MMD001-Introduction to Thesis Literature Review

Module Provider: International Business and Strategy
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2023/4

Module Convenor: Prof Peter Scott

Type of module:


Summary module description:

This compulsory module will provide students with an overview and understanding of the role of the literature review in the doctoral thesis; the practicalities of constructing a literature review (surveying the literature; structuring the review; what should and should not be included and so forth); and the requirements for a good literature review (a critical and analytical approach, applied to both arguments and methodology, which demonstrates the need for the thesis research, the viability of the project, and the suitability of the proposed methodology). Students should gain an understanding of these issues both in relation to thesis research in general and their specific requirements. 


The module aims to provide students in the Business School with an understanding of all the issues involved in researching, preparing, and writing a literature review for their thesis, together with the specific techniques and resources involved. 

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module, it is expected that the student will be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of:

• Surveying the literature

• Structuring a literature review

• The requirements of a good literature review

• The importance of a critical/analytical approach

• The relevance and use of theoretical and empirical evidence.


Additional outcomes:

This module should enable the student to understand the role of the literature review in their thesis and the steps involved in assembling a strong literature review.

Outline content:

The module addresses these issues through five weekly lectures and two longer (three hour) workshops.

1) The thesis literature review: an overview

2) The literature review search process

3) Being critical and analytical

4) Reviewing unpublished documents

5) Writing up the lit. review

6) How to conduct a systematic literature review. 

7)Workshop A (presentations by the first quarter of the student cohort)

8) Workshop B (presentations by the second quarter of the student cohort)

9) Workshop C (presentations by the third quarter of the cohort)

10) Workshop D (presentations by the last quarter of the cohort).





Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module comprises interactive lectures where students are encouraged to discuss their research topics in relation to the various elements of the literature review process under discussion. Students are expected to read key texts and make an active contribution to the lectures. They are also required to look at a completed University of Reading thesis, which has similarities to theirs in terms of topic and/or methodology and be able to discuss how the thesis in question has addressed the me thodological issues involved in reviewing the literature. Students are also expected to engage in a significant amount of self-directed reflective work, which will result in the production of an outline literature review document of around 4,000 words, which will be marked by the module convenor. Substantial feedback will be provided to each student. 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 12
Seminars 12
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 50
    Wider reading (directed) 51
    Advance preparation for classes 25
    Preparation for seminars 25
    Completion of formative assessment tasks 25
Total hours by term 200 0 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Literature review document of around 4000 words, due in the spring term.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the standard University policy.

Assessment requirements for a pass:

A weighted average mark of all coursework components of 50%.

Reassessment arrangements:

By assessment only in August/September. 

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 28 June 2023


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