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What Should a Literature Review Do?

Every thesis must include a review of relevant literature. Indeed, conducting a literature review is often the first thing a PGR student is asked to do. This session discusses the purpose of this literature review and the importance of summarising, analysing and synthesising the arguments of others as a means of providing a context for your own research. It also considers some alternative models for writing and structuring a literature review chapter. Understanding your research ‘field’, and being able to guide your reader around it, are very important first steps on the road to doctoral success. This session is designed to facilitate that process.


Aimed at

Doctoral Researchers (early, mid-stage & final stage)



Joining instructions



 In order to attend the session, you need to download the appropriate virtual classroom software, provided by Electa-Live. This can be accessed directly from the Electa website at: do this as soon as possible and do not wait for the day of the session. The software can be downloaded to a PC, laptop, tablet, or even a smartphone. Remember, however, that downloading to a work computer may require administrative permissions to be granted. For this reason, the use of a personal computer is recommended.

Once you have the software, you can join the session by clicking on the following link:

 It’s as simple as that! Please note, however, that the above link will not work until the virtual classroom is open and that will happen 30 MINUTES before the session’s official start time. Please enter the classroom nice and early, especially if this is your first online session, to make sure that your speakers are working appropriately. This can be done via the ‘Audio Set up Wizard’ which is available via the ‘Audio’ menu at the top of the screen (or by clicking the ‘spanner’ icon to the top left). If you do have a microphone, please leave it turned OFF once it’s set up. This is done using the microphone icon at the very top left of the screen. Thanks. Please note, however, that it isn’t necessary to have a microphone to communicate in the session. A text chat function is available (at the bottom left of the screen) and many attendees prefer to use this as a means of posting their thoughts and questions. I will be in the classroom 30 minutes before the session starts if help is required, or you can mail me at any earlier point if you are having set-up problems. I’ll do my best to assist!

ABOUT THE SESSION ITSELF: If you have any particular issues/topics you’d like me to cover in the session, things that are already troubling you or questions you’d like me to answer, please let me know in advance and I’ll do my best to help.

Otherwise, no advance preparation is required. All the online training sessions take advantage of the skills and academic experience of the presenter – gathered over too many years in my case(!) – as well as many useful tips and tricks-of-the-trade, to render potentially complicated and multi-layered academic tasks a little more simple. We hope you enjoy! The session slides and a session recording will be forwarded after the session, but I’d still recommend that you take some notes as we go along. It’s a sensible thing to do and too few students do it effectively.

Looking forward to seeing/hearing you all during the session…

Best wishes,


Key learning outcomes

By the end of this training, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the nature and purpose of the research literature review
  • Identify what makes a good literature review
  • Review literature effectively and to write critically
  • Know about different styles of literature reviews

Presented by

Dr Simon Watts, PGR Training Coordinator & Deputy Director of the Graduate School, Faculty of Social Science, University of East Anglia

Session outline and aims

This is a webinar where the key elements of a literature review will be presented. Participants are welcome to discuss and raise questions during the session or ask individual questions at the end of the webinar. 

Specific skills focused on in this session

Research and information literacy, communication skills

Select a date

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Brunel 3D Development Tool

Develops the following:

Skills needed to do your research and career

Researcher Development Framework (RDF) Competencies

Develops skills relevant to the following domains of the RDF:

This workshop is provided by

Brunel Graduate School Logo

Email address Telephone number 01895 265935