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Literature Survey


“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” (Thomas Watson, IBM Chairman, 1943)

What exactly is literature survey? I should really be doing my literature review rather than writing about it but I think this will help me conceptualise it. According to Dawson (2009),

The initial foundation for your project is a literature survey. This survey has two main components; a literature search and a literature review. The literature search represents the mechanics of looking for, sorting, managing and digesting the available research material. The literature review represents your written understanding, critical evaluation, conceptualisation and presentation of the material you have obtained.

Dawson also emphasises a couple of points: to allow plenty of time & make note of the full reference of any material obtained. Hmmm, allowing plenty of time is definitely not one of my strong points! I hope collating the full references is!

University of Derby defines literature search as a ‘systematic’ gathering of published information relating to a subject (1995), cited in Dawson (2009). I’ve started the hunting and gathering of published information but whether it’s systematic is debatable.

Here’re a couple of locations where I’ve been storing some published information: delicious, and diigo

I just need to review it all before the next supervisor session 🙂

Here’s another definition of Literature Review by Massey University – just to make sure I’ve got it!

Reference: Dawson, C. W., (2009) Projects in computing and information systems: a student’s guide (2nd Ed) Pearson: UK


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