Literature Review

2019-2020

Course Objective

Writing a literature review has a number of objectives:
o The student is challenged to make a detailed study of the literature
on a chosen subject.
o The student is expected to collect scientific information in the
literature on a specific subject, to formulate a clear question and/or
hypothesis, and to write a well-structured paper which includes a
critical evaluation of the subject as treated in the literature, in a
short period of time.
o A critical evaluation entailing that, in addition to classifying known
information, the student develops his/her own perspective on the
subject, based on those available in the literature. This usually
amounts to a consideration of the shortcomings of existing knowledge and
a suggestion as to how new insights may be obtained in the future.
o The student will improve his/her skills in writing a scientific paper
in English in a coherent and reflective way. The supervisor is expected
to give the student constructive support in acquiring this skill.

Course Content

In the master Bioinformatics and Systems Biology it is a compulsory to
either do a literature review or take the course Writing a Grant
Proposal. Both courses are 6EC courses this means that it is a workload
of 4 weeks. There is no schedule for the literature review course and it
can be started the whole year. The timing should be agreed with assessor
and examiner. The coordinator for this course is Dr. H. Hoefsloot,
h.c.j.hoefsloot@uva.nl .

Teaching Methods

Students usually choose a topic of their interest and tries to find an
assessor/supervisor. The topic should be within the scope of the master
program. The content of the literature review must be different from the
issues addressed in the student’s research projects. The choice of
subject is of paramount importance: it must be broad enough to justify
the writing of the review, but it should not encompass an amount of
information too large to be treated in the time available.
Finding an examiner should be done together with the assessor. If the
student has difficulties finding a subject, supervisor or examiner,
please contact the course coordinator.
Several people are involved in the supervision of the literature review.
People that are involved are the assessor, examiner. The assessor does
the daily supervision but can also delegate the supervision to a PhD
student, postdoctoral fellow or permanent staff member at the research
institute or company where the review is performed. The supervisor is
the first point of contact for questions regarding the literature review
and should have expertise regarding subject of the review. The
supervisor supports the student in writing the outline and planning at
the start of the review, gives feedback during the writing process and
discusses the assessment of the literature review with the assessor.
Supervision occurs at regular intervals. The supervisor and student meet
during at least three occasions:
o To discuss the outline of the review
o To discuss the first draft version of the review
o To discuss the final version on the review (as part of the assessment)
The student is responsible for arranging these meetings.
The assessor is a permanent staff member at the research institute or
company where the literature review is performed. The assessor reads and
assesses the final versions of the paper. The supervisor and assessor
can be the same person.
The examiner is a permanent staff member and is appointed as examiner by
the Examinations Board. The examiner reads and assesses the final
version of the report and is, together with the assessor, responsible
for the grade.

Method of Assessment

The assessment will be done by the assessor and the examiner, in
consultation with the supervisor. The assessment will be based on the
final version of the paper using the criteria listed on the Final
Assessment Form. The final grade (also in case the final grade is a 5 or
lower) has to be submitted within 20 working days after the final date
of the project.

General Information

Course Code XM_0007
Credits 6 EC
Period Ac. Year (sept)
Course Level 600
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator dr. ir. H.C.J. Hoefsloot
Examiner
Teaching Staff dr. ir. K.A. Feenstra
dr. D. Molenaar
dr. ir. H.C.J. Hoefsloot
dr. S. Abeln

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.