Skip Nav

Thesis Literature Review

What is a dissertation literature review? Example

❶In your review, ensure that you clearly state what the focus of your work will be. If not, you could include them as a gap in the literature review and can suggest that researching them would help in learning more about the concept.

How to Write Your Literature Review in Thesis

What is a literature review?
How to write a literature review for a dissertation
Do You Need Help to Write a Literature Review for Dissertation?

Remember to also make note of any views that do not agree with your position; excluding these arguments will reduce the methodological robustness of your piece. Instead, try to paraphrase quotations and only use direct quotes if it really helps to illustrate your argument. If your literature review forms part of a broader research proposal, reiterate the gaps in the literature here, and clearly state how your proposed research will fill these gaps.

Make recommendations for future research in this section too, which demonstrates your analytical skills and will score you some extra points. You have options here — you can choose to organise the content of your work based on a chronological method, based on themes, trends or methodology, or based on arguments. To structure the body of work chronologically, you will have to organise your sources based on when they were published. A limitation of this approach is that it inhibits continuity in your arguments and in some instances, can undermine the coherence of your work.

Say you were trying to convey the debates on European migration policy, you might want to start by writing something along these lines:. They specifically espouse a perspective based on a human rights approach…". This approach also leaves room for you to insert your voice into the literature. Using this technique also allows you to introduce additional literature that supports your position.

Another way of organising your content is according to theme; or sub-themes, if your review focuses on one overarching topic. This method of organisation still allows you to present an overview of any polemical debates within these sub-themes. A thematic review can easily shift between chronological periods within each sub-section too. This method is particularly evident in introductory sections whereby researchers may simply want to state that a particular subject has been mostly studied from a qualitative or quantitative perspective they will often then cite a number of scholars or studies to support this claim.

In scientific reviews however, a methodological approach may form the basis of the discussions in the body. If this is the case for you, focus on the methods used by various researchers. How did they go about answering a particular research question? Were there any limitations to this method? If so, what method s would have been better? The body of your research may also include additional sections that do not necessarily form a part of its organisational structure.

It may also focus on historical considerations. You could include a short methodology section that details the approach you used in selecting and analysing your sources. Write the paragraphs of the body Once you have settled on the approach to writing your body, you must now write each of its paragraphs in a way that is in keeping with academic conventions.

Consider this paragraph from a literature review about stakeholder participation for environmental management, to clarify the discussion that follows:. Despite the rhetoric and the concerns that have been expressed, there have been few attempts to investigate the validity of the many claims that have been made for stake-holder participation Webler, ; Beierle, ; Brody, ; Blackstock et al. The few attempts that have been made have tended to focus on evaluating the process rather than the outcomes e.

Beierle, ; Renn et al. This may be partly due to the challenge of selecting appropriate evaluation criteria and data collection methods. However, this is not straightforward. Webler and Tuler found strong differences of opinion between participants that they selected from ten case studies, about what constituted a "good" participatory process.

Stakeholder participation for environmental management: Biological conservation, 10 , pp. As the example above suggests, a dissertation literature review must be written using a formal and academic style.

Also, note how sources have been grouped according to both arguments and themes. Remember we noted that the process of grouping sources in the body of your literature review is never a linear one? You will often use a combination of the approaches that we have discussed. Ensure that your writing is concise, coherent and devoid of any personal or strong language. There are exceptions at post-graduate level or generally — like when you have conducted your own primary research or published your work widely — which give you the academic authority to boldly make claims.

Remember also to generally use present tense when referring to opinions and theories although in the context of specific research experiments, the use of the past tense is better. Useful linking words and phrases include: When there is disagreement, you may want to use any of the following: However, conversely, on the other hand, diverges from, antithetical to, differential from…. Write the conclusion The conclusion of a dissertation literature review should always include a summary of the implications of the literature, which you should then link to your argument or general research question.

The overall structure of your literature review will be largely based on your research area and the academic conventions that are in line with it. Nevertheless, there are some essential steps that apply across all disciplines and that you should ensure you follow:. Do not simply describe the opinions of writers Analyse, analyse, analyse, and ensure that your analysis is critical what have the writers missed; where does your opinion sit with theirs, etc.

Structure the body of your argument using various techniques Your structure should be organised based on thematic areas, key debates or controversial issues, and according to methodological approaches. Keep your review dynamic, but coherent. Remember to identify literature gaps and link this to your own research. Use ample evidence This is extremely important and forms the very essence of a dissertation literature review. You must refer to various sources when making a point; see the sample paragraph above for an example of this.

Your arguments and interpretation of a research topic must be backed by evidence. Instead, you should develop a narrative summary of each document including basic ideas and facts that should be taken into account. Literature Review Section Writing a literature review for a dissertation is one of the main ways to demonstrate that you have made a strong research for your dissertation and have a strong academic background in your field.

What is a dissertation literature review? Example A good sample literature review for dissertation is a analytical overview of the literature on your topic. The purposes of writing a literature review are: Indentifying gaps in the previous research; Helping to avoid the topics and questions that do not require any research; Setting the background on the areas that has been already explored; Helping to identify similar works in the subject area; Allowing to set the intellectual context with previous related research; Providing a writer with the opposite points of view; Helping to define effective methods applicable to your project.

How to write a literature review for a dissertation Take a look at the list below. What supporting arguments should be included? Construct evidence that distinguishes relevant studies and excludes irrelevant ones. How are you going to find relevant argumentation? Determine which materials are potentially worth of examining.

What discovered arguments should be included in the literature review? It is also important to see the writing stage as part of the research process, not something that happens after you have finished reading the literature.

Wellington et al Once you are part way through your reading you can have a go at writing the literature review, in anticipation of revising it later on. It is often not until you start explaining something in writing that you find where your argument is weak, and you need to collect more evidence.

A skill that helps in curtailing the reading is: Decisions need to be made about where to focus your reading, and where you can refer briefly to an area but explain why you will not be going into it in more detail.

The task of shaping a logical and effective report of a literature review is undeniably challenging. Some useful guidance on how to approach the writing up is given by Wellington et al In most disciplines, the aim is for the reader to reach the end of the literature review with a clear appreciation of what you are doing; why you are doing it; and how it fits in with other research in your field.

Often, the literature review will end with a statement of the research question s. Having a lot of literature to report on can feel overwhelming. It is important to keep the focus on your study, rather than on the literature Wellington To help you do this, you will need to establish a structure to work to.

A good, well-explained structure is also a huge help to the reader. As with any piece of extended writing, structure is crucial. There may be specific guidance on structure within your department, or you may need to devise your own.

Once you have established your structure you need to outline it for your reader. Although you clearly need to write in an academic style, it can be helpful to imagine that you are telling a story. The thread running through the story is the explanation of why you decided to do the study that you are doing. The story needs to be logical, informative, persuasive, comprehensive and, ideally, interesting.

It needs to reach the logical conclusion that your research is a good idea. If there is a key article or book that is of major importance to the development of your own research ideas, it is important to give extra space to describing and critiquing that piece of literature in more depth.

Similarly, if there are some studies that you will be referring to more than to others, it would be useful to give them a full report and critique at this stage. As well as using tables to display numerical data, tables can be useful within a literature review when you are comparing other kinds of material.

For example, you could use a table to display the key differences between two or more:. The table format can make the comparisons easier to understand than if they were listed within the text. It can also be a check for yourself that you have identified enough relevant differences.

An omission will be more obvious within a table, where it would appear as a blank cell, than it would be within text. Almost all academic writing will need a reference list.

This is a comprehensive list of the full references of sources that you have referred to in your writing. The reader needs to be able to follow up any source you have referred to.

A bibliography is not usually necessary or relevant, unless you have been asked to produce one. This experience is common in PhD study, but it can happen at any level, and can feel as if you have wasted a lot of effort. Looking at this positively, however, you have probably read more widely than you might otherwise have done. That probably confirms that it was a good question to ask! Although this can feel very disappointing at first, it can often be transformed into a benefit.

It is important that your research fits logically within the existing research in your area, and you may have found an ideal study to link with and to extend in some way. Firstly, this is unlikely. Perhaps if you modify your search strategy you will find something. Check out whether there is an important reason why the research has not been done, which would make it sensible for you to choose a different focus.

If you do decide to go ahead, then take extra care designing your research, in the absence of guidance from previous studies. Ploughing a little-known furrow as a novice researcher is going to be very difficult, and you may find it difficult to get much support or help.

An important aspect of your thesis and your viva, is that you can show how your research fits with other research. This will be just as important when there is limited existing research in your area, as when there is an abundance.

How Do We Support Writing a Literature Review for Dissertation?

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Writing a Literature Review As an academic writer, you are expected to provide an analytical overview of the significant literature published on your topic. If your audience knows less than you do on the topic, your purpose is instructional.

Privacy FAQs

Writing a faulty literature review is one of many ways to derail a dissertation. This article summarizes some pivotal information on how to write a high-quali ty dissertation literature review.

About Our Ads

Literature review is an important chapter of every dissertation. Besides adding sources to a reference list, literature review chapter should give a short review of every source used in the research. Writing the literature review of a dissertation is one of the most challenging tasks. Literature review is usually the second section of a dissertation. It shows your readers that you’ve read sufficient studies and researches related to the topic.

Cookie Info

Dissertation: Literature Review Section. Writing a literature review for a dissertation is one of the main ways to demonstrate that you have made a strong research for your dissertation and have a strong academic background in your field. You will enjoy writing your thesis literature review with our team! Our support team works 24/7 and always ready to answer to all your questions concerning the5/5.