ROUTE #1: Getting Started
ROUTE #1: Chapter-by-Chapter


Understand the broader literature within which your main journal article and chosen route fit

In this section, we discuss (a) the need to understand the broader literature, (b) the use of review articles to help you understand this literature more quickly, and (c) what you should consider when reading through these review articles so that you can put the main journal article and your chosen route in context.

The need to understand the broader literature

All replication-based dissertations build on (a) a broader literature base and (b) the main journal article that sets out the study you are duplicating, generalizing from, or extending. Not only are you unlikely to be an expert in the field you are interested in before you started your dissertation, but in many cases, neither is the reader (i.e., the reader may include your supervisor/tutor or the person marking your dissertation). Getting some sense of the background to the area that you are studying helps put the main journal article and your chosen route in context. When we talk about putting your main journal article in context, we simply mean that research very rarely takes place in isolation (i.e., is truly novel). Instead, most pieces of research chip away at narrow parts of a particular sub-field (e.g., the journal article, Quality assurance labels as drivers of customer loyalty in the case of traditional food products, published in the journal, Food Quality and Preference in 2012 simply examines one driver of the sub-field, customer loyalty, namely quality assurance labels, of which there are dozens of drivers, in a very narrow context/setting, traditional food products, of which there are literally thousands of alternative contexts/settings).

When you come to write up, this background will form a part of your Literature Review chapter. However, far more important at this stage, you need to understand the literature that underpins the main journal article before you move onto critically evaluating the main journal article in STEP TWO because this background literature will help you to identify the many theoretical components that make up your main journal article. In order to learn about the background to your main journal article, as well as these theoretical components, a good starting point is to look for review articles that summarize large sections of the literature around a given sub-field (e.g., customer loyalty or purchasing behaviour), which will save you a significant amount of time researching the literature.

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