Expert Tips

Tips on writing a literature review in your dissertation

Many undergraduate or masters students struggle with their dissertations when it comes to writing the literature review.

What is a literature review?

It starts at the beginning of your project and is a critical component in the structure. It entails the summary of the current writings in your research field. The literature review should depict a clear image and idea of the area you are researching, the critical issues, and the opinions that are standing or getting challenged. You will have to evaluate the articles and books you find.

What should it include?

You need to shed light on themes that several authors have talked about and have a discussion on how they have tackled them. Make your review as comprehensive as possible. You have to mention all the relevant authors in the field of your project.

How long should it be?

It should be around 25% of the whole project but depends on the structure of your dissertation and the general amount of literature you can find. Ask yourself if the information you are including or excluding is relevant, suitable, or useful to guide you through this process. It will help you stick to the topic of discussion.

Here are the tips:

  1. Questions

Make sure you clarify the research questions before analyzing the literature. You will avoid time-wasting through formulating problems prior.

  1. Wide search

For you to write a compelling literature review, you need to have in-depth research on the subject matter from a variety of sources. Check through online sources and all available databases in the university and other libraries.

  1. Significance before content

Do not make the mistake of wrapping your research in many descriptions from the many sources you have been reading. Make your content relatable by choosing only the relevant content and take time to analyze the different sources.

  1. Critical themes

It is critical to identify and interpret the themes that pop up from the work you have been reading. The thematic analysis will help in engagement with the text and also give you a rough idea of how to package your project.

  1. Key attitude

Do not include text that has not been verified and scrutinized in your literature review. Having a critical approach will let you comb out the dirt and therefore put pure emphasis on the analysis. Make it to your point to challenge the assumptions and bring out necessary arguments.

  1. Findings

Apart from identifying the themes and issues, arrive at specific findings. Try and make out conclusions that are viable about the opinions on controversies, and in turn, suggest your beliefs.

  1. Valid sources

You are required to look through a wide range of material for your literature review but in doing so, make sure you have information from credible sources.

  1. Categorization

Categorizing materials that have gotten reviewed into either for and against clauses is one critical way to help you present findings. They provide a natural structuring principle.

  1. Theory

Make sure you have an in-depth consideration of the theoretical aspect of the findings you have and also the stance you have accomplished at the review’s end.

  1. Source provenance

Your review should be standard and worthy. Ask if the writer is authoritative, if he/she is widely cited or if there have been any clashing opinions against the literature in the near past.