Tips for Composing an Excellent Dissertation Literature Review

The purpose of a dissertation literature review is to show the reader that you’ve learned a lot of information related to your topic and that you’ve conducted your research based on this knowledge. A good literature review doesn’t just list the main researchers in your field and their works but also explains how your study relates to them. Make sure to follow the tips below when composing your literature review.

  1. Compare and contrast.
  2. You should show the reader that different authors have different opinions on the topic that you’re investigating.

  3. Make groups.
  4. Authors who make similar conclusions should be put in a group. Different groups will resemble different schools of thought in your field.

  5. Criticize.
  6. You should point out the aspects of the methodology used by some authors that didn’t have positive effects on their studies.

  7. Indicate areas of disagreement.
  8. You should highlight areas of research in which different researchers disagree with each other.

  9. Highlight influential studies.
  10. You should write about the projects that inspired you to come up with your own idea. Explain why.

  11. Point to the gaps.
  12. You should indicate what aspects in your field are poorly investigated and why nobody researched them before.

  13. Show the relation of your dissertation.
  14. You should demonstrate how your investigation relates to the previous works conducted in your field and to the literate in general.

The overall objectives of a literature review are to define the problem that you’re investigating, place your paper in the historical perspective, avoid duplicating the research conducted by other authors, and evaluate different methods of investigation.

To write a strong literature review, you should find a lot of relevant sources. There are a few places where you may look for them:

  • University database.
  • The database of your university should contain plenty of books and other larger works that students may use for writing their dissertations.

  • Public libraries.
  • You may get plenty of good sources from the public library of your town. To make your search easier, you may find the title and other important details of a needed book on the Internet and then give this information to a librarian.

  • Other literature reviews and bibliographies.
  • Research papers of other students might contain the titles of many useful sources. Go to your university library and pick a few papers with topics similar to yours.

Keep in mind that the quality of your investigation will partially depend on the sources that you find, so take this step seriously.

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