As new PhD students who had been on the track for about half a year, we were all struggling with endless reading lists, when DTC Theme 15 organised an activity on the strategy of literature review.
Several of us volunteered to provide writing samples as the basis for discussion, and many questions were raised concerning the function of literature review in the PhD thesis. Our theme leader illustrated the importance of deciding the focus of the PhD project before constructing the literature review. For example, there may be several approaches to study China’s perception of the Japan-U.S. alliance, including historical, political, social, and psychological ones; the structure of the literature review should depend on the academic direction of the research.
It was a relief for me to know peer research students experienced same anxieties as I did concerning literature review and the 20,000 words draft to be submitted for the upgrade panel. And it was helpful that we gathered to discuss relevant issues, with our theme leader and senior students sparing no effort to save poor first-year students from the mud of books and journal articles.
Shortly after our theme event, I got an email from DTC inviting all research students to a Theme 4 activity on getting research published, and I was quite interested. I hope to see more theme activities growing into cross-theme ones in the future.
King’s Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctor Training Centre http://www.kcl.ac.uk/study/pg/school/dtc/welcome.aspx
DTC Theme 15 Military & Regional Security http://www.kcl.ac.uk/study/pg/school/dtc/research-themes/Theme15.aspx
Reaching Out: Widening the audience for your research seminar http://www.kcl.ac.uk/study/pg/school/dtc/events/index.aspx#reachingoutevent