How to write a literature review for a dissertation


Purposes of writing a literature review.

When you start writing a dissertation, you shall understand that a lot of work in different braches lies ahead of you. It will take a lot of your time and effort and may make you do things and write about the material you think you don’t need or don’t understand. Some part of the work you do may even seem unnecessary to you. This can be related to a lot of parts, and literature review is among them. So why write a literature review?

  • to demonstrate your knowledge about the field you are studying, including different aspects of it of different levels through the history;
  • to help you focus on your research question and eliminate all possible wrong approaches;
  • to define the researches that have already been done before you and the necessary field of study for your research;
  • to make your knowledge of the subject much deeper, broaden your mind and let you learn about all possible approaches to the future research.

What to consider when writing the literature review.

  • Goal. Though a literature review may serve a lot of purposes, it is important to define which ones are the most valuable for you. You have limited space for this part and have to pay attention to what you think is absolutely necessary to mention.
  • Perspective. The literature review is usually written at the beginning of the actual paper, but you shall nevertheless take into the consideration the perspective on the subject you will take in the actual paper. It will determine your future flow of thoughts, so you need to spend some time on it.
  • Coverage. One of the most important thing as well. As the literature review is an important part of your paper, it shall at any costs stay connected to the rest of it. You shall cover exactly the same amount of information as is necessary for your future paper and make sure not to miss anything.

Fitting the literature review together: the specifics.

You may face some problems with your literature review, when it comes to its structure. The chapter will consist of several reviewed works of different authors with different approaches to your problem. You have to make sure all of the pieces actually fit together. For this you will need to divide the sources you have into logical groups and form your paper according to them.

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