Designing a research project is possibly the most difficult task a dissertation writer faces. It is fraught with uncertainty: what is the best subject? What is the best method? For every answer found, there are often multiple subsequent questions, so it’s easy to get lost in theoretical debates and buried under a mountain of literature.

This book looks at literature review in the process of research design, and how to develop a research practice that will build skills in reading and writing about research literature—skills that remain valuable in both academic and professional careers. Literature review is approached as a process of engaging with the discourse of scholarly communities that will help graduate researchers refine, define, and express their own scholarly vision and voice. This orientation on research as an exploratory practice, rather than merely a series of predetermined steps in a systematic method, allows the researcher to deal with the uncertainties and changes that come with learning new ideas and new perspectives.

The focus on the practical elements of research design makes this book an invaluable resource for graduate students writing dissertations. Practicing research allows room for experiment, error, and learning, ultimately helping graduate researchers use the literature effectively to build a solid scholarly foundation for their dissertation research project.

part Part I|2 pages

On research

chapter 1|15 pages

Research philosophy

chapter 2|23 pages

Research practice

part Part II|4 pages

Reading literature

chapter 3|23 pages


chapter 4|26 pages

Managing the literature

chapter 5|17 pages

Deep reading

part Part III|4 pages

Writing about literature

chapter 6|22 pages

Writing with literature

chapter 7|19 pages

Writing a literature review

chapter |2 pages