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Undertaking a Literature Review in Marketing

In: Business and Management

Submitted By fyy1015
Words 8854
Pages 36
By general agreement and on the basis of first hand experience, the review of literature in most student research (and some professional academic research too) is clumsy, naive, turgid, confusing and often down right dull. But given the central importance the literature review holds in our academic writing tradition, and its pivotal role in the academic assessment of research why are we still executing them so badly? Specifically, why do students find them so difficult to write? And academics find them so disheartening to read? There is no shortage of guidance in how to undertake a literature review. Comprehensive guides to business research such as Gill and Johnson (1991) or Cooper (1989) contain some guidance. More comprehensive are the general thesis guides such as Dunleavy (2003), Teitelbaum (1998), Baker (2003), or Evans (1996). There are also many specific guides to undertaking a literature review such as Baker (2000), Rowley and Slack (2004) or Hart (1999). Indeed, any competent trawl of the internet will generate innumerable guides and resources from universities around the world. The issue it seems is not the lack of guidance, but how such guidance is translated into the finished product. As a consequence this article focuses upon how to write the literature review, some techniques that can be used to
^ Correspondence: Mark Gabbott, Department of Marketing, Monash University, P.O. Box 197, Caulfield East Melbourne, Vic 3145, Australia, Tel: 00 61 3 9903 1561, Fax: 00 61 3 9903 2974, Email:
ISSN 1472-1384/2004/4/00411 + 18 £8.00/0 ©Westburn Publishers Ltd.
412 MarkGabbott make the process easier, and some advice on how to avoid sending the reader to sleep. To start we need to understand some background to writing a literature review; this will ensure that when we write, we know our purpose.
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