Thursday, October 09, 2014

Literature review: getting down to business

I see that I last wrote on this topic just over two weeks ago. There was a four day holiday for the Jewish New Year and yesterday I started a ten day holiday for the 'Festival of Booths' (as it is quaintly called in English). I've been using this time to progress on the literature review, and indeed my aim is to complete a draft by the end of this holiday period which I can then send to my supervisor.

I was fairly bogged down at the start with the first section, ERP history and future, which has developed into a grab-bag of subjects. This has been written more in the style of the research proposal with many direct quotes from papers, but there is also a certain amount of discussion and criticism.

The second section deals with previous literature surveys: the research proposal mentioned two such surveys but ignored a third which I had printed but decided not to use. For the literature review, I greatly extended my coverage of the first two surveys (adding critical comments), included the third then found two more surveys which I read, included and reviewed.

The meat of the literature review is the third section devoted to case studies of ERP implementations. At first, this started very slowly but once I got going, I was completing one or two reviews a day, as well as finding more material for future review. This section was completed (at least, for the time being) yesterday with several reviews added: it now comprises reviews of 23 different papers along with a long conclusions section. There was actually a 24th paper, but I decided not to include this as it wasn't very recent and held virtually no relevant information.

I have now embarked on the fourth section of the review, which will discuss psychological factors. This is going to be problematic for me as I imagine that the papers will generally be more theoretical than practical. To get started, I reviewed two PhD theses about self-efficacy which I had already mentioned in the research proposal.

When I wrote the research proposal, I generally read only the introductions to all the papers and ignored the methodology; this time around, I am ignoring the introductions and reading closely the methodology sections. Thus one of the above theses was fairly easy to review as it discussed an experiment held in a university, whereas the second was very hard as it was based on interviews held with employees and was structured in a manner not amenable for extracting facts about self-efficacy.

I have printed an article on self efficacy which was published earlier this year; I'm going to read this shortly and hopefully will review it today. I have just found another recently published paper on self-efficacy which I will print tomorrow then review it. I find it very difficult to read papers when they are displayed on the screen: it's much easier to read printed copy, allowing one to go back and forth within the paper. On the other hand, I save everything as it's easy to find a passage, copy it from the original then paste it into my work (always acknowledging the source!).

I received an intriguing letter from the university a week ago: someone in Israel wants to enroll in the DBA programme and asked whether there were other students here. I contacted him and tried to explain as much as possible, trying also to gauge what his motives are. The doctorate is a long and lonely path which requires time and commitment, and I wanted him to make sure that he had the necessary time and commitment. I know that he sent off his application form the other day but I doubt that I'll be hearing from him for a few months until the new semester starts. It will be nice to mentor someone.

[MPP: 524; 0, 1, 6]

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