Critically reviewing and evaluating the literature, HR Management

It is important to remember that the review needs to comprise a critical evaluation of the subject area through the books and articles. You need to appraise the arguments and views of the authors, compare them with others and assess their strengths and weaknesses. Structuring your own understanding in this way leads you to develop your own views and ideas - perhaps agreeing with one approach or other, or seeing ways in which the work of others may be extended, or perhaps even pioneering new territory! This should also help you structure your definition of the issue or problem you are to investigate for the dissertation.

It is particularly useful to seek out articles that put contrary viewpoints, so that you can compare different approaches. You should also try to establish any patterns or trends in thinking about the subject area. When reading a particular reference, ask yourself the following questions about the work:

¨  What is the basis of the author's views - does it draw on original research or is it developing the work of others (and if so, who)?

¨  What is the background and experience of the author - practising accountant, manager, journalist, academic, etc. - from which their ideas derive?

¨  If the work is research-based, what enquiry methods are being used and how was the data collected?

¨  How recent is the reference - when was it published, when was the research carried out, and is it still relevant?

Finally, here, remember to keep accurate records of all your sources. Referencing is particularly important in academic work and all your sources need to be acknowledged.

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