I am doing my Phd study. My supervisor attended a new conference and after that, she asked me to update my literature review based on new works mentioned in this conference. I looked at all the presented works which are relative to my work, however, I just found the abstracts of these works. I contacted the authors and they told me that they did not publish their works and hence cannot share them with me. I tried to do what my supervisor asked me to do but I really cannot read the entire works and hence cannot understand what the authors did. So, what I have to do in this case? Do I need to just mention the abstract (which is really not enough to understand the methodology of the work)? Any help please?

  • Is this a conference that publishes mini-papers as proceedings? Or is the abstract all that is ever written down (as opposed to presented)? This varies a lot between fields and conferences. – Flyto Aug 28 '18 at 14:35

Unless your completion is immanent, you shouldn't have a problem. Include the new work in the lit review for now, but monitor the situation. Hopefully the conference proceedings will appear and contain the papers and you can make adjustments as needed.

If the timing is not as I suggest here, then just explore this with your advisor and follow whatever advice you get. For the purposes of your dissertation, all should be well. If you later publish the work you may need to adjust some references, of course, but you might need to do that in any case if you learn more in the interim.

  • And, if any of the groups are new to you you should do a search on already published papers from them (and might double check the groups that you know already). The initial literature review is to get a student up to speed. From there on it should be perpetually renewed as a matter of course - the student is keeping up with the literature one hopes. – Jon Custer Aug 28 '18 at 15:04

Tell your supervisor and ask if she'll email the authors (ideally addressing emails to someone she met at the conference or already knows). She might be more successful than you, because she is more senior and because she was there (and because she knows them already).

  • 2
    Just to add to this, even if you end up doing it yourself, few academics will be upset if somebody writes to them saying "I enjoyed your talk, I want to cite it, do you have the same material anywhere in published form?" – Flyto Aug 28 '18 at 14:36

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