Following are definitions to some of the terms used in the program.


Literature is a broad term encompassing a range of texts relevant to a topic or area of study. These texts are primarily “scholarly” publications, but can include other media where appropriate. “White literature” is the term used for commercially published material, while “grey literature” encompasses material produced by government, industry, and scholarly associations (policy papers technical reports, theses, etc.).

narrative literature review

A narrative literature review is an account of the relevant studies on a particular topic. Presenting this in a rational and rigorous way means not being selective, biased or subjective in your judgments. Your story positions your research within the field of study, so this tends to be the approach used in writing theses.

systematic literature review

A systematic literature review involves only drawing on literature that meets a specific set of criteria to ensure it is trustworthy, reliable, and objective. The literature selected on this basis is treated as data to be analysed and evaluated. This approach is most common in medical and health research.


Being critical means not accepting ideas and evidence at face value. Questioning, examining assumptions, and making discerning judgments are key elements in the critical evaluation of the literature.


To be scholarly involves careful attention to detail. Evidence and arguments are weighed up carefully, informed by a strong knowledge base. Other key features of good scholarship are precision, clarity, logic, and formality.

peer review

For research articles published in journals, the most reputable undergo a process whereby a number of experts (peer scholars) evaluate the rigour of a paper and its contribution to the field of study.

field of study

The field of study is the main discipline or subject area.

concept map

A concept map is a visual representation of how the various parts of a topic or issue are linked and interrelated – often in the form of a chart, diagram, or graphic image.

research question

With research being a form of inquiry (i.e., there is something you’d like to find out or test), a guiding question that captures the essence of the topic, problem or issue helps to anchor the study.

thesis statement

This is a sentence in the introduction of an essay that encapsulates what the paper is about, argues or focuses on. It is sometimes described as the overall proposition. Because it leads the reader into the focus of the paper, the thesis statement is best positioned at the end of the introduction.