Literature Review QUT Research Students Centre by nikeborome



                   Tom Cooper
  Mathematics, Science and Technology Education
                   Kelvin Grove

• Giving my position – doing activities
• Needs your questions/suggestions/arguments
Like to acknowledge the traditional owners
   of the land on which we are meeting

 Like to welcome you all to this seminar
    and I hope I can be of use to you
                         My situation

• “Hillbilly” in 50s; Unemployed in 60s; Scholarship boy
• 30 years lecturing; This place still feels alien to me
• PhD in pure mathematics; Lecturer-researcher in education
• Started supervising in the 80s; Reason came to this place
• Love research; Love the struggle to know; Love the wonder
  of it; Love the courage it requires; The way it changes you
• Stupidly overloaded; Attempting to do 7 research projects;
  over 15 research students
• Little time to prepare for this; For anything
                           My beliefs

• Knowledge is an invention of the mind – it is not a discovery
• No way to logically compare – we are responsible for all
  choices – the only position I can give you is mine – to
  understand it means you have to know me
• Knowledge is therefore consensus (Feyeraben) – a social
  and political act – that often benefits some against the many
• Research degrees are the hurdle you leap to be accepted;
  Criteria are set by community; For writing it is the ability to
  follow a line of argument
• Real insight could lead to failure – unless consensus is
  ready for a revolution (Kuhn)
                         My beliefs

• Sceptical that even the best research will uncover truth;
  Hopeful it will bring understanding
• Believe that the best research will change the researcher;
  Not afraid to see this as part of the research process and
  part of the research outcomes
• See thinking and growing as a cycle (dialetic; hermeneutic)
  of thesis – antithesis – synthesis (Hegel)
• In the research act:
                           literature  - thesis
                           findings    - antithesis
                           conclusions - synthesis
                Activity 1 - Your situation

• What do you believe?
      - Is knowledge invented?
        Is knowledge discovered?
      - Can I write something that is understandable and
              independent of me?
        Is this impossible? Do I have to share who I am?

• Why are you doing research?
      - A job?
        Something more? What is it?
 Why do you want to write it all down?
    The classical dissertation structure

INTRODUCTION What I want to do

LITERATURE What others say about it

DESIGN My plan for doing it

RESULTS What happened when I did it

DISCUSSION What this means

CONCLUSIONS What I found out
         The role of literature in the dissertation

• Cresswell (2005) says literature
              - describes the past and current state
              - organises
              - documents need
       What else can it do? What else should it do?

• Looking at the literature in the classical thesis
              - to what should the it be related?
              - what should determine what is in it?
              - what can it help us with?
         The role of literature in the dissertation

• The literature follows on from and is determined by the

• Literature   can also
       - provide framework for instruments and analysis
       - be the basis of the discussion
       - provide initial theoretical framework

• The literature can follow design – can be a part of design

• The discussion and results can be integrated
         Activity 2 - Place these in the classical
                   dissertation structure

    Limitations                            Objectives
                       Hypotheses or
Implications for         questions
  the study
                          Inferences            Implications for
     Comparison with        Significance
                                                  Theory building
  Background                                       Methodology
  Summary of                               Descriptions of what
    review               Procedure             happened
                    Literature to Design

• Logical, consistent growth of ideas across the dissertation
             Introduction         Purposes
             Literature           Framework
             Design               Methodology
             Results              Analysis
             Discussion           Reflection
             Conclusions          Findings
                     Literature to Design

• Literature    Thesis
 Results        Antithesis
 Discussion     Synthesis

• Literature/Thesis provides framework for the dissertation

• This has effect on design
               - methodology
               - instruments
               - analysis
                    Design to Literature

The literature can be considered part of design:

      INTRODUCTION What I want to do

      DESIGN My plan for doing it

      LITERATURE Initial theory from literature

      RESULTS Findings in relation to literature

      DISCUSSION Constructing a new theory

      CONCLUSIONS What I found out
                     Design to Literature

• Design drives the literature explicitly
              - purposes specify the initial theory
              - design requires literature to develop this theory

              - literature has to cover everything in this theory

                    Components of literature

                  Components of initial theory
                    Literature on Design

• Design is indicated in literature

• Literature provides all that design needs

• Literature and design are compatible
              - neither contradicts the other
              - both cover each other
            Activity 3 – Repairing discontinuities

• Task 1:      Literature states there are three aspects to the
               research. Instruments in design only cover two.
               Data already gathered and analysed.

• Task 2:      Literature explores present situation. Design
               has an intervention component. Results simply
               describe an intervention.

• Task 3:      Literature has many references to research
               exploring the situation but few confirming any of
               the exploration findings . Design is an

• Task 4:      Last minute search finds a paper which has
               same findings as dissertation.
                        Writing the review

• Five steps of Cresswell’s (2005):
      - identify key areas/terms
      - locate literature
      - critically evaluate and select
      - organise literature
      - write literature review

• Structure of review
      - thematic, study by study
      - line of argument generic to specific
              Identifying key areas or terms

• Construct literature review generic to specific

 Generic        Components          Specific        Implications
                 Identifying key areas or terms

• Example: How to improve children understanding of fraction
   as part of a whole (action research)

 Literature on
 nature of
                 Literature on                            Summary:
 mathematics                                              Initial theory;
                 whole-part           Literature of
                 fraction concept     studies of part-    Significance;
                                      whole fraction      Questions-
                  Literature on       teaching-learning   Hypotheses;
                  student teaching-                       Implications for
Literature on                                             instruments
student teaching- learning of
        Activity 4 - Identifying key areas or terms

• Example: Evaluating the effectiveness of a non-Indigenous
      female principal in an Indigenous community school

   ??                                 ??


• Repeat the above for an example from your group
                   Locating the literature

• Search engines
      – find key words
• Use good articles
      - use their key words
      - search for other articles by author
      - follow up good references
• Use the library’s training programs
• Ask people
      – write to eminent researchers
      - attend eminent researchers’ conference presentations
            Critically evaluating and selecting

• Levels/Sources
      - First: Refereed material describing studies
      - Second: Material referring to studies
      - Third: Material providing “known wisdom”

• Classification (Cresswell, 2005)
      -   Web, drafts, newsletters
      -   Indexed (conference papers, dissertations)
      -   Refereed (journals)
      -   Research books
      -   Summaries (Encyclopedias, Handbooks)
Quality                                            Recency
            Critically evaluating and selecting

• Coverage of objectives/purposes
      - covering all important areas
      - providing framework for Design

• Depth in terms of central ideas
      - covering all perspectives
      - not missing important authors

Pertinence in terms of results
      - covering everything useful in discussion
      - providing background/context for those useful in
             Critically evaluating and selecting

• Correctness
• Accuracy
• Quality
• In terms of research design of paper:
      -   objectives
      -   methods
      -   subjects
      -   instruments
      -   procedure
      -   analysis
                 Organising the literature

• Read and immerse
• Take notes and write abstracts
• Construct a line of argument with the literature
       - construct the line first
       - bring in the references second
       - make it obvious what is from literature and what is a
              consequence of this literature
• Develop a macro-structure
       - list of headings, sub-headings and points
       - a diagram/map laying out the flow of the review
       - based on the method for identifying key areas
                       Strong reviews

• Are well selected (see previous section)
• Relate well to the other components of the dissertation
      (see first section)
• Go past paraphrasing to
       - critiquing (making judgements about quality and
         applicability of the literature)
       - integrating into a line of argument
• Involve the researcher indirectly
       - few comments giving point of view of researcher
                 Researcher involvement

• Researchers involvement in the literature review is through:
      - selection of literature (be careful – can not leave out
        crucial authors)
      - sequencing of literature
      - using one reference to critique another
• Researcher can draw attention to weaknesses in terms of
  research (method, subjects, instruments, procedure,
      - Example “Johnson (2001) had a contrary finding but
        there were only 12 subjects in the study”
• Researcher can make choices in Implications (e.g., re
  literature on which dissertation is primarily based)

• Quality and clarity of purpose
      - worthwhileness (the “so what” test of Huff & Geis,
• Consistency and coherence across components
      - build general to specific or deduce a generality from
        many specifics
      - connect sections by cross referencing
• Relationship between components
      - make sure all precedents are in place for all
      - make sure all parts in a section relate to the heading

• Discrimination between components
      - make sure new sections are really different from
        preceding ones
• Base review around pre and post-organisers
      - maintain a consistent approach to introductions and

• Flow of argument within and across paragraphs
      - connectives
      - placement of phrases, clauses and sentences
      - convoluted sentences
• Inconsistencies
      -   sequencing across paragraphs
      -   relationships between sections
      -   connections between two options
      -   switches in arguments
      -   logical development (indirect arguments, “straw man”

• Build a structure with headings, subheadings and points
  before fill in with final writing
  analyse writing in terms of points and argument flow as one
  step in redrafting
• One paragraph for each point
      - point
      - evidence
      - consequence
                    Mechanical errors

• General writing
      - spelling
      - use of apostrophe
      - hyphenation
      - punctuation
      - subject-verb agreement
      - tense
      - referencing
      - wrong and missing prepositions
      - inappropriate words
      - sexist and ethnically biased language
                      Mechanical errors

• Scholarly writing
      -   unsubstantiated claims
      -   restricted synthesis of literature
      -   circumlocution
      -   tautology
      -   value-laden words
      -   omission of articles
      -   incomplete sentences
      -   dangling or misplaced modifiers
      -   structural ambiguity
          Activity 5 - Analysing and redrafting
• Examples 1, 2 and 3 come from a first draft literature survey
  relating to a study to evaluate the effectiveness of a non-
  Indigenous female principal of an Indigenous community
      - Examples 1 and 2 are from a section titled
        Indigenous Education and simply provide literature for
        a sub-heading.
      - Example 3 is from a section titled School Leadership
        and compares two approaches.
• Look at all three examples in terms of macro and micro
  structure and mechanics?
      - what problems exist in terms of each area?
      - what modifications can be made?
      - what extra information would assist?
                 Examples and questions
• Your opportunity to:
      - ask questions
      - put forward your examples for perusal

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