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Literature Searching

and Reviewing
Empirical Research Literature

• literature that reports empirical research results.

• “What previous empirical evidence is there about this

question, and what does the empirical evidence tell about
us about the answer to this question?
Theoretical Literature

• includes relevant concepts, relevant theories and theoretical

concepts, and discursive and analytical literature that
contains ideas and information relevant to the topic.
• The theoretical literature review is thus much broader than
the review of empirical evidence, and now includes
‘information’ and ‘ideas’, and also acknowledges different
‘particular standpoint’.
In general terms;

• Reviewing theoretical literature means reviewing the

conceptual tools, ideas and ways of explicating a topic or
question, whereas;
• Reviewing empirical research literature means reviewing
the evidence about a topic or question.
3 Purposes of a Dissertation Literature Review

• Empirical Literature
• Theoretical Literature
• Relationship of your Study to the Literature
Empirical Literature
• describe the current knowledge, by bringing together and
summarizing the empirical evidence about this research
question, no matter how incomplete or inconsistent the
picture from the previous empirical evidence may be.
• “To what extent can empirical evidence about this research
question be accumulated and integrated into a coherent
overall picture?”
Theoretical Literature

• to assess critically the overall topic and theoretical and

conceptual tools that have been or can be used to explore
this topic.
Examples of particular concerns that can guide this part of
the review;

• What are the key theoretical and philosophical sources on

which scholars have drawn in discussing this topic?
• What are the major issues and debates about the topic?
• What are the political standpoints?
• What are the key concepts, theories and ideas?
• How is knowledge on the topic structured and organized?
Relationship of your Study to the Literature

• locate your study in relation to the literature.

• “ What is the relationship of my research to the literature

being reviewed?”
Carrying Out a Literature Review

• Five Main Stages

Summarasing and Documenting

• An understanding of the structure of the research world and

of the production of research literature helps in directing
your search for the empirical and theoretical literature
relevant to your topic ad research question.
Main Search Domains

• Main Library Catalogue

• Journals Catalogue
• Electronic Resources
• Research Journal Literature

• Substantive Screening
• Methodological Screening
Substantive/Content Screening

• it is important because your dissertation literature reviews

needs to concentrate on literature centrally relevant to your
topic and question.
Methodological Screening

• applies in empirical literature.

• its purpose is to assess critically the methodological
quality of the research that has produced the evidence and
the findings.

• Design
• Sample
• Data Collection
• Data Analysis and Interpretation
Summarising and Documenting

• essential part of managing the literature, and provides the

basis for the organizing, analyzing, and synthesizing which
Organising, Analysing and Synthesising

O helps to develop a structure.

A Breaking the literature into its constituent parts, and
describing how the parts relate to each other.

S involves making connections between the parts identified,

and showing new patterns and arrangements among them.
Thank you
God bless! 