Literature Survey

What is expected from a literature survey

You need to prove that you have obtained a good insight into your research field and that you are able to describe and critize the various methods proposed so far in the literature. Among others, in your Literature Survey you should:
  • Describe technical contents properly, with correctness and clarity.

  • Propose groups of papers based on their methodologies, properties and characteristics.

  • Describe the strengths and weaknesses of the papers. For instance, under what conditions a method can be applied, how is the expected performance, etc.

  • It might help before you start writing your document, to read a few review journal papers. This will give you the idea of how to structure your own Literature Survey in a comprehensive way, keeping the presentation coherent and just to focus on what is the most important content/discussion.

Together with the literature survey, already start with the detailed description of your main research question(s) as well as a more detailed plan of approach and time schedule for the next period. Keep in mind your research questions while looking/adding papers in your survey.

Hints for searching suitable papers

How to find papers:

Selecting the type of papers:

The quality of the sources is of paramount importance. In principle, the degree of review a paper has undergone is a measure for this quality. So from highest quality to lowest quality, consult journal papers, books, conference papers, PhD theses and technical reports.

Railways Engineering:

  • Railway journals. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit and Vehicle System Dynamics: International Journal of Vehicle Mechanics and Mobility. Other railway journals without impact factor can also be consulted: the International Journal of Rail Transportation and Journal of Rail Transport Planning and Management. TUDelft has not subscription for the International Journal of Railway Technology, thus please ask me for the full papers (we have hard copies).

  • Other journals depending on your field. Railways Condition Assesment and Monitoring: IEEE journals, Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing, Structural Control and Health Monitoring, Engineering Structures, Experimental Mechanics, Journal of Sound and Vibration, Meccanica. Railway Modeling: Wear, Computers and Structures, International Journal of Mechanical Sciences, Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Part J: Journal of Engineering Tribology, Tribology Letters, International Journal of Fatigue, Journal of Computational and Nonlinear Dynamics. Maintenance and KPI's: Journal of Infrastructure Systems, Reliability Engineering and System Safety, Computer-Aided Civil and Infrastructure Engineering, Risk Analysis.

  • Books (Springer, Elsevier, Cambridge, Princeton, ...)

  • Conference papers: ASME/ASCE Conferences like the Joint Rail Conference, International Workshop on Structural Health Monitoring, International Conference on Railway Technology: Research, Development and Maintenance, International Conference on Contact Mechanics and Wear of Rail/Wheel Systems, International Symposium on Dynamics of Vehicle on Roads and Tracks, International Conference on Computational Structures Technology, International Workshop on Railway Noise. Other conferences might also be interesting from the methodological point of view: IEEE conferences like ITSC and WCCI, TRB Annual Meeting, IFAC conferences like CTS.

  • PhD theses

  • Technical reports: Only select/read these to get informed about most recent work by top researchers in the field.

Systems and Control:

  • Journal papers (in decreasing order of quality): IEEE journals, Automatica, Transportation Science, Transportation Research Part A,B,C,D,E, ..., International Journal of Robust and Nonlinear Control, Discrete Event Dynamic Systems: Theory and Applications, European Journal of Control, International Journal of Control, IET Intelligent Transport Systems, ..., European Journal of Transportation and Infrastructure Research, ..., Transportation Research Record.

  • Books (Springer, Elsevier, Cambridge, Princeton, ...)

  • Conference papers (in decreasing order of quality): IEEE Conference of Decision and Control, Internat. Symp. on Transportation and Traffic Theory (ISTTT), IEEE conferences, ..., European Conference on Control, IFAC conferences, ..., Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board, TRAIL PhD Congress.

  • PhD theses

  • Technical reports: Only select/read these to get informed about most recent work by top researchers in the field.