Sunday, July 4, 2021

How to Identify Synthesis in the tables of your PhD Literature Survey

Instructions to my PhD students:
Please note that The taxonomy master and taxonomy detail are only a "structured" way of organizing the information and identifying "codes" and discovering "themes and categories". It is a tool to help you identify the literature support that leads to your PS.

You need to transform this structured information into distilled tables where individual papers at max could be in footnotes.

We discussed in class the tables used by Dr Omar Javaid and Dr Junaid Ansari dissertations tables in the chapter on literature survey. The dissertations are in lms.

You need to design those kinds of tables that fit the thrust of your paper areas.

Most of you have been asked to change/make these tables.

Readings course is about digestion of papers that you have reviewed. When there is indigestion you throw up. You can identify in the undigested food crumbs that you had thrown up, the individual ingredients such as bread, tomato, beef,.. [sorry for the example¦.
Hence when I see reference to "individual" paper Id as column headings or row headings, it is a sign of "undigested" food ingredients.
Your rows and column cells should contain entries that "refer" to multiple papers (group of papers, set of papers, or category of papers) rather to individual papers. Similarly, sentences in your literature survey should be referring to multiple papers. I gave you the dissertations of Dr Junaid and Dr Omar to see the sample tables. But, many of you except Anam Qamar did not get this point.
This synthesis vs listing, digestion, and referring to group of papers instead of individual papers is mentioned clearly in my blogs, in my course outline, repeatedly in my class lectures and in my each viva session.
Even the student whose sample paper was sent to you, had to go through couple of revisions before she got it right. But she did it quickly. I am maintaining an excel where I am maintaining the instructions. Students are either not understanding this or are not putting enough time? Please send this to others and make sure everyone reads.

Tables in your literature survey must be connected to the direction of your research. I.e should be leading to your eventual PS, TS, Or methodology. The final Tables in the paper are not there to show a summary of what individual papers did. The tables are there to highlight the wisdom that you extracted from the survey that is serving as a beacon illuminating the way towards your PS and TS. Any table that is not connected with the direction of research should be modified or taken out.

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