Postgraduate study skills in science, technology or mathematics
Postgraduate study skills in science, technology or mathematics

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Postgraduate study skills in science, technology or mathematics

1.7.2 Knowledge of background literature

Research is not conducted in isolation; it happens in a context of prior thinking, prior knowledge, prior evidence, and prior practice. One key skill is the demonstration of awareness of that context and of how it shapes your own research. The examiner will be looking for:

  • seminal texts correctly cited, with evidence that you have read them and evaluated them critically

  • references accurately reflecting the growth of the literature from the seminal texts to the present day

  • identification of key recent texts on which your own PhD is based, showing both how these contribute to your thesis and how your thesis is different from them

  • relevant texts and concepts from other disciplines cited

  • organisation of all of the cited literature into a coherent, critical structure, showing both that you can make sense of the literature – identifying conceptual relationships and themes, recognising gaps – and also that you understand what is important.


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