Questions frequently asked about the literature review:
What are the topics...or what can I write about?
Topics need to come from the course content. You may choose from the following: Any of the lecture topics
Any of the sub topics within any of the chapters of your text You may choose a topic from any of the weeks as it is better to choose a topic that you are interested in or find particularly relevant from any of the unit’s topics, rather than be restricted to the first few or last few weeks of content. You may wish to write on a broad topic such as one of the chapter or lecture topics, or you may refine this down to any aspect or particular issue within these topics. The only restriction is the topic must come from the unit content. How many references do you expect?
A literature review is a scholarly review of a body of work. That means you need to use a comprehensive range of 'peer reviewed' literature. When you undertake a data base search you can refine the results requesting scholarly articles only. If you are uncertain as to what this term means or where to find scholarly peer reviewed articles in your search, please talk with a librarian. Generally speaking one reference per 100-200 words would be appropriate so a 2000 word literature review would have between 10-20 references. In addition, your references should come from journal articles rather than text books. One text is usually sufficient, and few if any internet sources. What referencing style do you expect?
I do not mind whether you use APA or Harvard as long as you are consistent. The following link provides an explanation and examples of these styles: http://www.citewrite.qut.edu.au/What is a literature review? A literature review is a critical analysis of published sources, or literature, on a particular topic. It is an assessment of the literature and provides a summary, classification, comparison and evaluation. The literature review is generally in the format of a standard essay made up of three components: an introduction, a body and a conclusion. What is the purpose of a literature review?In writing the literature review, the purpose is to convey to the reader what knowledge and ideas have previously been established on a topic and their strengths and weaknesses, even their particular issues in application. Many people suggest that a literature review is not done in the ‘real world’. YES it is! Just in a slightly different form. Any substantial or effective report on any topic requires the writer to put in some information (usually in a section near the beginning) about what other people have found, are doing, through a review of the offerings in the literature. Does a literature review follow any particular structure?
The following structure addresses the key requirements of a literature review: Introduction (identifying your topic and the general structure of your review). Should not exceed 10% of word count. Identify key authors (seminal work in the area)
Present an overview of your topic
Identify main issues, findings and common themes or trends. Identify research/authors that support a particular position Identify that research which offers different alternatives
Present the current debates on these issues.
What are the findings of current research?
Did they support existing theory?
Did they challenge existing theory?
Did they contribute to a new paradigm?
What are the strengths/limitations of the research?
Make recommendations for future research OR acknowledge the implications for contemporary human resource practice Brief conclusion
Tips on structure
A common error in literature reviews is for writers to present material from one author, followed by information from another, then another.... The way in which you group authors and link ideas will help avoid this problem. To group authors who draw similar conclusions, you can use linking words such as: also
When authors disagree, linking words that indicate contrast will show how you have analysed their work. Words such as: however
on the other hand
indicate to your reader how you have analysed the material. At other times you may want to qualify an author's work (using such words as specifically, usually or generally) or use an example (thus, namely, to illustrate). In this way you ensure that you are synthesising the material, not just describing the work already carried out in your field. Tips on writing
In a literature review you must paraphrase literature and reference the source. You should not use more than two direct quotes. You must not copy literature word for word- this is plagiarism. What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism is the act of misrepresenting someone else’s work as your own. It basically means that you: copy word for word without using quotation marks and citing the source summarise/paraphrase without referencing
use/develop someone else’s idea without referencing it use experimental results, research data, statistics and so on without referencing the source paraphrase too closely to the original (even if the source is cited) I have never written a literature review before. What should I do? Don’t be intimidated by the concept of writing a literature review. This unit is a foundation unit. Writing a literature review is a key skill and activities are designed to develop your abilities in information retrieval; critical analysis; and evaluation; in units throughout the program. You may make an appointment for individual consultation with the language and learning advisor in the School. Language and Learning support in QUT Business School for all students: Post Graduate Student Learning advisersThe QUT Business School provides additional language and learning support for students whose first language is not English. This helps you to develop the language and academic skills you need to succeed in your studies at QUT. The Language and Learning Advisor (LLA) in the school of Management is Julie Massie (Z941). Please see the administration staff at the counter on the 9th floor of Z Block to arrange an appointment to meet the learning advisor. The Blackboard site provides resources and further information. You can also find links and resources to help you develop your academic English at the QUT Business School Language and Learning Support Blackboard site which is now available to all students and staff through the community Blackboard. Other useful resources
What sort of language is used in a literature review?
The following is an excerpt from a (500) word literature review and provides an example of the language used: Expectancy theory is one of many systematic explanations dealing with employee motivation. Developed by Victor Vroom in 1964 and later expanded upon by Porter and Lawler in 1968, expectancy theory is based on the premise that the amount of effort expended by employees on a task is dependent on the nature, amount or attractiveness of the reward s/he expects to receive in return (Dubrin, Dalglish & Miller, 2006). Expectancy theory stipulates that an individual’s propensity to act in a certain way is determined by three key factors (Bartol, Tein, Matthews, & Sharma, 2008). These are perceptions of expectancy, instrumentality and valence, each representing a distinct relationship (Vroom, 1964). Motivational Force (MF) can be calculated through the use of the formula MF=E x I x V. Since the three factors are multiplied, a change in any one will have a significant effect on an individual’s motivational state (Isaac, Zerbe & Pitt, 2001). Put simply, the interactional chain can only be as strong as its weakest link. As a process theory of motivation, expectancy theory describes a decision making process based on subjective perceptions of external interactions (Fudge & Schlacter, 1999). Thus, extrinsic motivators are used to explain why workers engage in certain behaviours (Shamir, 1990). It is therefore assumed that individuals make conscious decisions to maximise self interests. Expectancy refers to the perceived relationship between the effort contributed to a task and the level of performance achieved as a result (Vroom, 1964). However, it can be weakened by the effect of external factors (such as favouritism or bias) on performance levels (Robbins, Judge, Millet, & Waters-Marsh, 2008). Similarly, instrumentality depicts the relationship between a specified level of performance and a reward or outcome (Friedman, Cox & Maher, 2008). A perceived lack of correlation between these factors will result in low motivation (Robins et al., 2008). Valence is the personal value or attractiveness of a reward, established through reference to an individual’s goals (Lawler & Suttle, 1973). Logically, if a reward is not valued by a person, they are less motivated to strive for it. Although the majority of empirical evidence supports expectancy theory (Chiang & Jang, 2007), it is still subject to some criticism. The most fundamental point of contention is that the theory is “…too calculative and slow to reflect how humans process information and make decisions” (Diefendorff & Gosserand, 2003, p. 952). Researchers such as Lawler (as cited in Latham, 2007) attempted to refine the theory by accounting for this criticism. Despite this, it was recently suggested that connectionist models of human information processing allow for the assessments and decisions required by the theory to be made quickly, and with little conscious effort (Lord, Hanges & Godfrey, 2003). Empirical evidence does not convincingly validate expectancy theory. Van Eerde and Thierry (1996) concluded that this is largely due to researchers misinterpreting the theory in three key ways. They outlined a tendency to measure expectancy through verbal reports, potentially resulting in bias or measurement error. It was also stated that many studies analysed the interactions of motivational forces between subjects, as opposed to within subjects. Finally, it was shown that researchers often fail to explicitly determine the direction of the cause-effect relationship between motivation and expectancy. On the same point, earlier studies sometimes combined expectancy and instrumentality into a single effort-reward relationship, presenting a less developed version of expectancy theory (Heneman & Schwab, 1972).