Literature review

I have compiled lists of reference books for a bibliography, with a line or two describing the work, but not as a critical standalone piece of work. Indeed an online study guide from Leicester University site notes:  A critical review: It is important that your literature review is more than just a list of references with a short description of each one. and quotes “Merriam (1988:6) describes the literature review as:  ‘an interpretation and synthesis of published work’.

I’ve had a look around some online reading: Royal Literary Fund, and some YouTube videos posted by various universities – but decided against those due to uncertainty of their quality and relevance to the academic context I work in now.

Having now done some reading around it,  I understand it to be a different beast to what I’d envisaged.

The University of Leicester Study Guide site is comprehensive and really useful. It explains timelines – when you should do it, choosing the time frame, the types of materials and how to approach them ie books, journals, online works and kind of work you have to do. Keeping a record, when to stop and writing it up – and even when to write:

It is also important to see the writing stage as part of the research process, not something that happens after you have finished reading the literature. Wellington et al (2005:80) suggest ‘Writing while you collect and collecting while you write.’

(my emphasis).

Then organising it into a structure and making a summary. Here are some key concepts in the Study Guide:

Wakulenko, I. Screenshot (2019) University of Leicester

Subsequently, looking over Machi and McEvoy, I’ve determined that I don’t need to do a complex review, as I’m not going to propose original research based on this work, I’m going to “produce a position on the state of that knowledge”.

Machi and McEvoy p3

I have realised that I should have known to approach the review right at the beginning of this project – I have been perusing and reading but not in a systematic way that I understand is required now. Also, it is a useful tool in helping to form the research question.

As 3D filmmaking in its current iteration is a new field (although it does have a long history) there’s not a lot a writing about the intersection between that and 2D storytelling – but perhaps my literature review can reflect that. I would like to produce something that the students can use in further collaborations between the courses.



Leicester University Doing a literature review : Study guide Available at:

Machi, L.A.  and McEvoy, B. T. (2016) The Literature Review: Six Steps to Success 3rd ed. Corwin / Sage


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