How To Write Literature Review For Your Dissertation

Literature review is one of the most integral parts of your dissertation, since it validates arguments with reference to publications related to the topic. In this case, literature reviews require the writer to evaluate secondary sources of different types, including journal articles, News articles, books, websites, and research publications, among others. Writing literature review must be based on a unique approach that rules out personal opinions. In other words, the idea is to review a collection of different sources and link their relevance to the topic. Here are important steps that you should follow in writing a literature review:

Understand The Topic

The most important step is analyzing and understanding the topic you have chosen. Doing so eliminates the possibility of reviewing irrelevant or non-contextual literature. Take ample time in analyzing the topic and what is required in order to achieve a comprehensive dissertation. Moreover, you must have the hypothesis in mind since that will determine the type of literature you should review without missing context.

Search For Relevant Literature

Having understood the topic adequately, the next stage is to gather the sources, particularly those relevant to the topic. It is important to ensure that the sources you gather are up-to-date or recently published. In most cases, it is recommended that the sources gathered should be within the past 10 years of publication and nothing older. However, some historical topics may require literature that resonates with historical events and occurrences. You should be guided by the research questions and objectives when searching for relevant literature. Come up with a list of keywords that will assist in generating relevant results.

Evaluate Sources

This is the stage where you check all the literature found and filter the most relevant. It may not be possible to read through all literature materials. However, you must ensure that the sources to use are indeed within the academic sphere and relate well with the topic in question. In evaluating your sources, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which research question is being addressed by the source?
  • What theories and models are captured in the source?
  • What are the research strengths and weaknesses?
  • Which are the key concepts captured in the source?
  • Is the source credible?
  • Is the source up-to-date or within the past 10 years since publication?

Identify Gaps, Debates, and Themes

In the interest of ensuring that the sources used are contextual, you need to consider the kind of themes presented in each source, the debates, and the existing research gaps. Most importantly, you need to establish if the chosen literature sources are related with each other and that they complement the research topic. Also, consider the arguments presented in each of the literature, as well as what could be missing. Doing so will enable you to identify the strongest literature to use in your dissertation.

Create An Outline

The literature outline should be based on the researcher’s preference. However, it is recommended that a literature review should be presented in an organized manner, failure to which there could be inconsistencies that may negatively affect the readers’ comprehension. You can consider applying the chronological, thematic, methodological, or theoretical structures. It would be necessary to apply different subtopics within the literature review to ensure that themes and arguments are adequately presented.

Write Literature Review

The structure of a literature review should be similar to that of an essay. Hence, there should be an introduction, the body, and the conclusion. The introduction should provide the background of the topic. The body should cover all subtopics necessary, including the theoretical framework. Lastly, the conclusion should summarize the key findings taken from the literature that you reviewed.