literature review

literature review  

  By: Monika Saroha on April 27, 2018, 8:15 p.m.

is there any upper limit to the number of research papers to be read for literature review purpose?

or how many research paper is sufficient for Ph.D. thesis literature review chapter?

Re: literature review  

  By: Andy Nobes on May 3, 2018, 11:44 a.m.

Hi Monika,

Thanks for your question. We receive this question often on our research writing courses. Here are some useful video clips which might help answer your query:

AuthorAID Online Course Q1 - literature review (how many papers should I used in my literature review?)

Get Lit: The Literature Review (this is a long video which may provide a better answer for your PhD thesis)

AuthorAID Research Writing Online discussion

Could anybody else provide a more concise written answer for Monika and others?

Best wishes


Andy Nobes

Forum Administrator

Re: literature review  

  By: Monika Saroha on May 7, 2018, 6:41 a.m.

thank you, sir, for the links.

Re: literature review  

  By: Richard de Grijs on May 8, 2018, 5:45 a.m.

Hi Monika,

Let me add some thoughts, in response the Andy's request. I have responded to this same questions many times to students taking the AuthorAID MOOC, in fact. For a start, I would recommend that you start reading widely around your area of interest. Start with some recent review articles, and follow the reference trail from there. That is, when you see a reference to something interesting or relevant, check out that reference. Keep doing this until you get the feeling that all new papers you find tell you pretty much the same thing, and you are not gaining (m)any new insights anymore. At that point, you have reached a saturation level -- and at the same time you have gained a great overview of the state of your field. There is no hard and fast rule as to how many papers one should read, or how far back to go -- after all, some of the most seminal papers in your field may have been written 50 years ago. They may not be fully correct anymore, but they most likely represented the basis of the field, so it would be advisable to know about them. Therefore, I normally object to people saying that you should just focus on the last 5 or 10 years -- the most recent papers will tell you the current state of the field, but by not going back further, you are missing out on your field's foundations. I hope that this helps!

Richard de Grijs

Community Moderator