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Literature Reviews

Choosing a topic

Undergraduate students

Your lecturer will usually provide a topic for your literature review in a piece of assessment. However topics are often quite broad and you will need to develop a focus and title for your review.

Postgraduate students and researchers

You should have an idea of what you want to research when you applied to study. Once you have a supervisor allocated, they may suggest a working title that you should keep as close as possible to the spirit of.


You must ultimately have a focused topic to do a focused review.

  • Keep your working title in front of you so that you don't get distracted by fascinating but peripheral things. 
  • Work out your parameters, such as demographics (age, sex, income, education), geography, methodologies, currency of and types of resources
  • Do not change the focus of your review just because you find a couple of very useful and interesting papers in an alternative focus area!
  • However, it is possible that you will have to further refine your topic once you have started searching and have an idea of the scope of your topic.

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