what’s a lit review?

Part of the prospectus involves a literature review (this may or may not be similar to the lit review in the dissertation). As far as I understand it in my discipline, the lit review serves to inform everyone that one has indeed read all, er, most of the relevant sources related to one’s research, and consequently, understands these sources, and also, can situate one’s research within the current work. And having read and understood all of this information, it is assumed that one is building on (or coming up with mind-blowingly awesome revelations, or at least, filling conspicuous gaps in) the current work.

I’ve done a couple of drafts of the lit review and it is still very much a work in progress. Advisor asked for more of an argument-driven document, rather than the ‘laundry list’ of sources I had. So, I worked this week to re-organize and make all of these little sources tell some sort of a story, or at least fit together in a new way, one not reminiscent of laundry or the like.

However, in the process of attempting to forge a re-worked lit review, I was faced with some of the issues I encountered (and have yet to address) in the Very Rough Draft. While I feel like I’m on pretty good terms with the major themes/issues/arguments in the alt.country literature (which I’m certain I will have to re-re-work in the very near future, following the weekly, slightly awkward phone meeting with Advisor), the Real Problem is knowing what to do Next.

I’m sure all of this re-working, re-visiting, re-everything-ing stuff is for my own good, and I’m making progress and all, but really, I’d still just like to skip to the end.

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