Exploring Contemporary Challenges
Full course description
In the first year skills courses, you have also become familiar with the multidisciplinary nature of the curriculum, being introduced to a wide variety of scholarly approaches to seemingly similar questions. You saw how different disciplines come with their own traditions, theories, methods, terminology and writing requirements, and learnt to distinguish their different “ways of knowing”. You may also have observed that not only do researchers differ in the answers they present, but also in the questions they ask and in the way they go about in answering them. It is now time to take a step further and learn how to start your own research with regards to the literature you are analysing. And one of the first steps in the process, usually involves for you to identify the most important scholarly works written by other academics in a particular field. In other words, in this course you are expected to write a literature review on the challenge that you have previously selected. This means that first you will have to carry out a thematic synthesis of sources to provide readers with an up-to-date summary of theoretical and empirical findings of the prior research on a particular topic. In a nutshell, the literature review needs to identify and discuss/explain all of the main points or findings of a specific topic. These include both classic and the most recent studies, which need to be included to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the topic at hand. This course is connected to EUS2516 where you will continue working on the challenge you have previously selected.
The aim is to make students competent judges of the quality of scientific research and enable them to see that their own research needs to be previously embedded in a much larger body of literature written by other authors. As a skills training, this course lays the groundwork for later modules that will teach specific research methods. Successfully concluding this course will contribute to students acquiring the following building-blocks of their final ES qualifications:
The ability to identify the most important academic works in a particular field
Students will be able to justify their selection criteria for both the analytical platform and the set of secondary sources they have used.
The ability to gauge the relevance and value of scholarly works and claims.
Students will be able to build databases with the works they have found
Students will be able to structure the literature into different themes
Communicate your findings in a style fitting to the academic audience in European Studies;
Give constructive, useful feedback to peers;
Revise, edit and proofread your written work building on (peer) feedback and on individual priorities developed on the basis of past writing tasks;
Understand and apply conventions of academic writing, including the guidelines set by the American Psychological Association (APA).
Ridley, D. (2012). The literature review: A step-by-step guide for students. (3rd ed.). London: Sage.
Andrew S. Denney & Richard Tewksbury (2013) “How to Write a Literature Review”, Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 24:2, 218-234.
Petticrew, M. & Roberts, H. (2006). Systematic Reviews in the Social Sciences: A Practical Guide. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
Hart, C. (2018). Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Research Imagination. (2nd ed.). London: Sage.