Category Archives: literature review

your academic writing is “slow” – some thoughts on pace

Last week I happened across a facebook post which went a little like this. “My supervisor has just told me my literature chapter was slow and tortuous. What do I do?” This feedback is a pretty clear example of a … Continue reading

Posted in academic writing, literature review | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments

planning v creativity in academic writing

Now a lot of people know that I’m an advocate of planning your writing. I’m not a great fan of just writing and just writing and then editing and just writing again and editing some more. I know people do … Continue reading

Posted in academic writing, creativity, literature review, planning, planning a paper | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

a questions approach to the literature review

There are various ways to approach literature reviewing. The most common is to start by scoping the field. (See the post on Inger and my blogging paper for an example of what scoping looks like.) Once you’ve scoped, you then … Continue reading

Posted in literature review, literature themes, questions | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

the literature review – how old are the sources?

I recently had an email from a colleague asking me what I would do if I was examining a thesis and the vast majority of the literatures were over ten years old. Would this be a problem? What would I … Continue reading

Posted in contribution, literature review, location | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

working with literatures – love the uncertainty

I am frequently asked by doctoral researchers about reviewing literatures. As they talk, I often get a strong sense that their questions are accompanied by feelings of inadequacy.My guess is that they feel they ought to have more of a … Continue reading

Posted in doctoral research, literature mapping, literature review, literature themes, metaphor, uncertainty, wonder | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

how much should doctoral researchers read?

I often get asked this question and it’s one I hate. That’s because there is no answer that ever seems satisfactory. My answer is usually – well it depends. It depends on the topic and it depends on what you … Continue reading

Posted in doctoral research, literature review, reading, reading routine, reading target | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

not all literature ‘reviews’ are the same

I was trying to explain to a doctoral researcher the other day that the literature work that you do at the beginning of the doctorate is not the same as the literature work for the actual, final thesis that is … Continue reading

Posted in literature mapping, literature review, literature themes, systematic review, traditional review | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

getting tense about tense

In a recent comment to this blog someone asked me if I had any tips on managing tense. They found themselves, they said, wandering around in time as they wrote, meandering from present to past and back again, undertaking an … Continue reading

Posted in academic writing, grammar, literature review, methodology, methods chapter, tense, thesis | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

location – another metaphor for writing about your research

There are a lot of geographical metaphors used in research talk. We routinely speak about fields of study, mapping the literatures, surveying the literatures. Location is another one of those borrowed-from-geography metaphors and it’s one I‘m particularly fond of. Locating … Continue reading

Posted in abstracts, academic writing, journal, literature review, location, metaphor, Tiny Text | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

what not to do in a thesis conclusion, part one: christmas present five

The conclusion is one of the most important sections of the thesis, yet it is often done quite badly. This is not good because the conclusion is a key part of the text and thesis writers really need to spend … Continue reading

Posted in claims, conclusion, introduction, literature review, thesis | Tagged , , | 9 Comments