Last Updated on 8 October 2012

1.3 Literature Survey

Why bother with a Literature Survey? How do you do it? Here are some motivation, tips and samples.

5 Good Reasons to Write a Literature Survey

  1. Itís required by the HKUST CSE Dept. in the introduction of all FYP proposals, progress reports and final reports.
  2. It shows that you not only understand what you have done, but you understand what others have done related to your subject Ė the broader context. Brilliant people with PhDs have already done lots of work on your subject. If you can tell people about what research has already been done and what methods already exist, then your readers will think that at least you are interested in your topic, have some self-initiative and are informed and up-to-date.
  3. It shows that you are intelligent enough to evaluate the quality of the other work done on the subject, i.e., it shows that you are capable of thinking critically and identifying strengths and weakness.
  4. It gives you opportunity to tell how your project is related to previous work done by others on the subject.
  5. It tells the reader if you are simply going to duplicate othersí work for the sake of gaining a better understanding, improve upon othersí work or perhaps combine the methodology of two or more existing approaches to solving a problem.
     

Tips for Writing a Literature Survey

  1. 做獵人! BE A HUNTER! Go online and search for articles, books and papers related to your subject. Be creative and persistent in your keyword search until you hunt down good references or examples.
  2. Ask your advisor for recommendations (but donít totally rely only on these!)When you read some literature that you think is useful and related, first record the citation on your list of references, using the Turabian Citation Style (6th edition)
  3. When you read some literature that is not very useful, do not include it on your list of references. More references do not mean a better list of references. Useless references only confuse a careful reader and make you lose credibility.
  4. In each document, identify the approach(es)/method(s) for solving problem(s), and compare this/these with what you already know.
  5. Identify which approaches and/or methods you will use and omit in your FYP.
  6. After you feel satisfied that you know all or most of the existing approaches/methods, for each one:
    • List out all the approaches/methods, in a logical sequence (perhaps in chronological order), including both those you will use and those you will omit
    • For each approach/method:
      • Describe how it works and what its components are
      • Tell what kinds of problems it is good at solving
      • Tell what kinds of problems it is poor or limited at solving
      • Mention other strengths and/or weakness of each approach
      • Tell if you will use or omit the approach for your FYP and why or why not
  7. For more information, see Masterpaper.com's Literature Review,
  8. Ask your CSE Communication Tutor for help
  9. Read Writing a Research Paper by Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL).  OWL suggests that you think about the following:
    • What facts does the reader need to know in order to understand the discussion that follows?
    • Who has done previous work on this problem?
    • What theory or model informed your project?
    • What facts are already known that support or don’t fit the theory?
    • What will the reader know about the subject already, and what will you need to tell them so they can understand the significance of your work?
       

Sample Literature Surveys

Room-Level Indoor Localization

Room-level indoor localization is a hot new technology that can be applied in many areas. We found three popular methods for applying it.

Active Bat
This method was developed by the University of Cambridge AT&T Computer Laboratory in 1997. It uses radio-synchronized ultrasound instead of infrared and provides a higher level of precision. However, Active Bat infrastructure is costly both to purchase and to install.

Cricket
This method was developed by Nissanka B. Priyantha, Anit Chakraborty, and Hari Balakrishnan in 2000. It emphasizes a lack of dependence on a centralized structure to implement a complete positioning system. Cricket requires the purchase and installation of special beacons and receivers.

WALRUS
This method was developed by Gaetano Borriello, Alan Liu, Tony Offer, Christopher Palistrant and Richard Sharp in 2005. It is a unique mixture of other schemes. For example, it uses existing technology to reduce costs (like Place Lab and Radar); it decentralizes for the purpose of maintaining privacy (like Cricket and GPS); it uses human-inaudible ultrasound (like Cricket and Active Bat); and it provides room-level precision (like Active Badge). The strengths of WALRUS are: no specialized and costly hardware is needed; room level precision, since ultrasound detection is accurate nearly 100% of the time when used within 10m of the server beacon; and well suited for non-interactive awareness in devices that move at human speeds.

Others
Other methods also exist, but they are either for outdoor localization or are unsuitable for what we want to do.

Here is a chart by Gaetano Borriello et al. [2] comparing with different methods of indoor localization.


Figure 1 - Summary of location sensing systems by Gaetano Borriello [2]
 

For our final year project we combined the features of WALRUS, Active Bat and Cricket to come up with a new technology for room-level localization. In particular, we used the concept of human-inaudible ultrasound.


Intelligent Location-Based Friend Finding Services

1.3.1 Herecast

Herecast is a Location-Based WiFi Services application created by Mark Paciga in September 2003 [11]. It started as his MSc project at the University of Western Ontario (UWO). It uses WiFi signals to locate the position of users, and it uses the information for social purposes, such as a friend-finder and a location-based message board. Herecastís map covers the area of UWO, but the resolution is such that precision is limited only to buildings or large areas. As a result, the position of users is not very precise. In our design, we aim to locate users with a precision of 2-3 meters.

1.3.2 Global Positioning System (GPS) based applications

The most popular wireless location-based technology is the Global Positioning System (GPS) [6]. Most cars use this technology to guide their way, while Loopt [12] uses it to provide a social network services, such as finding friends and sharing information about buddies. However GPS has its drawback, the reliability drops when it is used indoors, as the GPS signals have difficulty penetrating building walls. Ted Morgan, CEO of Skyhook, said the location system is more accurate than global positioning systems that use satellites to find locations, saying "GPS was designed by the military for guiding missiles," he said. "It performs poorly in urban areas where buildings block the view of satellites, and it doesn't provide any coverage inside of buildings." [12]

With enough access points, Wi-Fi based applications can work smoothly both indoors and outdoors. The benefit of using Wi-Fi is much more significant in Hong Kong since Hong Kong has an increasing number of Wi-Fi access points. Also, the high density of concrete buildings makes Hong Kong one of the best places to adopt this technology.

1.3.3 Google Latitude

Google Latitude is a location-aware mobile application developed by Google. It uses signal from cell tower as a source to estimate the userís current location. It allows a mobile phone user to track him or her and track other users where he/she is in the Google map. Although the system knows the location of the user, the user can protect the privacy by selecting whether his or her information and location would be shown to the others. [14]

Since the coverage of cell tower is really huge, therefore the location estimation of Google map may result with an error tolerance of 100m. The user may find it not precise enough if he or she really want to find other frineds using this Google application.


A HKUST Adventure Game for a Personal Digital Assistant

1.3.1 RPGs
Role-playing games (RPGs) are a branch of video games in which players typically have various attributes centering on one or more personalities (ďavatarsĒ) who possess specific skills and determine the outcome of the story. One of the attractive features of RPGs is that each playerís attributes are clearly displayed in form of numeric values, instead of simply an abstract graphical representation.


Figure 1.3.1 - Old RPG in Unix OS
 

The first generation of RPGs began in the mid-1970s. At that time, RPGs were written at a university and mainly Unix-based and text-based. In 1980, Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) was released, and it became the most popular RPG for a few years. Starting in 1988 with Pool of Radiance, SSI Company produced a series of RPGs based on the D&Dís rules. This led to in the success of some other famous RPG games such as Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy.

In the mid 1990s, gamers saw the next major revolution in RPGs. The RPG market demanded higher quality and features, and players became hard to satisfy. Therefore RPGs were created with longer playing times, more complicated quests, better audio, and full-motion videos. Final Fantasy VII was one of the most popular games developed by SQUARE. It was released in 1997 for Sony's PlayStation and in 1998 for Microsoft's Windows-based personal computers. With brand-new graphics, outstanding music, and colorful scenery, as of December 2005, the game had sold more than 9.8 million copies worldwide.


Figure 1.3 - Final Fantasy (RPG) running on a PDA
 

In the early 21st century, thousands of game companies have been expanding their business to the mobile device market, and numerous famous RPGs now run on PDA and mobile phones.

1.3.2 PDA games
A mobile game is a video game played on a mobile phone, smartphone, PDA or handheld computer. Simply speaking, a PDA game is a game that can be executed on a PDA platform.

The first famous game to be pre-installed onto a mobile phone was Snake on selected Nokia models in 1997. The Snack series has became the most-played videogame in the world, with over a billion people having played the game.

Nowadays, PDA Games are mainly sold through game company networks. By surfing the Internet, we found lots of different PDA games:


Figure 1.3.2 - A typical PDA game on the Internet
 

Typically, PDA games are classified into 7 categories: Action, Action-adventure, Adventure, Role-playing, Strategy, Simulation, Others. Action games are the easiest to find online, while Role Playing Games (RPGs) are the most popular.


Fig 1.3.3 - Pie chart showing the distribution of game categories in 2005 (whole game market)
 


Figure 1.3.4 - A common PDA game
 

The graphics used in PDA games varies from simple 2D graphics to complex 3D-graphics.


Figure - 1.3.5 - a game with 3D graphics
 

Although many PDA games are available online in the market, they may not meet the demands of todayís gamers, who are looking for surprises and excitement; we believe that a good RPG could easily become popular. If you study the RPGs available online today, you will find that most are not PDA-oriented. Also, most of them only include fighting scenes and ignore one main advantage of a PDA, a touch screen and stylus.

Therefore, we think we have found a niche, and we aimed to create a RPG that will make us to be pioneers in this new field.