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 10: Critically reviewing the literature: the ghosts of literature present, past and future

Linzi McKerr


Focusing on three time scales, this chapter is based on the author’s experiences of putting together a literature review as part of a part-time professional doctorate (EdD). Starting with the present, with the author preparing to defend her thesis at her forthcoming viva, it looks back to a variety of past problems that readers may also be experiencing, such as getting started and finding the literature; identifying the influence of your supervisors’ research; raising your ‘presence’ in the literary argument; and knowing when to stop reading. The last section turns to the future, as the author reflects on her methods and records a few successes, not least managing to defend her thesis and beginning to write book chapters. By way of summary, four lessons are offered, which will be of particular assistance to students on the verge of a literature review.

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