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A supervisor’s account of reviewing literature review by candidates from different cultural backgrounds

A supervisor’s account of reviewing literature review by candidates from different cultural backgrounds

There is a whole lot of dilemma linked with being a supervisor to students from different cultures. It is understandable that these students must be feeling perplexed, lonely and confused in their Ph.D. journey. As a supervisor, with a humane touch one would want to do everything that is reasonable enough to help, but then there is always some ambiguity about the best way to help, and with so many responsibilities attached, a supervisor is always short of time and energy, both.

With varied experience in my kitty, and all that I have seen around, I feel that prospective supervisors should be given a choice to accept or not a student who belongs to a diverse cultural background. This holds all the more weight when one talks about semantic barriers, such as the scholar and supervisor not being comfortable on the grounds of language. In universities and institutes who have big monetary motives often don’t say  no to  applying scholars as they don’t consider these challenges significant in front of the money that is coming to them.

As a supervisor you much check in prior to accepting that whether you are in a position to offer support that needs to be given to the scholar. Sometimes, I have also had to face rudeness from the scholar who belonged to another culture. To be explained better, because of cultural differences, certain behaviour of the scholar seems unacceptable in our culture. For example, getting late for appointments, or looking into the eyes and talking. All these may be signs of normal behaviour in some culture but at the same time signalling rudeness or impoliteness in some.  If you are facing anything such, you must do what I did. Explain to the scholar in a tactful manner the changes in the culture that need to be adopted certainly.

Yet another dilemma faced during handling cross cultural scholars is the correction of work and telling them their mistakes. The usage of appropriate words and vocabulary matching the standards of the culture are certain challenges that are difficult to comprehend by the scholar. One needs to devote a lot of time and energy on perpetual basis, trying to do this. This may sometimes make scholars believe it is actually a part of the supervisor’s job but that is not possible, and then further conflicts or differences may arise, which sometimes may get out of control.

Writing a Critical Literature Review

Writing a Critical Literature Review

After numerous healthy discussions with my friends and fellow researchers, I still wasn’t clear about the idea of critical literature review. So, I decided to take help from the online resources and from my mentor. The knowledge I got, was surely helpful and I really want to share it with the PhD candidates who are still looking for the answers related to the critical literature review.

I would like to start this post by answering ‘what a critical literature review is?’

Okay, let me tell you that a critical literature review is an overview of published and unpublished resources which answer two basic questions:

  • What are the current theoretical issues, policies and debates related to your topic?
  • What is the current state of knowledge about these problems and issues?

You guys must be wondering what’s the requirement of a literature review?

I tell you, Literature Review is required:

  • As a way to frame and focus a research project
  • When research questions are formed without sustained reference to the literature.
  • Knowledge of the literature helps in tighten research question and enhance conceptual sensibility of the topic.
  • As a way to justify a research project to the readers.

Now, how should you start with a critical literature review?
You would start writing your literature review once your topic for research has been decided and objectives have been ascertained. Now according to the same, you must go about writing your literature review. You could follow this stepwise guide for achieving your goal of writing a high-caliber literature review:

  1. Accumulating the literature you would like to review:

This step is basically for taking notes of two points:

Why you chose certain studies to review and reject the others and secondly, the years in which these studies were conducted. It is advisable to refer to the researchers that are closely related to your research topic and are conducted recently.

  1. Analyzing the literature critically:

Be a Critique! Now, you should be able to briefly state the purpose and findings of each research study you are including in the review. Also, you should be able to point out the weakness and limitations of researches conducted. It will be helpful in analyzing the literature at an all-inclusive level. At a micro level, jot down the key contribution of researchers which is unique and value adding in nature. You should be able to address the relevance and exceptional researches conducted by the fellow researchers as it is the mark of a good scholar.

  1. Summarizing the review:

There should be a draft of various research contributions you are going to extract from each research papers. Divide the research papers based on the similar findings and similar thought processes together. In this step, you should be able to identify and formulate the studies that disagree with each other’s, it would be helpful in building and highlighting the contrasting view point about research topic in review.

  1. Give structure to your review:

It is easier to give a literature review a proper structure if you have a format in front of you. This will help in governing the flow of topic and from one paragraph or section to the other.

  1. Start drafting the review:

After following g the above mentioned steps, you should be all set to begin with draft of your literature review. The literature review will link your research objectives with the findings of already conducted researchers and also address these studies that draw opposite conclusions as compared to yours.

I think, you are good to go now with the critical literature review. In case, you still have any query, feel free to get in touch with us by dropping us email at:  info@phdthesiswriters.com