How to Keep your Doctorate on Track
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How to Keep your Doctorate on Track

Insights from Students’ and Supervisors’ Experiences

Edited by Keith Townsend, Mark N.K. Saunders, Rebecca Loudoun and Emily A. Morrison

The path of a doctoral student can feel challenging and isolating. This guide provides doctoral students with key ideas and support to kick-start a doctoral journey, inspire progress and complete their thesis or dissertation. Featuring observations from experienced supervisors, as well as the reflections of current and recent postgraduate researchers, this intimate and entertaining book offers vital insights into the critical moments in any doctoral experience.
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Chapter 9: Views from the top and views of the valley: the paths of dissertation literature reviews

Maria Cseh


The chapter uses the metaphor of pathways to describe the processes involved in putting together a dissertation literature review. The paths lead up to the mountains as well as down into the valleys, and learning the terrain is essential for success. Some students may already have a “view from the top,” having explored the literature, and now they are in the process of understanding the depth of the literature through “a view of the valley.” The author provides answers to a number of questions commonly asked by students, including how to select the methodology of the review, how to conduct literature searches, how to choose sources, and how to present findings. Finally, some useful lessons are supplied, in the manner of reminders to keep students on the right pathway and with clear visibility for the journey.

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