Links of the week – a review of lit reviews
The other day I was talking with a friend on Facebook who is just starting her MA. One of the first tasks assigned to her was to create a literature review examining research and articles written on cultural property and the Parthenon/Elgin marbles. Having never done a literature review in her undergrad, she wondered if I had any tips. I did what I do when faced with any question, I turned to twitter.
Here are some of my favourite links with tips for writing an outstanding lit review.
1. Writing a Literature Review: Six Steps to Get You from Start to Finish – I’ve only recently started reading the Get a Life PhD blog, but so far I really enjoy it. This post does a good job of breaking down an intimidating task (a lit review) in smaller, manageable pieces.
2. 5 Ways to Tame the Literature Dragon – As always The Thesis Whisperer comes to the academic rescue with excellent advice. She recommends Richard Saul Wurzman’s LATCH (Location Alphabet Time Category Hierarchy) as a way to structure your work.
3. A Literature Review Masterclass – If you’re lit review has killed your desire to read anything ever again, here’s a podcast with helpful advice. This podcast is a collaboration between The Thesis Whisperer and Literature Review HQ. No need to trouble your well-read eyes, just sit back and let the dulcet Australian tones soothe you.
4. 7 Ways to Survive a Lit Review - Grad Hacker is a fantastic site to turn for grad advice. This post makes the excellent point that a lit review should be about “[building] and argument, not a library.” There are so many sources out there that its easy to waste time attempting to create an exhaustive lit review. Find a narrative for your lit review, it will help you to narrow your focus.
5. The Literature Review – A Few Tips for Conducting It – This article from the University of Toronto goes into fairly exhaustive detail on how to write a lit review. It may be drier than the other articles I’ve posted, but it has the most suggestions.
6. How to Start a PhD - This post from Profserious gets a special mention this week. While it doesn’t have much to do with lit reviews, it gives outstanding advice for those just starting their PhDs. It has tips like: find some of your advisor’s former students and ask them how to maximize your time with your advisor; ask your advisor about the best dissertation he/she has ever supervised, read it, and talk to him/her about it; ask mentors to name classical articles in your field, gather them, and look for patterns. Of all the PhD advice blogs I’ve read in the past weeks, this one really stands out. Well worth a read.
Look for a steady week here on ivrytwr. All going well I should finish my proposal for HASTAC2013 – look for a post about that. Also look for other posts including, how not to apply for a masters program and a post about my first experience with an online, Skype-based conference.
I hope you have a fantastic week. I’m enjoying the stunning autumn weather and I hope you are too. Thanks for reading