You will hear a conversation between a Student and a Professor, discussing the Student’s plans for his thesis. Before the recording begins, you have an opportunity to look at the questions. You will be prompted (three times) to pause the video at selected intervals and take some time to answer 5 questions.
Look at Questions 1-5 before you play the video:
What are the steps for a literature review, as outlined by the Professor? Fill in the blanks.
First Step: (1) ________________________
Look in periodicals and (2) _____________ _____________________ (2 words).
Second Step: Search for (3)_______________________ to consider.
Sources to include: (4)__________________
Student: Hi Ron, thanks for making time to meet with me. I know you're very busy. I missed a few classes and I’m a bit lost. I have to begin a literature review for my dissertation, and I don’t know how to go about it.
Professor: I see. It can be a bit of a minefield if you've never done it before. Have you spoken to your supervisor about your topic?
Student: Do you mean the topic I presented at the beginning of the year?
Professor: Yes. You'll need to narrow it down. That’s the first step.
Student: Okay. Can you suggest any approaches?
Professor: Yes, what I find helpful is to look at trends in periodicals and published papers, and be very specific.
Student: I was thinking of researching women who contributed to politics in the '80s.
Professor: If you look at some of last year’s projects in the library, you'll see that they might be more specific, like focusing on one or two key figures in the era in a particular location.
Student: Okay, I understand what you're saying.
Professor: The next step is searching for literature to consider including. Have you thought about what sources you'd like to include?
Student: I have, a little. I want to look at some newspaper reports printed at the time and definitely some primary source material, like diaries and letters.
Professor: That sounds good. It might take a bit of work. These kinds of literature are more difficult to find than books or articles. Maybe you could check if anything has been digitized and added to a database?
Before you hear the rest of the conversation, take some time to look at questions 6 to 10:
Fill in the blanks
(6) Be aware of __________ in newspapers.
(7) People who buy newspapers could have a specific ______________________ ___________________. (2 words)
3 Ways of organising information:
Professor: There are a few things you need to think about at the evaluation stage.
Student: When I am checking the quality of the sources?
Professor: Yes, be careful of making assumptions about the material. For example, a newspaper might be biased or have a readership who follow a particular political agenda.
Student: Good point. I didn't think about that.
Professor: Even a diary might not be too revealing if other people had access to it. You will also want to check the methodologies used by past researchers and whether quotes and witnesses are reliable. Oh, and check for frequently referenced places and names.
Student: Thanks, this is giving me a lot to think about. What can I do with all of this information when I have it?
Professor: Well, after all of that, you might see some trends or common findings. If you have a lot of information, you might want to find a way of organizing it all.
Student: Oh, do you mean in a database? I’m really not sure that is a strong point for me. One of the people in my class set up a database for us to share resources, but it seems like such a lot of work.
Professor: That's one option. You could also just use post-it notes or make a chart.
Student: That sounds much better. I like things to be clearly visible.
Before you hear the rest of the conversation, take some time to look at questions 11 to 15:
Complete the sentences with the missing words.
LATCH stands for (11)_______________, alphabet, time, category and (12)_____________________.
13) Re-arranging information can reveal ___________________________________.
14) You should focus on _______________________ trends.
15) The last stage is _________________________.
Professor: Have you ever heard of LATCH, L-A-T-C-H?
Student: No, what does it stand for?
Professor: It’s an approach to organizing information in different ways. It stands for Location, Alphabet, Time, Category and Hierarchy.
Student: Oh, I see. So, I can experiment with organizing points of information geographically, chronologically, by importance, and so on?
Professor: Right. I always find this approach useful. Some of the different arrangements can uncover gaps or inconsistencies which will be useful when you are writing your review and help you to develop a thesis.
Student: Do you have any tips for developing a purpose statement?
Professor: I think you need to focus in on the trends developing in your research and see if there are any developments you can make.
Student: This is all very useful. Thank you so much.
This is the end of the video.
Answers are on the next page