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Can we incorporate old sources in our Literature Review?

Date : May 24, 2016

If a thesis has most of the resources, which are more than ten years old, should it be accepted? What kind of difference or problem it can create in the thesis?

Ever since, we know the age of the research is of vital importance in the field of sciences as, here the building of knowledge is primarily iterative. In the field of arts, social sciences or humanities this has never been an issue until now.

But, what if you come across a social sciences thesis that has all the latest reviews only and ignores what had gone in the past into the research? The situation reversed is also a problem. So what actually is the thumb rule to decide, the acceptable back date researches that can be included in the thesis?

Usually, examiners bring up the age related issues for literature, when they realise that either the content incorporated is all from very old research or it is vice versa, means it is all new. It shows that the writer has failed to achieve what he was actually intending to achieve from the entire attempt of Literature Review.

Your examiner is going to be happy, and acceptable of your content, even if you have incorporated studies that are beyond ten years old when he knows that, as a writer you have located what exactly is your work in the field. The examiner must get convinced, that the writer has understood how and what kind of development is happening in the field, and the reason and stages of the development. It is always a strong point to bring up the problems in the research that were even situated historically, and how they have been handled all the while, and the kind of gap that they have created.

Another addition that will convince and please your examiner with your Literature Review is, when you have situated precisely, where in the field is your contribution going to get placed? These days, the academic territory is very crowded and scholars usually get lost in the space trying to understand what noteworthy place does their research hold? So, reviewing literature is getting into history while at the same time having the grip of the present. Consequently, have a good blend of old and recent studies. Striking the balance is what will convince the examiner, that though you have knowledge of the present, you haven’t overlooked the inception of the field of study, from where it all began!


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