Writing the Literature Review

  • Start with a general outline of the topic to support non-specialist readers
  • Narrow the discussion into specific points
  • Use subheadings to help organise and structure your findings
  • Use a logical approach (step-by-step)
  • Use predictable patterns
    • State (what someone has said)
    • Explain\ describe (in your own words)
    • Compared and contrast (with someone elses research)
    • Justify\ evaluate (to your project)
      • Link to your stated problem\ solution
  • Remember: one reference, one sentence.
  • Reduce bias and assess the quality of the articles
  • You might write something like…. Click here for a simplistic example

Key Information

  • Use older papers to give historical context

Smith (1932), Thomson & Hillary (1978), Clarke et al (1984) and Williamson (2012) all support….

  • Don’t state, compare and contrast research

Smith (2012) found ????
which contradictions previous findings (Jones (1985), Toko (2005))

  • Try to comment on the research approach

However, Smith (2012) surveyed current product users which could have resulted in a more favourable response.

Highlight how the research relates to your research questions

-) Smith (1986) …..findings…. suggesting that this is a critical factor when considering the experimental design of this study.

-) Smith (1986) …..findings…. suggesting that this is a critical factor when considering the user interface design of the artefact.

References – I need more help

  • Use topic/ subject keywords
    • Web Security:
      • Hacking, attack, attack vectors, injection, SQL, cross-site scripting, etc..
  • Use connecting words
    • because
    • due to
    • on the other hand
    • which supports
    • moreover
    • it is likely that
  • Signposting words
    • however
    • but
    • contrast
    • alternatively
    • indicating
    • suggesting
    • concluding

Dr Rugg does a great job at explaining the report structure here

Manchester University provides excellent sentence starters

Smart Words – List of Transitional Words


Using Other Peoples Research

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