Your literature review is perhaps the most voluminous chapter of your dissertation. Since the whole paper is tied to the chapter, it is paramount that you master the skills for writing a quality dissertation literature review.
This article will outline the steps for writing a literature review and highlight some tips to help you along the way.
What is a thesis literature review?
A literature review is the first chapter of your dissertation aimed at assessing the resources you have engaged when preparing your paper. This section entails your criticism and support of the ideas entailed in the resources you have encountered, highlighting the gaps that warrant your research.
The literature review thus builds the credibility of your research by indicating that you have duly done the research and identified a gap in the current state of knowledge within your field.
What does a literature review look like?
Like your research paper, the literature review in the thesis is divided into an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
The introduction of your literature review shows the purpose of your chapter, the outline of your topic, and the scope of your paper. This helps the reader to gauge the completeness of the research and to understand your reasoning behind selecting a certain approach to your topic.
Also, the introduction should show how your research connects with existing knowledge and also how it complements previous pivotal publications.
The body of a Ph.D. literature review carries the weight of the section. Here, you should criticize each source, highlighting its weaknesses and strengths regarding an idea.
You may take a chronological approach within the body of your paper, highlighting the development of an idea over time. Avoid dwelling on the sources at your disposal and show your opinions regarding the approach and thesis of each source used within your paper.
The conclusion of your dissertation literature review should show the gaps in the field and the approach you intend to take in addressing these gaps.
How to write a literature review for a dissertation
Much thought ought to go into writing your dissertation. Mindlessly keying words into your paper is a sure-fire way to write a subpar paper and dooming your research. Some of the key steps to follow when a dissertation literature review include:
- Identify sources
Before you start penning your literature review, seek credible sources that are touching on your topic. For this, you can search the keywords related to your topic on various sites and consult Wikipedia for relevant resources.
Preferably settle for recent publications and pivotal publications in your field as these will allow you to take a captivating approach to your paper.
- Prepare an outline
After consulting your materials, organize these ideas in an outline to identify how the research has improved itself up to the current state. Here, you can identify multiple gaps and plan how you will address them within your paper.
The outline also allows you to plan your arguments and achieve a flow that guides your reader towards your arguments.
- Write your literature review
Finally, write your literature review and revise it to ensure that it addresses your objectives. Also, review the chapter for in-text citations and errors that could limit the quality of your literature review chapter.
Tips for writing a literature review in thesis
- Consult various samples to gain a gist of the structure of your literature review.
- Prioritize recent sources as they are better placed to highlight the present state of knowledge in a field.
- Limit the number of quotations in your paper and pay more focus to showing your opinions regarding a topic.
- Save references as you go to avoid the struggle of retrieving various resources as you write your works cited section.
How many sources should there be in a literature review?
There is no perfect number recommended for the sources in your literature review. A safe estimate would be to have a source for every page of your body. This implies that a paper that is projected to have thirty pages should be backed by thirty sources in the literature review.
You cannot afford to mess around with your dissertation literature review given its importance to your paper. We hope that this guide has helped resolve your questions about preparing a quality paper. Feel free to consult us for more guidance and custom assistance on your paper.