Evaluating prior scholarship in literature reviews of research articles: A comparative study of practices in two research paradigms

Becky S.C. Kwan*, Hang CHAN, Colin Lam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Evaluations of prior scholarship play a crucial role in the literature review (LR) of a research article by showing how the boundary of an area of inquiry can be further advanced by the writer's work. Yet, many inexperienced writers find evaluating others' work a major challenge. Although the task has received some attention in research and writing manuals, advice given tends to be rather general, often with little distinction made of practices followed in different paradigms. This gap could have resulted from the scarcity of empirical work in this regard. Motivated by both these gaps, this study examines how researchers in two paradigms evaluate others' work in LRs. LRs of 80 articles were collected from four journals of Information Systems. Forty of the articles were drawn from two journals that follow a strong behavioural science research paradigm while the other 40 were from two journals that show a strong design science research paradigm. Evaluations in the LRs were analyzed based on a conceptual framework developed from the CARS model (. Swales, 1990) and the work on academic evaluations in . Hunston (1993a, 1993b) and . Hunston and Thompson (2000). The analysis aims to characterize and compare (a) the major types of evaluation acts performed by writers in the two research domains, (b) the entities that they evaluate and (c) the value parameters they employ. Results show marked cross-domain differences in the three areas. This article will discuss how the findings and the integrated conceptual framework can inform teaching of evaluations in LRs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-201
Number of pages14
JournalEnglish for Specific Purposes
Volume31
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

User-Defined Keywords

  • Academic evaluations
  • Behavioural science research
  • Design science research
  • Information Systems
  • Literature reviews
  • Research articles

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