Q: How do I write a critical literature review where I can justify a research topic?

Detailed Question -

I am a graduate student who wants to justify a research topic around using mobile learning to meet learners’ needs through a recommendation system (based on AI). I am having problems with getting specific papers that will help me achieve that objective. The review is to help me get a justification, identify gaps, and hence make my thesis a researchable one. I am at a loss for how to achieve the objective as I have searched several sources without making any headway. Thank you.

1 Answer to this question

Hello David – Welcome to the forum.

By mobile learning, we presume you mean learning using a mobile phone as a tool in which the learner receives feedback from artificial intelligence (AI), and you are looking for research that supports this mode of learning. In other words, the mobile, by means of one or more apps, simulates one-on-one learning (with the AI replacing a live tutor), and you have not been able to retrieve an adequate number of relevant studies to justify your choice of that research topic.

To take a positive view, insufficient search results may mean that the topic is indeed one that is ripe for research, and your findings are bound to be original—you will be a pioneer in the field. :-) However, this presupposes that your searches were carried out competently. Your problem is uncommon in that your searches have turned up very few results; usually, the problem is that of overabundance of results.

You may want to expand your search, and here are some ways of doing so.

  • Use more than one search engine. If you have used Google, try Bing or Yahoo; better yet, try a meta search engine such as Dogpile or Mamma.
  • Search for relevant researcher groups online and post your query there for others to respond. You may try out the Researcher Voice group from a related brand, R Voice. Visit Researcher Voice on Facebook here.

Apart from that, here are a few resources from here that you may find useful.

Happy searching and researching!