Monday, November 10, 2014

Literature review: second draft completed

I wrote three weeks ago that I had completed the first draft of my literature review. Although I mentioned that it ran to 93 pages, I neglected to mention that it contained about 41 thousand words (including references). I sent it to my supervisor; I received the printed copy back last Sunday (2 November). My supervisor says that the draft is far too long: the review should be about 10K words in length.

It took a few days to figure out how I could quarter the size of the draft. The section on previous literature reviews was maybe eight pages long; by cutting out all the details along with my critical comments, the new version was a touch under two pages long. It was more difficult to understand the section discussing case studies on ERP implementations, but one day the penny clicked. Instead of discussing paper by paper, I should take the six research questions about companies from my research proposal and discuss the studies in the context of those questions. Of course, I had to prune the text drastically.

Once I had finished that, I could devote myself to editing the very long section of psychological issues. I had found seven different constructs (such as cognitive style, perceived management support and self-efficacy), then for each construct I presented a definition and whatever papers that I could find on the subject and ERP. After a few evenings of editing, I was able to reduce this section in size.

The second draft contains just over 22K words, including the bibliography. There's been a drastic reduction in size (I wish I could lose weight in the same way that I have lost words) but it probably needs to be reduced further in size. I could ignore the bibliography (2.8K) and say that the first section is a history of ERP and not really part of the literature review; this would reduce the word count to a mere 14K words.

Hopefully I won't have to wait two weeks to receive the supervisor's response. Apart from the fact that I am left bereft of doctoral work, these gaps eat into my proposed timetable.

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