Thursday, January 17, 2008



This is my first attempt at a structure for my reading literature review. I am particularly interested to see how much of this remains unchanged by the time the final draft of this paper is completed. Despite the fact that this is a draft, a work in progress, getting a robust structure in place early on is incredibly useful. Not only does a structure such as this provide a way of organizing the writing, it also allows the writer to consider and reflect on their overarching argument. By considering from the outset what the key argument informing the writing is, it can offer a well developed, cohesive final text.

The next step I intend to take on this literature review is the introduction, which I hope will develop further my key aims for this paper. More often than not I tend to do the introduction last – that way it writes itself. However, in the interests of the literature review being slightly neater, I’ve decided to attempt to start with the introduction and run chronologically through the work. Despite this attempt, I suspect there will be lots of gaps as it will only be at the end of the process when I can really finish this.

Fellow bloggers, any comments or questions about the structure so far would be greatly appreciated!


Unknown said...

Hi Kate,
Good luck with this Lit Review - and I hope that you get people joining in really soon!
I do know that people have had trouble logging in to comment - so do not be disheartened, if you build it - they will come!

Reb said...

Hello Kate,

This is an interesting project and I greatly admire your willingness to share the process with us in this way. I think that this level of meta-cognition is so useful to students but it is so hard to do. Thank you.

I agree with you that getting structure and focus clear at the outset is helpful but I am also wondering what you would think about the insights I have taken from Phyllis Creme and Mary Lea's work, that planning happens in different ways and at different times for writers. So, some people need to 'dive' in and start writing in order to know what it is they are wanting to say - so planning is a second order activity for them - whereas some plan and then write. The work I am thinking of is in Writing at University.

Kate Hoskins said...

Hello Reb

Thanks for your comments.

I absolutely agree that every student must find their own way of writing and that a highly structured method would most certainly not suit everybody. Perhaps this is a limitation of the exercise; it's only my point of view!

The idea of using a structure is something I encourage my students to do, if only in terms of it being a way into their work. By a way in, I mean it's a practical method which allows students to get started - it gets over the blank page issue, which can be a problem for people - I know it has been and still is for me.

I think it's really an important point that you've made here - thank you.


Unknown said...

I agree with both Reb & Kate!
I like to brainstorm sometimes to get me started; other times now I start with a free write; still others I brainstorm and then free write on each part of the 'storm...
The key is to GET WRITING!
Once words are out, no matter how bad, I have something to add to, change, refine & polish...

Joelle Adams said...

Why force yourself to write chronologically? If you usually have success with writing the introduction later, why are you changing your process? I don't think it's important for the Lit Review to be 'neat' until it's 'finished'.

Kate Hoskins said...

Good point. I think a key part of why I'm writing chronologically has been to perhaps offer neat writing. I shall try to be more open and stick to what has worked in the past - i.e. writing introduction last.
Best wishes

jennifer said...

Whenever i see the post like your's i feel that there are still helpful people who share information for the help of

others, it must be helpful for other's. thanx and good job.
Literature Review