Accessibility Version | Skip to content | Change text size

Table of contents

Previous page  | Next page

Positioning yourself in relation to previous research

How to decide what's in and what's out?

This is always a hard question - you need to work on developing your own principles for the bodies of literature - and the scholars - you end up including in the literature review and those you exclude.

Kamler and Thomson have a suggestion. They say to try thinking of the literature review as like a dinner party. You are the host, and you decide who comes and who sits where, depending on how much they can contribute to the conversation about your topic. Don't forget that you are the boss: if someone's talk becomes irrelevant, throw them out!

They also suggest that one good way to start is to do an exercise where you use a template or skeleton to get you on the right track with your literature review.

Here is a template to start from. Make whatever changes seem appropriate to suit your situation.

  1. This study builds on and contributes to work in …………………………………………………………………
  2. Although studies in………have examined………there has not been an……………………
  3. As such, this study provides additional insight into……………………
  4. The study analyses…………………………………
  5. Although numerous studies ( xxx) have identified………, little analytic attention has been paid to………………………………………………………
  6. I address this issue by demonstrating…………
  7. Kamler and Thomson, 2006, p. 57.

Try this early in your candidature. You may like to attempt the exercise together with research peers in your discipline.

download a word document Download a printable version of this page.
Problems? Questions? Comments? Please provide us feedback.

Need help? Library frequently asked questions and online inquiries: current students/staff | public users, online chat, or phone +61 3 9905 5054
Something to say? Send us your feedback and suggestions: current students/staff | public users

Monash University logo