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Self leadership: Literature Review

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Task Description ( Self leadership: Literature Review / Report) :

For this assignment, you will need to conduct a literature review where you critically analyse and synthesise

theories/concepts/models from the broader self-leadership or positive psychology literature. You will need

to have chosen at least 15 sources to read, analyse and integrate into your review of a chosen



Length: 2,000 words 10%less or more


What is a literature review?

A literature review is a critical evaluation of previously published literature or research. Through organising,

integrating, analysing and synthesising previous works, the author of the literature review/research report is

able to consider the progress of the research towards clarifying a problem of interest. A literature review

frequently defines and clarifies a research problem; summarises the current state of the research in a field;

identifies relationships, contradictions, gaps and inconsistencies in the literature; and often suggests the next

step towards solving the research problem.

Why is the literature review important?

The primary purpose of the literature review is to critique and analyse previous literature, analysing how and

why previous research studies were conducted, and the conclusions that can be drawn from them. It is not

usually sufficient to merely cite, chronologically, a number of studies and their relevant findings. The author

must show academic scholarship by organising the literature in an interesting and useful way. The value of

the literature review is established through the author’s ability to demonstrate a professional grasp on the

research problem by summarising the background and current state of knowledge in the field. Thus the key

elements of the literature review include: evaluating the contributions of others, highlighting research trends

in the field, identifying areas of theoretical and empirical weakness in the previously published material, and

to clarify the research problem or identify specific research questions to be addressed.

Literature Review Research Activities

Research and Gathering Information: Begin the literature review process by identifying the research

problem or theme of interest. Secondly, working back from new to old, from general to specific, seek out

relevant academic and literature regarding the theme or problem previously identified. After gathering,

sifting through, and analysing the information on the topic, focus or narrow the problem and generate

hypotheses or research questions for future study. In management disciplines, there are usually three

primary sources of academic literature: refereed journals and major texts in the field.

For this assignment, you will need to have reviewed at least (15) sources.

Reading and Analysing Literature: To write the literature review you need to have read a number of articles

to identify the facts? Who are the eminent scholars? What ideas, theories, questions, or hypotheses seem

most important? When reading the literature, consider what developments, controversies or breakthroughs

are currently being proposed by leading researchers/practitioners. What are the most commonly used

research methodologies in the field? Is the methodology used the most appropriate or most useful? To

assist with the analysis, some researchers build tables or charts of various studies to help systematically

review research questions, methodologies, findings and limitations.








When reading the literature that you have gathered judge, evaluate and look critically at the research. The

following questions are useful things to ask yourself about the literature you are reading. For example:

& Is the problem and theoretical basis clearly stated?

& Are the researchers aware of what others have done? (e.g., is the review complete?)

& Is the author telling a “story” that makes sense?

& What are the assumptions behind the research?

& Is the methodology, sample size etc., adequate?

& Are the results accurately presented?

& Is the research influential (e.g., has it sparked research interest by others)?

& Is the argument convincing?

& Are the generalisations justified based upon the evidence presented?

& Are suggestions offered for further research?

Writing the Literature Review

The shape of an article: Similar to an academic essay, the literature review takes an hourglass shape. The

review begins with general statements and progressively narrows towards a specific area of inquiry, then

broadens out again to more general conclusions. As you approach the end of the literature review it is

recommended that you summarise gaps/contradictions/debates in the field by introducing your own

suggestions or questions for future research.

Rationale or purpose: Begin the literature review broadly by generating a rationale or significance for

reviewing the literature. Identify the importance of the inquiry by placing the problem or issue in context so

that readers know why it is a significant field of investigation.

Critique and review of what is known and unknown about the topic: When reviewing previous work, it is

important that you do not simply describe every study that has ever been done on the problem or issue.

Rather you need to be selective, only cite articles that are pertinent to the specific issues with which you are

dealing. Emphasise the major conclusions, findings, or relevant methodological issues of these studies and

avoid unnecessary detail. As you progress through the review and the logic of the argument, offer

suggestions for future research. For instance, do further studies need to be conducted with different

populations, were flaws identified in previous methodologies, could the studies be extended or narrowed


Evaluate your literature review

* Does it show thorough knowledge of the research, theory, concepts, ideology, and opinion?

* Is the reader made aware that the review has been selective and are the criteria for selection and

relevance explained?

* Is there any critical assessment of the reviewed literature?

* Does the review demonstrate a relationship between what others have previously done and the

suggestions offered for future research or study?

* Are transitions provided from one section to another?

* Is there a final summary that clinches the need to do further study?

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