Guide to Writing Dissertation Literature Reviews

How to Write A Dissertation Literature Review

Dissertation Literature ReviewIt is important not to consider the dissertation literature review as only a summary but a complete representation of the dissertation/thesis itself. All sources of information and all means of data acquisition must be discussed. The mere statement of objectives, sources and the problem/issue under consideration is to be avoided.

Details regarding the authenticity and limitations of the sources and the general issues regarding the problem or issue under discussion must be presented in a progressive manner so as to attract the reader. This task of writing in a reader-friendly and yet professionally fine manner is considered to be the most important element of the literature review.

A standard dissertation literature review depicts the following two capabilities of the student:

  • the ability to acquire information through printed and published means or through computerized methods involving Internet and online libraries
  • and the capacity to analyze the data acquired and classify it based on its credibility.

However, the literature review must not be focused only on the above stated points is expected to revolve around:

  • the research question under consideration
  • a summary of known and unknown facts
  • all criticism and arguments pertaining to the central idea of the dissertation
  • a formal description identifying further research in relation to the theme of discussion being made in the dissertation

Dissertation literature reviews do not only list research work and relevant theories but also trends and themes pertaining to them that detail them and are in accordance to your particular stand in relation to the problem/issue under discussion in the dissertation. This particular chapter represents your own personal understanding and views regarding your chosen dissertation topic. When writing the literature review chapter of your dissertation:

  • identify how each source of information helps you with your dissertation
  • be careful to review each source or research work in detail before commenting on it
  • focus on research and analysis rather than researching for methodologies to present your data
  • take regular intervals during the analysis of literature to help cope with the load of research
  • avoid going through sources when feeling irritated or annoyed
  • be careful not to mix-up the literature under review

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