Degrees and the Nature of the Literature Review by Chris Hart

Came across a table presenting the differences and functions of the literature review amongst the various degrees such a bachelor, master and PHD.

It came from this book (page 15): Hart, C. (1998). Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination (Published in association with The Open University). London: Sage Publications.

I thought it was a very helpful summation. We always mentioned literature review as a singular concept to our students but expectations of the depth and breadth of the review do differ in different programmes. More are expected from the higher degree candidates.

The table is re-posted here:

Degree and research product Function and format of the literature review in research at these levels
BA, BSc, BEd
Essentially descriptive, topic focused; mostly indicative of main, current sources on the topic.
Analysis of the topic in terms of justification for the project
MA, MSc, MPh
Dissertation or thesis
Analytical and summative, covering methodological issues, research techniques and topics. Possibly two literature-based chapters, one on methodological issues, which demonstrates knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages, and another on theoretical issues relevant to the research topic/problem.
PhD, DPhil, DLitt
Analytical synthesis, covering all known literature on the problem, including that in other languages. High level of conceptual linking within and across the theories. Summative and formative evaluation of previous work on the problem. Depth and breadth of discussion on relevant philosophical traditions and ways in which they related to the problem.

I would recommend this book to postgraduate students who are not familiar with literature review or are not confident of preparing the review well.