Postgraduates' Problems in Writing Their Theses Literature Review Section
This study set out to identify if postgraduate students have problems in writing their theses literature review section. To assess students’ literature reviews, we examined the literature review section of 40 completed master theses drawn from a poll of 100 master’s theses. We applied the guideline provided by Akindele (2008). Our findings showed that students focused on summarizing of each work, linking with the purpose of study, awareness of different views, relationship of each work with other research, resolving conflicts among research, and filling gaps in previous study, respectively. Our quantitative results indicated that students’ literature reviews were based on authorial voice/ identity, and evaluation rather than critical thinking. A majority of students just summarized other researchers’ findings and interpretation rather than examining all aspects of their research critically.Most of them even with proficient ability in writing were not able to synthesize, critique, or explain the literature.We also identified three major problems dealing with the importance of the literature review, sufficient time for completing theses and publication, and supervisors and professors’ role in writing literature review. To overcome these barriers, it seems essential to give students’ sufficient knowledge on implanting a critical view to write their literature review, and provide them adequate time to complete their theses and publishing their related articles. Moreover, supervisors and professors should provide the students with sufficient information about writing literature review critically. This study may have some helpful suggestions for educators to identify the strengths and weaknesses of students’ literature review.
Key words - Critical analysis, ethics, literature review, students’ voice