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Phil Goodwin: Issue 582 21 Oct 2011

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Reviewing the pros and cons of the literature review

Important they might be, but literature reviews aren’t perfect – we should all be aware of their potential flaws

Phil Goodwin

Reviews of research literature play an important role in transport studies, being obligatory in any PhD thesis and very often being required as an early phase of the commissioned projects that represent core funding for academic departments and the more thoughtful consultancies. The reasons are so obvious that they are rarely stated: how can one possibly hope to add to understanding and knowledge of a practical or theoretical problem without being familiar with the results of earlier work?...

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Your Comments:

3 Nov 2011

This is interesting. In my experience a key weakness with lit reviews in the transport field is insufficient attention is paid to the underlying robustness of the methodology underpinning research reports and articles. Phil kind of refers to this by the discusssion of journal articles v full reports but the point is perhaps not spelt out. Transport is way behind areas such as health in having commonly agreed standards for 'evidence based reviews'

Gillian Smith