The discursive construction of literature review: An examination of Chinese PhD students’ information behaviour

Year: 2012

Author: Liao, Jiadong, Han, Jinghe

Type of paper: Refereed paper


Information behaviour is a pertinent practice to students' research work. However, research students, particularly those with English as an additional language, experienced the challenges and complications when studying in a western university. Issues relating to their information behaviour in the research process has largely been under-addressed and/or overlooked in both the fields of library and information science (LIS) and higher education. As part of a larger research project in this field, the paper reported preliminary findings on four Chinese PhD students' attitudes and practices of their literature search. Semi-structured interviews were analysed through Foucault's conceptual framework of discourse. The paper argues that research students' behaviour of literature search is subject to discursive practices, and two forms of discourses - the question-based discourse and the resource-based discourse - are identified in shaping and reshaping PhD students' literature search. This study provides insights for research educators and students to weigh the practical consequences of different discourses in the construction of researchers' scholarly work.