Thursday, 23 August 2018

Lit rev: should be earlier or later

Excerpt from a Fb Post (DG Support group):

I have a rather odd question with regards to lit reviews.
In my research, I have done 2 reviews, i.e.
1) the general lit review that covers all aspects of my research. For example, entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity
2) I also did a systematic lit review to specifically answer one part of a my research question. For example, what is entrepreneurship? This is due to the many perspective and definitions of entrepreneurship and has arguably given more confusion to this specific body of knowledge.
My question is, due to the nature of lit review and systematic lit review (for its purpose in relevance to answering research question(s):
1) can I have 2 reviews in on one thesis?
- If so, any recommendations on how to position the two reviews? Obviously, the normal lit review can be in Chap 2. BUT the systematic lit review is a method chosen to answer one of the RQ thus not making it part of Chapter 2?
- if I have no options and I need to have only 1 review, i.e. in Chap 2, how do I then differentiate the two reviews when the Systematic Lit Review is answering a specific question in the RQ?
Thoughts / advice on the matter is greatly appreciated.
Thank you.

My response:
The problem with Malaysian theses is that they are to be looked and appeared structured or linear. But the fact is that, thesis writing and doing research are not linear processes. I faced the same problem too while I was doing my PhD- where to put the review that I recently found after my data collection? If I put it in the later chapter it may look awkward for I appeared to be doing an insufficient review before my data collection. On the other hand, if I put it earlier, then the suspense ends there since the answer is already known, why bother to do the research then? This can be on and on just to fix and conform to the norm of a linear process. Luckily, my Sv's idea and mine are parallel-don't worry too much about where and when it should go into your thesis, the main thing is that you just know how to make your thesis/argument a case. Embed and intertwine the info from lit reviews as to support your case and argument. If you feel it should support your discussion then bring it in in yr discussion chapter. If you feel like putting it earlier then give some hints (and only hints) earlier just to create some curiosity (and make a case that the issue should be researched on). well, i dunno whether I have made myself clear to you. But the gist is, only you know how to craft your own thesis to make it convincing. Thesis is like playing with a magic spell, it's nothing, believe me, but since you are the magician, the magic wand is all yours and with that, you "make things happen"! just my 2 cent. all the best.

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