The literature review is a 7000 word desk-based project and is worth 75% of the marks on this module. It is due in on 4th April 2017 and should be submitted electronically in the usual way.
The literature review allows you to explore an area of your own academic interest in depth, to demonstrate your interpretation and evaluation skills and to give you the chance to make recommendations for practice. This is done through:• reviewing, summarising and evaluating the literature on a topic of your choice from a broad list of topics provided by us• critiquing the methodologies and methods used in the topic literature• bringing together your findings to suggest new ideas such as models or gaps• suggesting areas for further research • suggesting implications for managerial or policy practice
You may, ONLY if this is agreed with your supervisor, choose to analyse secondary data (in the form of an existing data-set) as part of the review. Whether or not your supervisor agrees this will depend on (a) the existence of a suitable data-set, and (b) our assessment of your analytical skills. We will not agree to your doing this if, in our opinion, the likely outcome will be disadvantageous to you (i.e. if we feel you would get a better mark if you do not do it). No primary data collection and analysis is permitted in the project.
Some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)…Where and when are the topics available?The topic list will be available on Blackboard early in the autumn term. The topics cover important, contemporary and pervasive topics in business and management research. You need to choose your topic by Monday 3rd October, and we will do our best to accommodate your choice. Note that if you are enrolled in some particular awards or pathways your choice may be limited to a topic associated with that award or pathway.
How do I choose a topic?You should choose an area which interests you and which you can imagine exploring for the next 6 months: this may not be an area that you are necessarily ‘good at’ based upon previous study. It is a great opportunity to explore a completely new area, to explore a topic relevant to your level 3 modules or to consolidate an area you are considering pursuing in your career. To help decide, carry out a little preliminary research on the topics that interest you, to scope out likely options. We do not recommend topics that are not equally suitable for a literature review, although topics may differ in their breadth and scope. Once you have chosen the broad topic area you are required to choose your own specific themes for your review, in consultation with your supervisor.
How are tutors allocated?Once you have made your choice, you will be allocated a tutor who will help you develop your literature review. Lists will be posted on Blackboard and it will be up to you to contact your tutor to introduce yourself and set up your first meeting.
Where do I find the right kind of literature to review?The information from your review should come from academic papers published in respected academic journals, edited books, and monographs, with a minimum (definitely less than 10% in total) from textbooks, news media, practitioner publications, websites, or other such sources. These articles can be found using the databases outlined in the library workbook, including Google Scholar.
Where can I find out more about the literature review?The second and third lectures of the module cover the structure, content and style of the review, and advice on managing the project. We revisit these issues in the supervision sessions. An example of a review will be evaluated in Tutorial 2. Briefing notes are available on Blackboard about particular aspects of the literature review. Make sure you also ask your personal supervisor any specific questions about the review. The module leader is available at the drop-in surgeries after these routes have been explored or before supervisors have been allocated, and for general advice.
How important is referencing?The consistent and accurate use of an approved referencing system is an important aspect of academic literacy and is crucial in the effective presentation of your work (20% of assessment weighting for the literature review). It is as important as correct spelling and good use of English. Failure to reference properly will lose you a significant number of marks. In cases where citations in the text are missing from the reference list, the penalty may amount to as much as a degree class (10%) or more and may result in you failing the assignment. At worst, you may face being investigated for an assessment offence.
What is included in the word count?For the avoidance of doubt, anything in the main body of the project report beyond this word limit of 7000 will not be read or marked. In other words, there is no +/- 10% rule. The word count includes everything in the main body of the text listed here: abstract, contents page, text, headings, tables, citations, quotes, lists, acronyms and numbers expressed as digits or in words. It does NOT include the reference list at the end of the project.
How do I format my literature review?Check out the FAQs on Blackboard for more information on formatting your review. In short it should be:- 7000 words – excluding references (see above)- Formatting and references should be in the UWE version of the Harvard style outlined on the Library Study Skills website – You may include figures and tables in the body of the text.- The cover sheet should include: title of the review, module name, name of your supervisor, your student number and word count. Do not use artwork. – The title of the review should follow an academic style and should not normally be phrased as a question: “[Topic or Sub-Topic Title]: A Review of the Literature” should be the form in most cases.- The second sheet should include an abstract of up to 150 words (included in the word count) in which you summarise the key points from your review.- The third sheet should be a contents page, with major sections of the review listed and relevant page numbers given (included in the word count).- The review should start on the fourth page.- The structure of the review should include an introduction, the main body of the review organised by themes, issues and/or debates in the literature, conclusions (included in the word count) and reference list (not included in the word count). – You may choose to have a separate section within the main body in which you review methodological issues in the literature as a whole, or you may do this within each theme, but you must ensure this aspect is adequately covered.- You are also required to include a section, as the last sub-section of the main body, dealing with the implications of your analysis for management action and or policy- Use a clear heading format but use headings sparingly: we expect you to use main and second-level headings only. – All references in the text should be included in the reference list at the end of the review in the UWE Harvard style. This should be in alphabetical order. Do not provide separate lists for books, journals, websites, etc. Do not provide a separate bibliography of sources you have read but not cited. Any review which does not include a list of references will automatically fail.- Avoid appendices. In particular, do not use appendices to try to expand the word-count!- All pages must be numbered and show your student number.- The assignment should be proof-read and spell-checked. Typographical and spelling errors will be penalised.- Any acknowledgements should be presented in an endnote following your conclusion and preceding your references.- The literature review should be word-processed. – The literature review MUST be submitted as a .pdf file. This is to ensure that you original formatting is preserved.- We may use the electronic submission to check your work with plagiarism detection software.
Clearly referencing and formatting your work correctly is vital for a number of reasons, such as conforming to academic norms, making it readable for those marking it, and avoiding any chance of plagiarism. We provide support on library webpages, and we try to reference properly ourselves throughout the course.
How do we mark your work?
The following pages include the criteria that we use when marking the literature review and portfolio/learning journal. On the CBP module we base our assessment criteria on a conceptual framework developed by Bloom (the so-called Bloom’s taxonomy), starting from the most basic level of knowledge to the most advanced level of synthesis:
Knowledge/Understanding: Demonstrate an accurate and informed awareness of the content of a body of literature.Analysis: Demonstrate an ability to identify common themes, methods, issues and approaches in a body of literature and to demonstrate the relationships between these elements.Evaluation: Subject the literature to a critical review and provide your own interpretation. Successfully and persuasively bring out the implications for both future research, and managerial practice.Synthesis: Provide an original contribution (e.g. a conceptual framework).
If you can show that you know and understand the material, you will pass the module but you will not excel. If you can show that you can apply your knowledge and understanding to analysing a particular literature or body of knowledge you will achieve a solid and respectable performance. However, outstanding achievement is only possible if you are able to critically evaluate ideas in the literature, and are able to reconfigure these ideas and combine them with your own in a genuinely original synthesis.
These are the other broad criteria we use for marking assignments and the specific feedback forms and marking grid are on pages 19-21, below:
Excellent projects (70%+):- survey the appropriate literature in a critical, comprehensive and scholarly way- display ample evidence of wide reading around the topic, demonstrate the required synthetic and evaluative skills, and offer a genuinely creative and original approach – contain introductions and conclusions which are clear, direct and effective. They leave the reader with a sense that the writer had clearly approached this paper in a fresh and interesting way.- display presentation skills that are immaculate, use an appropriate referencing system, and cite sources correctly and effectively
Good projects (60%+):- identify some key literature around the topic and evaluate various authors’ positions in a competent way.- contain introductions and conclusions which are very competent – they leave the reader with a sense of what to expect and a reasonable summary of what they have read.- demonstrate that the writer has read fairly widely around the topic.- demonstrate skills of analysis and (in parts) evaluation in their approach to the ideas in the literature- display referencing and presentation which are generally effective and competent, but with some minor errors.
Fair projects(50%+):- approach some of the important literature on the topic and bring out some key issues from it, but the writer doesn’t seem to have read very widely around the topic.- contain introductions and conclusions which don’t seem to give a clear idea about where the review was going or what had been said.- occasionally fail to give sources for ideas or examples.- are descriptive of the reading, but rarely analytical or evaluative.- display referencing and presentation which are generally effective and competent, but there are some more serious errors or omissions.
Poor projects (less than 50%):- do not address one of the specified topics (an automatic fail).- are approached/structured as an essay rather than a review of the literature.- focus on only a few authors and so are descriptive, partial or superficial. – do not use, or misuse, an appropriate referencing system, despite the very clear advice in the course booklet – a common mistake is to cite a number of authors but not include them in the reference list. This is almost always a sign that the student has plagiarised another source: it certainly means that the student has not read these references!- are poorly or carelessly presented.- lack meaningful introductions or conclusions.- are mainly based on material from textbooks or the internet rather than journals or other original, high quality work (an automatic fail).- consistently fail to give sources for ideas or examples (an automatic fail or referral as an assessment offence).