As part of our department Ph.D. research methodology course, I'm going to give a short online lecture on how to review the literature effectively. As the course organizer asked us to focus on our own research experience, the focus of the talk is on OR-related studies (and logistics and SCM in particular). Also, the lecture is not targeted towards the proposal writing stage, but the whole Ph.D. research stages.
Personally, I try to answer the following questions when reviewing the literature for a new project:
- What is the research gap (based on the academic literature as well as the practitioner literature)?
- What are the most relevant studies to answer the research problem (and similar problems)?
- What is the best mathematical formulation for the basic version of the problem (in terms of the number of variables and constraint, LP relaxation quality, handling complex constraints, performance, etc.)?
- What is the state-of-the-art regarding the solution methods?
- Is there any problem instance widely used by the researchers? If yes, from where can I obtain them? If no, how are the random problem instances generated?
- What are the most important case studies on the research problem?
Are there any other questions that could be added to the list? I would also appreciate your own experience, tips, or any useful resource on the subject (either general or OR-related) and how to answer each question.