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Is this Normal?


User: kaydrew - 11 February 2021 20:32

I am in the process of applying for phd programs. I've submitted several applications so far and one university has requested a bibliography, another writing sample, chapter breakdown of my thesis, and a literature review prior to inviting me to a Zoom interview. Is it normal for schools to request a literature review and chapter outline prior to an offer of placement/acceptance into the school? So far, none of the other programs have made this request. I assumed the literature review came while writing the actual dissertation.

User: Nead - 12 February 2021 09:04

I have heard of a project proposal and writing samples being request but after an interview, but. It can be so competitive so maybe that is the case. I would be wary of giving someone a full literature review though, there not something you write overnight and can change greatly during a PhD project.
I do know it more common to ask post-docs to supply those things before interviews.

User: CH01 - 12 February 2021 20:57

Hello! I think maybe you need some clarification around the extent of the literature review. In most cases, as part of an application, the admissions team want to see a research proposal which is similar to what you have explained.

However, the actual literature review as part of that, is quite minimal and not expected to be thorough. Mainly because the literature review is a core chapter of an actual dissertation and can take quite some time to write! Also, as Nead mentioned, it constantly evolves over the life of the thesis too.

I think a smaller literature review of the key concepts and themes, as well as the key authors in your area of research, is what they would want to see. It shows your writing skills and also your prior research skills before being accepted into the program. Further, it also shows that you have some knowledge in the area and have figured out some potential gaps in the literature to explore.

I hope this helps! Let me know you go.

User: kaydrew - 13 February 2021 15:58

Quote From Nead:
I have heard of a project proposal and writing samples being request but after an interview, but. It can be so competitive so maybe that is the case. I would be wary of giving someone a full literature review though, there not something you write overnight and can change greatly during a PhD project.
I do know it more common to ask post-docs to supply those things before interviews.[/quote]

It makes sense to provide more details after an interview, but not before and I am most definitely not a post-doc (I just finished my 2nd masters). I am quite wary and am likely going to decline. I do have one advisor who is interested, but is awaiting more teachers (she begged me to keep in touch) and another professor who is considering coming out of retirement to work with me. Something seems off, especially with the request of a full literature review. I could understand a chapter breakdown to show I have some sort of idea about where my work is headed. However, as discussed below, it wouldn't hurt to ask for clarification before I make my final decision.

[quote]Quote From CH01:Hello! I think maybe you need some clarification around the extent of the literature review. In most cases, as part of an application, the admissions team want to see a research proposal which is similar to what you have explained.

However, the actual literature review as part of that, is quite minimal and not expected to be thorough. Mainly because the literature review is a core chapter of an actual dissertation and can take quite some time to write! Also, as Nead mentioned, it constantly evolves over the life of the thesis too.

I think a smaller literature review of the key concepts and themes, as well as the key authors in your area of research, is what they would want to see. It shows your writing skills and also your prior research skills before being accepted into the program. Further, it also shows that you have some knowledge in the area and have figured out some potential gaps in the literature to explore.

I hope this helps! Let me know you go.

Hi! I considered that, but I didn't want to seem like I didn't know what I was doing. It seemed like a question I should know the answer to. I spent a lot of time searching and only came up with 20+ page documents. I have about 40 initial sources that I will likely use so it would be quite a long process that seems like it would evolve. Thank you for the advice on how to proceed!

User: rewt - 13 February 2021 23:41

Have you considered emailing them for clarification? I would bet that several people have the same question as you and they will be more than happy to give some advice (it makes their lives easier). Just politely asked how detailed should the literature review be.





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