This is an article critique of the article "Literature Reviews of: A commentary on Boote and Beile's" which is authored by Maxwell, Joseph and published by "Educational Researcher Journal" in December 2006.
The article is centered on the dissertation's literature review for research students at the doctoral level. Two views are given where Boote and Baile the authors of the book, "Scholars before Researchers: on the Centrality of the Dissertation Literature Review in Research Preparation." Who hold the traditional view that a thorough literature review for a dissertation's research area should be done and those who want a selective review of the literature review relating directly to the proposed study. The criteria of Boote and Baile is based on the idea that a literature review that meets high standards of on their criteria indicates that the doctoral candidate has a thorough, sophisticated understanding of a field of study which is totally foundational. The author of the article emphasizes on an alternative, non-foundational of literature review that is one of the major components of research design and which can draw on sources broadly other than published literature. The author of the article gives an outline that helps doctoral candidates identify relevance in their research designs as highlighted by authors of other books.
Boote and beile argue that literature review is the fundamental task of dissertation and research preparation and Doctoral students receive minimal formal training and guidance from faculty or published sources in how to analyze and synthesize research literature and therefore most dissertation literature reviews are poorly conceptualized and written, they conclude that literature reviewing should be a central focus of predissertation coursework and integrated throughout the program. The author agrees with Boote and baile's claims as being in consistence with his experience in teaching and advising the doctoral students and according to the authors view the authors' conception of a proper dissertation literature reviews undercuts the values of their insights because they emphasize on thoroughness and comprehensiveness which confounds literature review articles for publications with dissertation literature reviews and therefore the authors( boote and Baile) misses the relevance of centrality. Hence the author argues that the neglect of relevance leads them (other authors) to misrepresent the essential characteristics of a good dissertation literature review and to propose inappropriate standards for evaluating such reviews.
The author emphasizes on relevance where relevant works are those with important implications for the design, conduct, or interpretations of the study. Also all the results of demarcating, critically analyzing, and synthesizing literature should not be presented in the dissertation itself. However the author's disagreement with Boote and Baile on the centrality of relevance reflects a division within the educational research community over the proper form and goal of literature review that are part of dissertations and dissertation proposals. According to the author, this division is between those who hold a traditional view that a thorough literature review for a dissertation's research area should be done and those who want a selective review of the literature review relating directly to the proposed study. Therefore Boote and baile failed to recognize and address the differences between the two views which undermine their recommendations for improving dissertation literature reviews by holding on the foundationalist conception of the position and function of literature reviews in a given research. The author on the other hand gives a non-foundationalist view of literature review that it is one of the major components of a research design.
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Doctoral training requires that one learns to understand and apply published research and scholarly items. However this is normally neglected leading to lack of relevance in most of the dissertations' literature reviews. There is need to educate doctoral candidates on the goal of the dissertation writing which is to read and use published research as opposed to literature review.
Other than research preparation, relevance is an important component for the doctoral candidates because they need to understand and use research findings from various topic areas that are widely covered.
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