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Literature studies


The RMRD SA may request a researcher to complete a literature study when the scope of the project proposal was too wide, uncertain or may overlap previous studies. In performing a literature study both the researcher and the RMRD SA will have a better understanding and clarity of the project in hand.

The main aim is for the literature study to culminate in a successful project protocol and on to a fully funded and successful project. Please note that a literature study is not intended to be a comprehensive literature review, i.e. don’t evaluate the literature on the topic, please use the following guidelines.

The literature study should be written in a format which could be considered appropriate for publishing as a scientific review article. Thus bear in mind that reviewers of the literature study will be experts in this field.

The value of a typical literature study lies not in its length, nor its number of references, but in its appropriateness and relevance to the study field. Please restrict yourself as far as possible to 20 pages.

Guidelines for writing the literature study

  • Give a brief background to the project proposed
  • Provide sufficient evidence to the reviewers that the proposed research team is familiar with the subject
  • Confirm that the subject is of importance to the relevant industry
  • Describe the extent of current knowledge on the subject relevant to the proposal
  • Identify important gaps in knowledge that need to be addressed
  • Reveal if similar work has been done before, either locally or internationally; and if so, explain why it needs to be repeated (indicate limitations of the previous studies)
  • If appropriate provide evidence that the methodology to be used has been tested and accepted

Scientific language and terminology

  • Scientific terminology and writing style is appropriate
  • References must be up to date, showing that the latest information has been considered
  • Articles in accredited scientific, refereed journals are preferred. Un-refereed work, lay publications and electronic websites must be kept to a minimum
  • Acronyms should be defined
  • New terminology or techniques should be explained briefly
  • We have prepared a guide to writing a Literature study
Last updated 2019