Managing People Literature Review
The critical literature review represents 40% of your coursework mark and is a formal academic piece of writing (MAX. 2000 words excluding references). This is an individual piece of work, details about what a review of the literature is are presented below but also covered in full during the module.
The potential topic areas are covered in the first six weeks of the module and topic areas are covered in the handbook.
Submission of your literature review is electronic via blackboard and MUST be completed by 2pm, on the 9th December. Please do not leave this until the last minute and ensure that if you submit multiple versions the final submission is COMPLETE and FINAL. This is the only version that will be marked. Ensure you submit in Doc or Docx format or we will not be able to view this.
What am I expected to do when writing a literature review?
A “review of the literature” is a classification and evaluation of what accredited scholars and researchers have written on a topic, in this case the topic you have chosen for your research projects. In writing the literature review, your purpose is to convey to your reader what knowledge and ideas have been established on a topic, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. As a piece of writing, the literature review must be defined by a guiding concept (e.g., your research objective, the problem or issue you are exploring, or your thesis). It is not just a descriptive list of the material available, or a set of summaries.
A literature review consists of an overview, a summary, and an evaluation (“critique”) of the current state of knowledge about a specific area of research. It may also include a discussion of methodological issues and suggestions for future research.
Besides enlarging your knowledge about the topic, writing a literature review lets you gain and demonstrate skills in two areas:
- information seeking: the ability to scan the literature efficiently, using manual and computerized methods, to identify a set of useful articles, books and documents;
- critical appraisal: the ability to apply principles of analysis to identify unbiased and valid studies.
A literature review must do these things:
- be organized around and related directly to the thesis or research question you are developing;
- synthesize results into a summary of what is and is not known;
- identify areas of controversy in the literature;
- formulate questions that need further research.
Why are Literature Reviews Important?
To become an expert in any field of endeavour, you must know your field comprehensively. Critical reviews of state-of-the-art literature permit the professional to make informed decisions, to act in an expert manner, and to set policy in his or her field of expertise.
Researchers conduct reviews of the literature to uncover patterns of findings in the field, to enter into scientific debate, and to discover gaps in knowledge that lead to future research questions. Research reviews are often the first step toward making discoveries and social interventions in our society.
What criteria will be used to assess individual coursework?
The purpose of the Literature review assessment in this module is to measure your ability to research a subject area in-depth, collecting a wide variety of source material, collate this information and present a logical, well-structured piece of work which directly addresses the question set. Therefore, the assessment criterion for the literature review is as follows:
- Content – including depth of analysis, clarity of discussion, use of supporting evidence (including empirical data, authoritative source material, examples…), evidence of wider reading and effective referencing of source material using the Harvard style.
- Structure – including effective introduction (outlining the specific question and issues to be addressed) and conclusion (drawing together all the evidence presented to present a summary conclusion addressing the question), clear logical flow of ideas and balance of argument or discussion
- Focus – including directness if answer to question, absence of tangential points and arguments, clear points of emphasis and appropriate proportioning of sub-themes
- Expression – including clustering of sentences in to meaningful paragraphs, use of appropriate language (absence of ‘slang’ and informal expression)
- Presentation – including clarity of format, clear and effective referencing using the Harvard style, use of diagrams where appropriate, absence of grammatical and spelling errors, consistency of presentation (for example, font size etc…)
What is critical evaluation?
The ability to critically evaluate is one of the key skills that you need to develop throughout your time at UWE. Such skills are developed through questioning, debating and discussing what you have read (and heard in lectures!), assessing research from different viewpoints, relating different viewpoints and highlighting similarities and differences, going beyond description to a scholarly and informed response to what has been written and importantly, treating the work of others with respect (critically evaluating as opposed to criticizing). You will build on the skills developed in EiCBE.
It is essential that you fully reference all ideas, theories, quotes and statistics you have cited in your submitted assignment. Failure to do so will result in a deduction of marks, possible failure and/or accusations of plagiarism (the act of presenting the ideas or discoveries of another as one’s own). The method students MUST use is the Harvard system, a guide to which can be found via the UWE library home page, under ‘Referencing Guide’. Please ensure that you refer to this for guidance on referencing in the main text and references at the end of your essay.
There are several reasons for referencing. In the course of your studies you will be expected to acknowledge books, journal articles, etc, used in preparation for assignments, projects, essays, and dissertations, by producing a list of references/bibliography with each one. Basically, a reference is a description of the document from which you have obtained your information. When writing essays you are expected to read around your subject and referencing is a way of demonstrating that you have completed that reading. Each time you use someone else’s ideas or words it is essential that you acknowledge this in your work. You should provide references to substantiate your arguments and to enable your reader to follow up your source material. You should reference whenever you use any source of information for particular facts, theories, findings or ideas in an author’s work; a direct quotation; paraphrasing an author’s words.
Remember, references should be correct, complete and consistent, with the individual elements clearly differentiated (Source: UWE Library Guide to Referencing)