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Literature Based Dissertation Methodology Samples


I'm writing up my final draft of my MA dissertation in disability studies. It is a library-based dissertation, however I have also used the internet to access journals, blogs etc.

In my feedback, my tutor wrote this:

You have however done so without drawing on the specific research methods literature. Also, you have not yet explained how the secondary data analysis will be done: What exactly will you be analysing and in what ways? The fact that this is a library-based study does not change the fact that you need to demonstrate to the reader that the findings presented in this dissertation are based on a rigorous data gathering approach. Make sure to add a decent section on this (at least two pages), which must also include your sampling strategy and approach to analysis.

I have no idea what to write for this, and how to make it 2 pages long (my methodology is already 4 pages). I don't know what sampling I would have used for looking in the library. All I did was look up relevant books on the internet and picked them from the library. Also, I'm not sure on analysing these sources either. Any suggestions?

It sounds like the literature review should be systematic. so you do a full search in relevant search engines (sociology ones - and Google scholar for example) then list what came out of that search, put it all in a table. under methods, you would include your search terms. "e.g., disability, schools, England' or something. you need to show that you have done a comprehensive search and have missed nothing relevant. and if you did exclude studies, you state why (i.e., they were not relevant for x,y,z reason). It sounds like you need to grab a few textbooks. that cover secondary analysis, systematic reviews, etc. I don't think 'library based' would be the correct terminology. narrative review or systematic review would be better.

a sampling strategy is just your criteria:
e.g., studies that examine disability in e.g., schools/primarty age/in the UK/ published in English, etc.

have a look at how to do a systematic review. also get a book on writing up your master dissertation. again there are loads of these and they are invaulable in terms of layout. you can get them relevant to social sciences, and often they are written by sociologists. in terms of sampling type it sounds like it is secondary data analysis.


The diversity of sources of literature within the management disciplines has resulted in a growing need for a systematic methodology to map the territory of its associated theories and models. As such, when scoping out a doctoral or policy based study the Structured Literature Review (SLR) as espoused by Tranfield et al (2003) can be considered as a means by which critical literature central to and underpinning the research can be rigorously and systematically mapped out. However, there is little guidance, or evidence, of this being the case when undertaking small scale projects for example undergraduate or masters degree dissertations. This paper reports four case studies using semi‑structured interviews of master's degree students following management programmes who undertook a Structured Literature Review (SLR) based dissertation and the issues and problems they had to encounter during their journey. The findings from the case studies suggest that Tranfield et al's (2003) approach to SLR's, whilst suited to doctoral level and policy based research is not appropriate when dealing with undergraduate and masters dissertations and projects. The case study findings identified that these students conducting a SLR had to deal with a new set of conceptual, methodological and data collection problems relating to this 'unorthodox' approach to conducting a postgraduate research dissertation. The findings show that students had to confront new paradigms of enquiry that are not normally taught or found in 'traditional' research texts and research methods courses that are taught on degree programmes. However, the findings do reveal that students gained a greater depth and insight into the subject they were researching through a more rigorous and structured approach. The paper then presents alternative remedies by way of the Rapid Structured Literature Review (RSLR) research strategy which is argued as an appropriate approach in conducting small scale literature based research projects when used with undergraduate and master's degree students rather than the SLR espoused by Tranfield et al (2003) which is better suited for other types of research such as doctoral and policy based activities.


Keywords:Literature-based research, systematic literature reviews, synthesis, rapid structured literature reviews