Hello and welcome to the video on literature review. In this video, I will help you to move from a preliminary research question to a full research proposal. I will guide you through the first step, the Literature Review. After watching this video, you will be able to explain what a theory is, explain what a theory review is, recognize the relevance of a theory review, and most importantly, conduct a literature review yourself. To achieve this, I will use a very interesting research project of one of my students as an example. His research question is; how does community participation affect the outcomes of infrastructure, and housing upgrading projects in cities of Vietnam, and to what extent does government capacity serve as a precondition to reach high quantity community participation? That may seem like a difficult question. In fact, two questions. The first question is; to what extent does government capacity enable community participation? The second; how does community participation subsequently affect the outcomes of infrastructure and housing upgrading projects? Let's take a moment to consider the research questions. Well, your answer may depend on how much you already know about government capacity, community participation, infrastructure, and housing upgrading projects. You may even have some experience which may guide you. Personally, I would expect that because people participate in these projects, they may make absolutely sure that the quality is high and that the projects fit their needs. But I might be wrong. After all, I am just a person with opinions, assumptions, and information that I get from my own experiences and Google. That is simply not good enough. As you have learned in the introduction video of this MOOC, academic research would be valid and not based on personal biased information and opinions. A good overview of what's already known based on previous research is therefore important. The question is; what is already known about this topic? In order to answer this question, you have to review existing theories and empirical studies on participation, the outcome of infrastructure, and housing upgrading, government capacity. But let's first take a step back. What is a theory? In simple words, a theory presents a connected set of ideas, whereby, we are interested in ideas on the urban social phenomena. A theory review reflects on the state-of-the-art knowledge in the subject area of your own research. Informing you of the main concepts, the definitions, linkages, and the academic debates. Some theories might be well-established and tested, others might merely represent a set of logical ideas which are not yet well-tested. Such a theory review is useful for three reasons. First, it enables you as a researcher to make sense of patterns that we observe in cities. Second, it provides you with lenses through which you can look at reality. Instead of looking randomly, you can choose one perspective and this limit your research. As a result, a theory review prevents you from supporting a random chance occurrence. Finally, you may be able to identify gaps in literature, urban phenomena which are not yet adequately tested or which are hotly debated. In order to conduct a theory review, you may ask five questions. How and where has my topic been addressed in literature and research? Which concepts, definitions, and arguments are important in answering my questions? What is known about the relationship between the concepts, definitions, and arguments? Four, are the findings consistent or do scholars disagree? Five, are there any flaws in the existing body of literature that I can study? During your literature review, you may find new concepts and relationships, it may change your perspective. Well, this may look rather abstract to you. So let's look at our example once again. My student wrote a theory review on the impact on community participation, on infrastructure, and housing upgrading projects in urban Vietnam. You can find the review in the material of this week. You can ask yourself, how is the text organized? What type of information has the outer discus in the various sections? As you can see, the literature review has a logical structure. It first offers an introductory section, and then discusses the concepts. These concepts are, local government capacity, community participation, outcomes, and they are discussed separately. Section 2.5, subsequently discusses their relationships. The last section offers a conclusion. Together, they present an overview of all available knowledge, academic debates, and knowledge gaps. I especially like to draw your attention to the section on the relationships between the concepts. This section is smart and necessary. If you viewed many students master thesis, and I know that most students discuss concepts, but they sometimes do forget to look into their relationships. Yet, it is the most important section. It is the focus of your thesis. So please, don't forget this section, but instead, give it priority. Finally, I want to discuss a question that many of my students ask. Where can I find the theories that I should read? Well, let's not make theory larger than life itself. A theory is not a stand-alone item. It's simply a text that connects ideas, as I explained before in this video. You will not find one specific shelf with theories relevant for your specific research question. You have to actively search for relevant academic books and articles. You may want to start your search in the university library, if you have that option, of course. You may also use Google Scholar. You may especially want to look for academic literature and good journals by top scholars with many quotes. It is of major importance. I cannot stress that enough, that you use scientific literature. So what makes literature scientific? A main characteristic is that the conclusions of the research are carefully supported and validated. The authors describe their research methods. They refer to academic literature, and their work is peer-reviewed. By contrast, sources that you randomly find on the internet, for example, using Google or Wikipedia, they are questionable in terms of their academic value. Research report by well-known institutions such as UN-Habitat or the World Bank, they might be useful. But be aware, your main source of information should be academically validated. If you are interested in learning more about finding academic literature, then I suggest you visit the excellent training and support portal of the Erasmus University Library. With that note, I come to the end of this video. Now that you've watched this video, you are able to explain what a theory is, to explain what the theory review is. You can explain why it is useful and you can develop a theory review yourself. The next step is the conceptualization, and the creation of a conceptual framework as based on your literature review. But for now, congratulations. This is the end of the first step of getting from a preliminary research question to a full research proposal. The Theory Review.