leading academic publishers to see what has come out recently (updated literature) Look through the leading academic publishers to see what has come out recently (updated literature) When information becomes redundant, stop unless a major gap remains When information becomes redundant, stop unless a major gap remains

17 Critically read literature

18 Strategy of reading an article Step 1: Read the abstract Step 1: Read the abstract  Decide whether to read the article in detail Step 2: Read introduction Step 2: Read introduction  It explains why the study is important  It provides brief review and evaluation of relevant literature Step 3: Read Method with a close, critical eye Step 3: Read Method with a close, critical eye  Focus on participants, measures, procedures Step 4: Evaluate results Step 4: Evaluate results  Do the conclusions seem logical?  Can you detect any bias on the part of the researcher? Step 5: Take discussion with a grain of salt Step 5: Take discussion with a grain of salt  Edges are smoothed out  Pay attention to limitations

19 What do you need to read An overview of the key issues in the field & why they are important An overview of the key issues in the field & why they are important An overview of the work that have been carried out and what have been discovered, and a summary of where the field of enquiry currently stands An overview of the work that have been carried out and what have been discovered, and a summary of where the field of enquiry currently stands Answers to one or more specific questions that you have been required, or have chosen, to address Answers to one or more specific questions that you have been required, or have chosen, to address Some specific examples of the sort of methodology, results & analysis reported by individual researchers Some specific examples of the sort of methodology, results & analysis reported by individual researchers

20 Analysing the literature Take notes as you read through each paper and the notes may include: Take notes as you read through each paper and the notes may include:  purpose of the study reviewed  synopsis of content  research design or methods used in study  brief review of findings Once notes complete, organise common themes together. Once notes complete, organise common themes together. Some people construct a table of information to make it easier to organise their thoughts Some people construct a table of information to make it easier to organise their thoughts As you organise your review, integrate findings elicited from note taking or table making process As you organise your review, integrate findings elicited from note taking or table making process

21 Making a table for organising literature review articles Study titleMain theories Method & scope Research Variables ResultsStrengths & weakness In relation to my own study

22 Looking for complete arguments An argument consists of a conclusion (one or more claims that something is, or should be, the case) and a warrant (the justification for why the claim or claims should be accepted) A warrant is likely to consist of evidence from the author’s research or professional experience, or else it will draw on others’ evidence, as reported in the literature Argument = Conclusion/Claim + Warrant/Evidence

23 Common flaws for incomplete arguments Conclusion without a warrant Conclusion without a warrant Warrant without a conclusion Warrant without a conclusion Warrant leading to an illogical conclusion Warrant leading to an illogical conclusion Conclusion that is not explicitly linked to its warrant Conclusion that is not explicitly linked to its warrant

24 Questions you may ask when read (1) What do we already know in the immediate area concerned? What do we already know in the immediate area concerned? What are the characteristics of the key concepts or the main factors or variables? What are the characteristics of the key concepts or the main factors or variables? What are the relationships between these key concepts, factors or variables? What are the relationships between these key concepts, factors or variables? What are the existing theories? What are the existing theories? Where are the inconsistencies or other shortcomings in our knowledge and understanding? Where are the inconsistencies or other shortcomings in our knowledge and understanding? What views need to be (further) tested? What views need to be (further) tested? What evidence is lacking, inconclusive, contradictory or too limited? What evidence is lacking, inconclusive, contradictory or too limited? Why study (further) the research problem? Why study (further) the research problem? What contribution can the study be expected to make? What contribution can the study be expected to make? What research designs or methods seem unsatisfactory? What research designs or methods seem unsatisfactory?

25 Questions you may ask when read (2) How convincing is what the authors are saying? How convincing is what the authors are saying? How far is there backing for claims? How far is there backing for claims? How adequate is any conceptual or theoretical orientation to back claims? How adequate is any conceptual or theoretical orientation to back claims? How far does any value stance adopted affect claims? How far does any value stance adopted affect claims? How far are claims supported or challenged by others' work? How far are claims supported or challenged by others' work? How far are claims consistent with my experience? How far are claims consistent with my experience? In conclusion, what use can I make of this? In conclusion, what use can I make of this? What is my overall evaluation of this literature in the light of my review question? What is my overall evaluation of this literature in the light of my review question?

26 Critically write literature review

27 Structuring your literature review by mental mapping 3 ways to structure your Literature Review

28 Contents of literature review Literature review should comprise the following elements: An overview of the subject, issue or theory under consideration, along with the objectives of the literature review An overview of the subject, issue or theory under consideration, along with the objectives of the literature review Division of works under review into categories/subheadings (e.g. those in support of a particular position, those against, and those offering alternative theses entirely) Division of works under review into categories/subheadings (e.g. those in support of a particular position, those against, and those offering alternative theses entirely) Explanation of how each work is similar to and how it varies from the others Explanation of how each work is similar to and how it varies from the others Conclusions as to which pieces are best considered in their argument, are most convincing of their opinions, and make the greatest contribution to the understanding and development of their area of research Conclusions as to which pieces are best considered in their argument, are most convincing of their opinions, and make the greatest contribution to the understanding and development of their area of research

29 Practical guidance For example, you may write about: What do scholars in the research field say about X? What do scholars in the research field say about X? What are common opinions on X? What are common opinions on X? What do others imply or assume? What do others imply or assume? What are both sides of the arguments? What are both sides of the arguments?

30 Developing a strong argument Provide evidence Provide evidence Have a structured line of reasoning Have a structured line of reasoning Clear and coherent language Clear and coherent language Make links between points Make links between points Provide interim conclusions that lead to a well supported final conclusion Provide interim conclusions that lead to a well supported final conclusion

31 An effective literature review Places each work in the context of its contribution to the understanding of the subject under review Places each work in the context of its contribution to the understanding of the subject under review Describes the relationship of each work to the others under consideration Describes the relationship of each work to the others under consideration Identifies new ways to interpret, and shed light on any gaps in previous research Identifies new ways to interpret, and shed light on any gaps in previous research Resolves conflicts amongst seemingly contradictory previous studies Resolves conflicts amongst seemingly contradictory previous studies Identifies areas of prior scholarship to prevent duplication of effort Identifies areas of prior scholarship to prevent duplication of effort Points the way forward for further research Points the way forward for further research Places one's original work (in the case of theses or dissertations) in the context of existing literature Places one's original work (in the case of theses or dissertations) in the context of existing literature

32 In a broader context, you may consider Distinguishing what has been done from what needs to be done Distinguishing what has been done from what needs to be done Discovering important variables relevant to the topic Discovering important variables relevant to the topic Synthesising and gaining a new perspective Synthesising and gaining a new perspective Identifying relationships between ideas and practice Identifying relationships between ideas and practice Establishing the context of the topic or problem Establishing the context of the topic or problem Rationalising the significance of the problem Rationalising the significance of the problem Enhancing and acquiring the subject vocabulary Enhancing and acquiring the subject vocabulary Relating ideas and theory to applications Relating ideas and theory to applications Identifying methodologies and techniques that have been used Identifying methodologies and techniques that have been used Placing the research in a historical context to show familiarity with state-of-the-art developments Placing the research in a historical context to show familiarity with state-of-the-art developments

33 Developing critical skills Simply describing the literature is of NO value at all Simply describing the literature is of NO value at all Your review simply describe/repeat what we already know Your review must not simply describe/repeat what we already know It must critically analyse in relation to your research area It must critically analyse in relation to your research area Bloom’s Taxonomy can help Bloom’s Taxonomy can help

34 Knowledge: starting point, includes both the acquisition of information and the ability to recall information when needed (define, label, list, memorize, order, relate …) Understanding: basic level of understanding, the ability to know what is being communicated in order to make use of the information (classify, describe, discuss, explain, identify, report, review) Application: the ability to use a learned skill in a new situation (apply, demonstrate, employ, illustrate, interpret, sketch, solve, use, write) Analysis: the ability to break content into components in order to identify parts, see relationships among them, and recognize organizational principles (analyse, appraise, calculate, categorize, compare, contrast, criticize, differentiate, distinguish, examine, question, test) Synthesis: the ability to combine existing elements in order to create something original (arrange, collect, compose, construct, design, develop, organize, plan, propose) Evaluation: the ability to make a judgement about the value of something by using a standard (appraise, argue, assess, attach, compare, defend, estimate, judge, predict, rate, select, support, evaluate) Bloom’s Taxonomy (1956)

35 Making judgement on students work “Bamford, Robert (2003) said the upstanding inner support within the company could increase the efficiency of small and media sized enterprise. A.V.Feigenbaum (1961) said the quality costs are the vital factors affect the effectiveness of QMS. And he argued the higher quality requires higher costs” “Bamford, Robert (2003) said the upstanding inner support within the company could increase the efficiency of small and media sized enterprise. A.V.Feigenbaum (1961) said the quality costs are the vital factors affect the effectiveness of QMS. And he argued the higher quality requires higher costs” “The function of SMEs could be vary but the mostly demonstrated features are following: SMEs play an irreplaceable roles in strengthening competitive vigor, accelerating economic growth, adjusting industrial structures, promoting technical innovations and extending employments (Hou Chun Ding, 2004)” “The function of SMEs could be vary but the mostly demonstrated features are following: SMEs play an irreplaceable roles in strengthening competitive vigor, accelerating economic growth, adjusting industrial structures, promoting technical innovations and extending employments (Hou Chun Ding, 2004)” “Fama (1968) carried out an investigation on risk, return and equilibrium based on Sharpe and Lintner’s proposed models. Fama’s paper did not show any conflicts between the Sharpe-Lintner models and properly interpreted they lead to the same measure of the risk of an individual asset and to the same relationship between an asset’s risk and its one-period expected return. When the general results were applied to the market model, both make errors which turn out to be unimportant from a practical viewpoint. What important is that Sharpe and Lintner’s general models represent equivalent approaches to the problem of capital asset pricing under uncertainty” “Fama (1968) carried out an investigation on risk, return and equilibrium based on Sharpe and Lintner’s proposed models. Fama’s paper did not show any conflicts between the Sharpe-Lintner models and properly interpreted they lead to the same measure of the risk of an individual asset and to the same relationship between an asset’s risk and its one-period expected return. When the general results were applied to the market model, both make errors which turn out to be unimportant from a practical viewpoint. What important is that Sharpe and Lintner’s general models represent equivalent approaches to the problem of capital asset pricing under uncertainty”

36 Critical and analytical writing There are difference ways of presenting an idea – description, explanation, critical analysis There are difference ways of presenting an idea – description, explanation, critical analysis In academic writing it is not enough to simply describe an idea or theory In academic writing it is not enough to simply describe an idea or theory Description – an account of how something is done, or what something is like Description – an account of how something is done, or what something is like Explanation – same structure as an argument but they do not attempt to persuade the reader to a particular point of view Explanation – same structure as an argument but they do not attempt to persuade the reader to a particular point of view Critical analysis – a judgement of an idea giving reasons and evidence to support your decision, you must look at ideas in detail Critical analysis – a judgement of an idea giving reasons and evidence to support your decision, you must look at ideas in detail

37 Critical is the best!!!


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