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Module 3. Literature Review

“ As the biggest library if it is in disorder is not as useful as a small but well-arranged one, so you may accumulate a vast amount of knowledge but it will be of far less value to you than a much smaller amount if you have not though it over for yourself.”

-Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860),German philosopher. Parerga and Paralipomena

Module Objectives:
1) Review the relevant literature related to your chosen research topic. All possible sources must be explored, including books, journals, websites, periodicals, etc.

2) The literature cited must be from reputable and appropriate sources and you must have a minimum of ten (10) references.

3) The literature must be condensed in an intelligent fashion with only the most relevant information included. Citations must be in the correct format (see attachment).

4) Where applicable, state the author’s main research objectives, main hypotheses, and overall research design.

5) The material should be organized thematically within the review write-up, not chronologically or by author. This should include the following elements, as derived form the existing literature on your specific topic of study: (1) a discussion of the conceptual/theoretical and historical contexts of your topic; (2) a discussion of the contending theoretical approaches, including your analysis (e.g., comparison) and evaluation of their applicability to your research question/problem; (3) a discussion of the various methods used by other researches, including your analysis and evaluation of their applicability to your research question/problem; and (4) a discussion on how your particular study could contribute to the stream of knowledge within specific fields.

6) Once again, all discussions must be substantive and substantial.

Thesis or dissertation is never done on isolation or in a vacuum. The production of new knowledge is fundamentally dependent on past knowledge. That is why a review of related literature is conducted by the proponent to refine the research problem. It is both a planning requirement as well as an established feature for a thesis or dissertation. The basic intention of a literature review is to give a comprehensive review of previous works on the general and specific topics considered in the thesis or dissertation proposal, which may be both substantive and methodological.

The relevant studies found by the researcher in the review of literature, need to be critiqued rather than reported. The critique serves to inform the readers the status of reliable knowledge in the academic discipline and to identify errors to avoid in future research. The critiquing of a research article or material for its application in evaluating the content of the material for its application in the research proposal. Rudestam and Newton (2001:60-61) show a critiquing guideline for a research article:

Conceptualization
What is the major problem or issue being investigated?
How clearly are the major concepts defined/ explained?

Theoretical framework and Hypotheses
Is there a clearly stated research question?

Are there hypotheses? Are they clearly stated?

Are the relationships among the main variables
explicit and reasonable?

Are the hypotheses stated in a way that makes them testable
and the results, no matter what, interpretable?

Research design
What is the type of research design?
Does the research design adequately control for extraneous variables?
Could be the design be improved? How?
Are the variables clearly and reasonably operationalized?
Is the choice of categories or cutting points defensible?

Are the reliability and validity of the measures discussed? Is the
choice of measures appropriate?

Is the population appropriate for the research question being studied? Is
the sample specified and appropriate? Can the results reasonably be
generalized on the...
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