Literature Reviews. Where to start?

I am currently in the throes of trying to put together a literature review, cobbled as it were from bits of my confirmation document that I submitted last year (thank Dog I worked so hard on it last year).

My theoretical framework has changed, unfortunately, so I’m a bit stuck on where to start. I’ve 10000-odd words, which is great, because I’ve not many more to put together – my supervisor and I discussed 15000 words total, but last year my framework was organised round Shulman’s Signature Pedagogy and now I’ve moved on to Cultural Psychology theories. These theories are so different as to be non viable, even though they pretty much cover the same ground, and I have to fit in all my thoughts on what makes a singer and what then makes singing teaching and learning unique. 15000 words? Could take a hundred, AND I’m not even looking closely at adult learning theories. I’m pretending they don’t exist.

I’ve had a bit of a squiz through my mid-candidature review, which was pretty good, I thought, but I am a little concerned about how to develop my literature review to succinctly and clearly encompass the research. How do I shape my framework? I’m mulling over this one at present.

3 hours later…Ah, it’s always helpful to have a recently PhD submitting friend tell you how to shape your literature review. Should remember this for future panics. So, my friend suggested that lo! behold! I should plan my review around my research questions. Well, der. Why didn’t I think of that?! This sage, seven word piece of advice makes my job a lot easier. Over the coming weeks I will be working on the chapter, hopefully submitting a halfway decent draft to my supervisor before the end of January.

In the meantime, I have another conference paper to write, a journal article to revise, and two or three book chapters to put together. Before April. That’s a lot of work!

With my resolutions underway, I am trying to plan my working week to be more productive. At present it simply isn’t. So, the plan is (we’ll see how it goes, har bloody har har) to be at the desk by 8.00 am and work through until 1pm, with a little bitsy morning tea break at 10.30. This will be the sum total of any meaningful work on my PhD, as I just can’t concentrate on anything more than 5 hours writing per day. Then the afternoon will be spent doing meaningless tasks such as lesson planning, singing, walking the dog, teaching, running a business and the household, you know, the stuff of life. Hopefully by quarantining the morning for writing will see me develop a stricter work policy to get me out of my sloth impasse.

I give myself two weeks.

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One thought on “Literature Reviews. Where to start?

  1. “Ah, it’s always helpful to have a recently PhD submitting friend tell you how to shape your literature review.” – truer words have never been spoken! I’m sure my friend is going to be sick of me by the end of 3 years. Keep up the good work : )

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