During your studies you are likely to write a literature review as part of an assignment, project or thesis or as a stand alone assignment.
Reviewing the literature prompts critical thinking as it requires the ablility to scrutinise and evaluate the evidence in the published literature. Reviewing the literature involves reflecting on the appropriateness of study methods, noting strengths and weaknesses, appraising the the evidence of studies, identifying and explaining inconsistencies between studies and finally interpreting the body of evidence from all of the literature reviewed and drawing a conclusion.
Monash University, Language and Learning online provides good advice for writing the literature review. This material is aimed at PhD students who will be writing the literature review as part of a thesis or project but may be adapted for undergraduate students who are writing literature reviews for assignments and minor projects.
The essay is one of the most common genres for writing at university. Students will also be required to present assignments in a variety of genres (see the Academic writing skills box on bottom right).
Good essays and indeed all good academic writing takes time and requires reflection, critical thinking over several drafts. Below is a presentation on how to approach the essay in stages.
See downloadable resources for PDF and Word versions (on top right).
Using a model in Reflection
Reflective practice is a key part of learning in radiography and on clinical placements. Students are often required to keep reflective diaries during clinical placements or to reflect on radiography case studies in assignments. Reflective writing assignments are aimed at developing future reflective practitioners.
There are a range of reflective models used in medicine and health sciences that may be used as tools to guide reflection upon clinical learning. An early model of reflection is the Kolb (1984) model for experiential learning which outlines a continuing cycle of learning from experience in 4 stages: we experience a situation, reflect on that situation, draw conclusions about the situation, develop an hypothesis which we test through experience. Other models commonly used in reflective practice in the medicine and health sciences include, Atkins and Murphy's (1994) reflective framework, Gibbs (1998) model, Johns model of reflective practice (2000, in Johns 2009).
Figure 1: Kolb's Learning Theory adapted from Kolb (1984) Figure2: Gibb's (1998) Reflective Cycle,
Atkins ,S & Murphy, K ,1994, ‘Reflective practice. Nursing Standard, vol. 8 no.39, pp.49-56.
Baird, MA., 2007, ‘Towards the development of a reflective radiographer: challenges and constraints: Commentary’, Biomedical Imaging and Intervention Journal, vol 4 no1 pp1-8, e-9.
Gibbs, G. 1988, Learning by doing: a guide to teaching and learning methods, Further Education Unit Oxford Polytechnic, Oxford.
Kolb, D. A. 1984. Experiential learning: experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.
Johns, C 2009, Becoming a reflective practitioner, 3rd edn, Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, West Sussex
Academic writing is formal in style and has specific genres for various purposes, for example, reports, literature reviews, essays, case studies. The following website the Monash University, Language and Learning online, provides interactive tutorials on how to approach the various academic writing tasks encountered at university.
The Faculty of Business and Economics, Monash University Q Manual is also an excellent resource for developing the quality of written academic work.