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  • In undertaking a literature review, it became clear that not always is there coherence between the principles...
  • By undertaking a literature review, it became clear that not always is there coherence between the principles...

Is there any difference between using by and in here? The literature review has already been carried out, if that matters.

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In is incorrect in this sentence. The correct preposition would be by: "By undertaking a literature review ..." –  Kris Jun 11 '13 at 5:53
    
The context following the example suggests a different tense is required than what was given. Among the other concerns, I think it may be a better candidate for writers, per the guidance outlined within by @Kris. –  JustinC Jun 11 '13 at 6:57
    
@JustinC I don't think Writers would want this at all. It's about the preposition to use in this situation, which is definitely on topic here, within reason –  simchona Jun 11 '13 at 7:03
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closed as general reference by MετάEd, Kris, Kristina Lopez, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, tchrist Jun 15 '13 at 14:28

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2 Answers

I think Through a review of the literature, it became clear that or something similar is better than either. Both in and by seem to imply connection or causality between the undertaking of the review and the meaning of the review undertaken. (Of the two, I believe that In ... is better. )

That which is learned from the review, unless I'm mistaken, is not dependent on the undertaking of the review.

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This is a good answer. Neither of OP's versions can easily be salvaged so long as that word undertaking stays there. Your suggested rewording involves relatively minimal changes, and uses perfectly natural phrasing. –  FumbleFingers Jun 10 '13 at 21:14
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What FumbleFingers says. Or even more simply, "A review of the literature revealed that ... " –  StoneyB Jun 10 '13 at 21:33
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All of these dodge the issue that it didn't do any such thing as becoming clear. In fact, clear is a perceptual predicate, which presupposes a human perceiver, who is not identified here, and who is not owning up to the responsibility for describing the perception. That unidentified perceiver (provisionally identified with the equally unidentified reviewer of the literature already presupposed) needs to be mentioned. I.e, it became clear to me that ... Otherwise you're lying. –  John Lawler Jun 10 '13 at 22:06
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Unlike on writersSE, the purpose of a question here is not proof-reading or improving the literarily. It is better not to suggest alternatives when not specifically asked for. It seems the OP likes to know the difference in using the prepositions in and by in a sentence like the one given. –  Kris Jun 11 '13 at 5:51
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when "in undertaking a review" is used in a conversation to someone , it would imply that the addressee is being asked to embark on a systematic search of the available and accessible literature to compile a document supporting his/her claim or theory. This may vary from subject to subject.

In science this would mean that the practical aspect is to be compiled into a scientific document after taking stock of all published literature on the topic until the current date. The researcher would also have to incorporate his/her work as a new recent development in this area.

In arts however the researcher should delve into the library bookshelves (online and hard) accumulating all the literature there is on the subject. He/she then has the freedom to compile a document on the topic to either publish or to incorporate as a thesis chapter. science doesnt allow you to put reviews as your thesis chapters..(correct me if iam wrong)

BY undertaking a review is a form of reported speech when the author is justifying his findings based on the exhaustive review he/she has prepared ....

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