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This literature can be acknowledged without attending to details or critical evaluations of each study. Again, this may involve speed-reading to identify the focus of the article and noting the main points made. At this stage you may find it helpful to find somebody else’s general review in your subject area and examine it critically. A useful exercise is to work out how you might adapt this review to make it better suited to your own purposes. That can then form the basis for structuring your own general review.

Research relationships Relationships between the researcher and the researched have been discussed by a number of researchers (Riddell 1989; Simons 1989). Often, ethical discussions concerning research relationships are based around covert versus overt research and the merits and demerits of each. Where researchers take on a participant observer role it is sometimes done covertly to protect the validity of the data. For example, Hockey (1986) researched a group of young squaddies on the streets of Belfast, in training camps and doing exercises in the Canadian wastelands.

As your focus sharpens you will be able to be more selective in your use of the literature. qxd 1/31/2006 7:03 PM Page 21 DEVELOPING A LITERATURE REVIEW It may well be that a great deal of what has been read will need to be abandoned when the review is prepared. What at one stage might have seemed to be a promising line of enquiry may prove to be of little use once more reading has been done. A hundred, or even a thousand individual pieces of information may emerge and be interesting in their own right but it is only when they are grouped, balanced against other findings and presented in a way readers can understand, that you have a review which is coherent and which has avoided the ‘furniture sales catalogue’ approach.

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Academic Reading IELTS by British Council

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