Dissertation: Literature Review Section

Writing a literature review for a dissertation is one of the main ways to demonstrate that you have made a strong research for your dissertation and have a strong academic background in your field. As a writer, you are expected to write a literature review for dissertation, because you cannot conduct a professional research without understanding the published material in the area of study.

What is a dissertation literature review? Example

A good sample literature review for dissertation is a analytical overview of the literature on your topic. Pay attention to your future reader. In case if your audience knows less than you know on the topic, you become an instructor. If they know more than you do, you should perform understanding, expertise, familiarity and intelligence.

A literature review investigates books, articles, dissertations, conference texts and other relevant sources. Literature review provides a background and a context for a paper by demonstrating the results of previous research. It is very essential to become familiar with previous achievements relevant to specific theory, issue, or area of research to move forward, suggest new ideas and fill in the gaps.

Demonstrating your knowledge about your field of study means that you also have to prove that you understand theories, vocabulary, key phenomena and variables, as well as history and methods. Moreover, creating a literature review also informs the author about the most important and influential research groups and researchers in the area. In a word, a little bit modified literature review could be a publishable and scholarly document.

The purposes of writing a literature review are:

  • Indentifying gaps in the previous research;
  • Helping to avoid the topics and questions that do not require any research;
  • Setting the background on the areas that has been already explored;
  • Helping to identify similar works in the subject area;
  • Allowing to set the intellectual context with previous related research;
  • Providing a writer with the opposite points of view;
  • Helping to define effective methods applicable to your project.

How to write a literature review for a dissertation

Take a look at the list below. It is your step-by-step guide on how to write a dissertation literature review.

  • Problem stating.
    What supporting arguments should be included? Construct evidence that distinguishes relevant studies and excludes irrelevant ones.
  • Data gathering.
    How are you going to find relevant argumentation? Determine which materials are potentially worth of examining.
  • Data evaluation.
    What discovered arguments should be included in the literature review? Explain criteria to define valid and invalid sources.
  • Data analysis and interpretation.
    How can you draw conclusions about the gathered literature as a whole? Synthesize retrieved studies.
  • Public presentation.
    What data should be included in the literature review report? Edit your review to separate important material from unimportant.

One of the main things to understand about writing a literature review is that it is familiar to the process of performing primary research on your topic. In fact, a literature review (secondary research) is a modified primary research. The key components here are the following:

  • A rationale;
  • Hypothesis and questions;
  • Plan for gathering data, including explanation how and why the material will be chosen;
  • Plan for detailed data analysis;
  • Plan for interpreting and presenting the information.

Conducting a literature review, you cannot just read all the sources, take some brief notes, and put them into a literature review. Instead, you should develop a narrative summary of each document including basic ideas and facts that should be taken into account.