The review of relevant literature


Getting started

Most PhD students start out with at least a superficial knowledge of the key issues in their chosen research topic. They will already have completed a relevant undergraduate degree to a high standard (usually a first-class or a 2:1) and may also have done a Master’s degree in a related area. The working title of the student’s research topic, and probably the primary research question, will also have been discussed. So where does the student actually start working? Quite frequently, the student exhibits one of two contrasting behavioural states. Either s/he is a bit stunned to find themselves actually doing a PhD and a bit overwhelmed by the task ahead, so they do not really engage with anything very constructive; or else s/he is so enthusiastic with the idea of research that they want to go out immediately start collecting samples, or interviewing, or running an experiment! As is so…

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