8000 words Literature Review on a Diagnostic Radiography question :



8000 words Literature Review on a Diagnostic Radiography question: IS THERE A CASE FOR NON-SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER SCREENING USING LOW DOSE SPIRAL CT?

For  Literature Review instructions, please follow and read the handbook thoroughly.

The making criteria is also provided  in the handbook.


Aims of the Handbook

The handbook is a guide for students in the Department of Allied Health.  The information in the handbook can also be found in a number of other electronic or paper sources and the document provides links to the definitive data sources wherever possible.

Note that the electronic version of the handbook will be kept up to date and you will be notified of any significant changes.  If you have taken a hard copy of any information please remember to refer back to the electronic version to ensure that you are working with the most up to date information.


1. Module specific information

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  1. Critically evaluate the research evidence base with respect to chosen research topic.
  2. Systematically collect data appropriate to the project and critically analyse and report this information.
  3. Apply a critical understanding of the research process relevant to professional practice.
  4. Produce a cohesive and concise report of the research process.
  5. Assignment Brief

By the end of the module you will produce an 8000 word report. The following information will help you to achieve this goal.


Writing the Report

The project report should be prepared progressively throughout the project.  It is advisable to undertake the literature review at an early stage, ideally before designing data collection.  The supervisor will give consideration to the organisation, timeliness and progression of the project when allocating the final mark.

Draft Report

The draft will take the form on one main chapter of your choice and an annotated plan with subheadings plus a full reference list of literature collected to date.

To expand on the annotated plan idea what we expect is a series of headings with a few sentences of explanation so the supervisor can assess that your argument is covering the correct areas.

The full chapter will allow the supervisor to assess your style of writing to ensure it is of the correct level 3 standard .It is strongly recommended that you submit  a draft  as this will give your supervisor a chance to offer in depth constructive criticism on content, layout and the overall format of the final report. You may negotiate a slight extension to the suggested deadline but please remember that the later you submit the draft then the time you will have to act on the outcome will be reduced. Supervisors will feedback within 7-10 days if drafts are submitted on time but are under no obligation to feed back within that period if the project is poorly managed. You should not make your deadlines become your supervisor’s as this is a busy time for all of us! Your supervisor will only look at each section once.

Once you have received feedback you can meet with your supervisor to discuss and then you are on your own and the supervisor will not be able to provide any further assistance



Word Count: up to 8000 words. This means 8000 is a maximum and you will be penalised if the final count is significantly over this figure. There is no penalty for work which is under 8,000 words but a significant number of words below the limit would tend to indicate that some areas may lack depth of analysis.

Reference citations within the body of your text, are to be included within the word count.

Presentation: Typed/word processed, on A4 paper, size 12 font, 1- 1.5 line spacing.  All pages must be numbered.  The total word count must be presented on the abstract page.

 Margins: A minimum of 4.0 cm for the left (if you decide you want to bind a copy but usual margin if just electronically submitting), 1.5 cm for the right, and 2.5 cm for the top and bottom margins.

Abstract: Approximately 250 words, single spacing- should contain key words.

References: Harvard style (see the Faculty Undergraduate Modular Programme Student Handbook).

Secondary referencing should be kept to a minimum and only used in exceptional cases where it is difficult to obtain the original article (eg translations of foreign texts, historical articles).


Appendices: Inclusion of an appendix /appendices is optional and may contain consent forms, subject information sheets, raw data collected by you during your research (eg complete raw data, summaries of raw data, examples of raw data) or copies of any validated measurement or search tools that you have used for literature reviews. You must feel able to defend the attachment of appendices as ADDING something useful to your work. Don’t be tempted to just add them in just “for good measure”!!! Appendices which have not been thought through carefully and selectively will detract from the quality of your work, although they will not be marked, as such. Appendices are not included in the word count.


Acknowledgements   Acknowledge those who have helped you in your study but keep it brief and professional in style.

 Abstract:  Written in single line spacing on a separate page.  Write your research title again above the abstract. It should not exceed 250 words. This is in many ways the most important part of your literature review.  It determines whether or not people interested in your area of inquiry learn about your work, and it gives the reader a framework on which to hang the details.  It should briefly convey the reason for the review, the overall approach (method), the main findings and conclusions.  The abstract is not the place for a great deal of detail.  Do not append references to the abstract.  Declare the word count of your full work at the end of your abstract.

 Table of contents  A page number reference should be given for each section. An index is not required.  If you have them, a numbered list of figures and tables, each with a title that describes them and the page on which they are situated, should be provided at the end of the table of contents.

 Introduction This should explain your hypothesis, or the question/s you are trying to answer, and  the aim/s you are trying to fulfil by your review of the literature. It “sets the scene” and logically and progressively focuses in on the gap in understanding that you are trying to fill by your orderly and methodical review of the literature. The introduction should contain three clearly identifiable and logically presented elements:-

  1. The reason for the investigation. This sets the scene and justifies your research question/s or aim/s and provides a background
  2. The contribution of others in the field and current schools of thought

iii. The lead in to the main body of the review.  Establish the need for your study and for your method (i.e. systematic literature review).  What relevance does it have and to whom?  Explain how you will proceed with your argument in this review i.e. outline how you have reviewed the literature in a systematic way & how the work is organised.

Conclude this section with your main aim or main research question and identify any secondary aims.

Strategy for reviewing the literature   This section describes how you systematically reviewed the literature and explains why you selected this approach.  What were your criteria for reviewing the literature and why did you choose these?  What was your search strategy? Which databases did you use?   Did you hand-search for literature? Did you refer to “grey” literature?  What key words or word combinations did you use? etc.  Has this topic been reviewed before?  If so, how was it reviewed and why did you choose to review it again and, perhaps, in a different way?  You may decide to use tables or flow-charts to illustrate your search strategy. Essentially this section is your method and should be explicit such that a reader could reproduce what you did exactly. You may find that some of the key points and headings from the lecture on Searching the Literature Systematically will help you organise this section of your work.         

Findings /Review of the selected literature/ Results   This is a critical and systematic (i.e. orderly and methodical) review of the important literature available to date that is relevant to your hypothesis, question/s or aim/s as outlined in your introduction.  Present your findings succinctly.


Subheadings may be used.

Each section of the discussion is expected to progress from the factual (this is what was found) via detailed argument to a more theoretical or generalized conclusion (this is what it could mean).  The following issues should be addressed:

What did you find?

Are there any problems or limitations associated with the literature when trying to address the research question/s or aim/s explained in your introduction?  E.g. was the published research valid, reliable, were there gaps in the literature etc?

Identify any questions/key issues that arise in trying to address your research question/s or aim/s.

What are the findings (results) of your review and how do they relate to your research question/s or aim/s.

So what? What are the practical/clinical implications of your      review findings? How might they influence practice?

Discuss suggestions for further research.  Where do we go from here?

Methodological/approach considerations relating to your search strategy should also be discussed here, i.e. was your search strategy appropriate for the research question or aim/s of your study? Critically evaluate your approach to reviewing the literature.    Would alternative strategies be more appropriate?  How has your chosen strategy influenced your findings?

Your review and discussion of the literature must demonstrate your ability to think critically.  Critical thinking involves a combination of different skills. Make sure you have demonstrated the following:

Analysis – the ability to breakdown material and examine its component parts.

Synthesis – the ability to combine separate elements and make a new coherent whole.  This involves the discovery of new patterns, structures and meanings.

Evaluation – The ability to judge the value of material, based on definite criteria.

Conclusions A short account of your main conclusions. It should encapsulate the key findings, meanings and implications of your literature review.  Make sure that your conclusions relate to the research question or aim/s you stated in your introduction!    Do not introduce any new material here!

References Harvard style (see Faculty Undergraduate Modular Programme Student Handbook). Remember that it is the quality of the references (scope, depth, relevance, up-to-date etc.) that is important, not the quantity.  You should have read everything that you cite. Only include secondary references where absolutely necessary.

A bibliography is not required.

Appendices: Appendices are optional. They are not marked.  If you decide to include appendices they should contain material such as copies of any validated measurement or search tools that you used/discussed in your literature review or perhaps raw data.   For example you may have an appendix containing either complete raw data, summaries of raw data or samples of raw data that you have collected as part of the literature review process.  This may occur if you have chosen to include a quantitative or qualitative analysis of the literature. This raw data may be presented as words (eg. raw data derived from a thematic analysis of the literature) or as numbers (eg. frequency analysis of the literature or meta-analysis).

You should feel able to defend the inclusion of all appendices as adding something to the work and not just placed there “for good measure”! Appendices which have not been thought through carefully and selectively will detract from the quality of your work.

Recommended Word Limits for the Report

for a lit review

Chapter Recommended Minimum Recommended Maximum


Introduction 500 500


Methodology 750 1,250


Literature review 5250 5500
Conclusions 500 750


Totals 7,000 8,000




A Warning about Plagiarism:

All students are warned that unacknowledged use of source material in any assignment submitted as part of their work for the Degree may be held to constitute the offence of plagiarism.  Plagiarism is the counterpart of cheating under examination conditions.  Any suspected case of plagiarism will be investigated and where it is established that a student has committee the offence, the penalties are severe.  They include the automatic forfeiture of the award of the degree, as well as disciplinary action by the University.

Cheating, Collusion and Plagiarism:


What are markers looking for in your dissertation?

Markers will be checking for evidence that you have followed your proposal outline.

In the case of research involving human participants markers will need evidence that Ethical approval was granted.


To achieve a pass your work MUST meet the specific descriptors set out below. 

 Markers will be looking for the extent to which your work satisfies specified descriptors as shown below: 

 Knowledge & understanding

  1. i) Knowledge-base
  • An appropriately comprehensive, detailed and in-depth knowledge base and understanding is evident.
  • You demonstrate knowledge and understanding of relevant research methods and methodological issues appropriate to your specialized area of study.
  • You have undertaken personal responsibility for the development of your own knowledge of relevant research methodology.
  • Your work shows an awareness of the provisional nature of knowledge.
  1. ii) Ethical issues
  • Your work shows evidence that professional and ethical codes of conduct frame your thinking and a critical ethical dimension is incorporated into your writing.
  • Where primary data collection has involved the participation of human subjects, the relevant ethical issues are clearly and fully presented in a manner which shows depth of understanding.
  • Literature reviews reveal, where relevant, that ethical issues have pervaded your thinking as you have explored the literature.

Intellectual skills

  1. i) Analysis
  • There is persuasive evidence of analysis (the ability to breakdown and organise material and examine its component parts) within your literature review or primary data collection project.
  • Your work shows how you have analysed material from the literature in a detailed and comprehensive way, and how you have been able to deal with complexities and contradictions.
  • Where primary data has been collected, you show analysis of your findings appropriate to the nature of the data, and using relevant methods/techniques.
  • Where literature has been reviewed you have systematically analysed your findings.
  1. ii) Synthesis
  • There is clear evidence of synthesis/creativity. Synthesis/creativity involves the formulation of new patterns and meanings to the topic of investigation and your own interpretation should be evident.
  • Your work shows how, with minimum guidance, you have transformed concepts, constructs, evidence from the literature (including abstract material) towards meeting the aim of your study.
  • Literature reviews show how you have synthesized material towards generating and then answering your research question or problem.
  • Primary data collection studies show how you have synthesized existing material to generate your research question and devise your method/s and then how you have synthesized possible meaning from your findings (your interpretation).


iii)       Evaluation

  • Evaluation is demonstrated by a comprehensive and critical review of the literature relevant to your area of investigation and the method/s you have chosen.
  • Your work convincingly shows that you can appraise and evaluate evidence critically to support your conclusions/recommendations, reviewing its reliability, validity and significance.
  • There is evidence of your ability to deal with contradictory information and identify possible reasons for contradictions.
  1. iv) Application
  • Your work shows clearly how you have defined complex problem/s and have applied appropriate knowledge towards finding its/their solution.
  • You show evidence, as appropriate, of flexibility and creativity in ways of solving the problems arising while undertaking your research.
  • You indicate, where appropriate, how your results can be applied to professional practice and/or further investigation. The significance of your findings (statistical, if relevant, and clinical/practical) should be identified and applied to context. (You have considered the “so what? factor”!!).

Transferable skills

  1. i) Communication
  • Your work is presented professionally, scientifically, formally and with appropriate attention to detail.
  • Your writing employs an articulate and coherent academic style, is well organised and shows a clear line of argument.
  • Your work is appropriately concise.
  • You present your ideas, discussions and debates eloquently and fluently.
  • The work is properly referenced and contains no typographical, grammatical or spelling errors.
  • Your work is presented in a format which follows given guidelines, and which, with appropriate editing, may be of a suitable style and standard to submit for publication.


  1. ii) Learning resources and management of information
  • A full range of relevant learning resources has been used and information searching has been achieved with minimum guidance.
  • Your work shows how you have selected and managed material to accomplish your research and produce your results.
  • Within your report there is evidence of group working in the management and implementation of your research.
  • There is evidence that your criteria of judgement have been applied appropriately and criticality is demonstrated.
Level 3/FHEQ Level 6 Indicative Qualities
100 – 90% Exceptional Exceptional scholarship for the subject. Creative and original insight into theoretical issues. Exemplary.
89 – 80% Outstanding Outstanding knowledge and sustained argument and critical evaluation. Mature analysis. Clear evidence of independent thought. Convincing synthesis of a range of appropriate sources. Excellent referencing. Evidence of use of new sources and approaches.
79 – 70% Excellent Knowledge and understanding is comprehensive in both breadth and depth. Strong ability to critically appreciate concepts. Evidence of independent thought. Presentation is fluent and focussed; use of a wide range of evidence. Clear and well-presented discussion. Excellent referencing.
69 – 60% Very Good Comprehensive in content and well-organized argument but evaluation and analysis of ideas could be further developed. Clear evidence of appropriate reading with evidence of having drawn on reading from beyond the course material. Good accurate referencing. Ability to relate theory and concepts to discussion. Content always relevant and well focussed.
59 – 50% Good Sound comprehension of knowledge base. Reasoning and argument generally relevant but could be further developed. Critical evaluation is apparent but ability to conceptualize and/or apply theory could be strengthened with greater focus and more in-depth analysis. Good evidence of reading. Appropriately referenced.
49 – 40% Pass Meets the relevant learning outcomes but mostly descriptive and/or lacks clarity. Some basic evaluation but analysis is not very well developed and could be strengthened. Some misunderstanding of key principles and concepts.  Evidence of appropriate structure but not always well sequenced. Evidence of some reading but limited. Presentation and focus may need improving.
39 – 35% Marginal Fail Little evidence of understanding and overall not reaching the minimum pass standard due to some key omissions in presentation, argument or structure. Argument needs further development. Content not always relevant. Limited evidence of reading.
34 – 30% A Limited Piece of Work Some evidence of effort but missing some essential aspects. May be lacking in evidence of understanding, focus and structure. Likely to have limited discussion with some lack of relevance. Presentation may need to be improved. Likely to show insufficient evidence of reading.
29 – 20% A Limited Piece of Work Some material presented but generally unsatisfactory with some irrelevant or incorrect material. Lack of discussion. Likely to show insufficient evidence of reading. Likely to be incomplete.
19 – 10% A Very Limited Piece of Work Significant deficiencies. Likely to have insufficient, irrelevant or incorrect material. Likely to have very poor structure and no discussion.
9 – 0% Exceptionally Limited Work Insufficient material presented. No evidence of sufficient preparation.

Zero is reserved for failure to attempt an answer but where a submission has been made.


QAA descriptor for a higher education qualification at Level 3 (6)

  • a systematic understanding of key aspects of their field of study, including acquisition of coherent and detailed knowledge, at least some of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of defined aspects of a discipline
  • an ability to deploy accurately established techniques of analysis and enquiry within a discipline
  • conceptual understanding that enables the student:

– to devise and sustain arguments, and/or to solve problems, using ideas and techniques, some of which are at the forefront of a discipline

– to describe and comment upon particular aspects of current research, or equivalent advanced scholarship, in the discipline

  • an appreciation of the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge
  • the ability to manage their own learning, and to make use of scholarly reviews and primary sources (for example, refereed research articles and/or original materials appropriate to the discipline).