5 Tips on Writing a Dissertation Literature Review

One of the biggest challenges of students writing their dissertation is how to go about the literature review. You may be an undergraduate or postgraduate student; however, writing a literature review could be a herculean task depending on your abilities. But what at all is the literature review? What should the word count be? What is the structure for it?    

If these questions border you a lot, then you are in the right place. In this article, you will learn how to plan and execute your literature review.

What is a literature review?

The literature review of your dissertation is one of the crucial parts of your academic work structure. It contains a summary of the most recent works in your research field, and your dissertation must fit into that. In this section of your academic, you must prove that you’ve read widely on the chosen topic. Truthfully, you would not have the chance to read every current writing; however, demonstrate that you have read enough.

The review should tell readers about the current state of the field you are writing about and other writers’ opinions about it. It should provide diverse views on key issues as provided by each researcher, and instances where general opinions are being reassessed or changed. Your literature review must also analyze the works you are using.

What should a dissertation literature review contain?

In writing a literature review, it must be comprehensive, citing all the significant contributions or writers in the subject area. In doing this, you can compare the theorists’ standpoint, list their agreements and disagreements, and make mention of the current situation in the field. You can use bullet points for your subheadings or make a distinction between different theories. 

The length of a literature review 

The length of your literature review depends on the structure of your dissertation. However, the general rule is that it should be about 25% of your work.

5 tips on how to write a dissertation literature review

  1. Questions

Your research questions should be well stipulated before you even start writing your literature review. Developing the questions first saves you from reading unnecessary content. 

  1. In-depth research 

Research is an essential and necessary component of every academic work. To develop a thought-provoking review, you need to do an in-depth analysis of the topic by reading widely. You should also know where to source your content, whether by using search engines, reading journals, using sources in government or private agencies, etc. 

  1. Use relevant contents

You shouldn’t just be putting words together to increase our word count. Every statement you make must be relevant to your research.

  1. Key themes

It is important to note and expatiate the key themes you pick from the sources you use. Analyzing these themes provide the best opportunity to build on your work.

  1. Scrutinize your content 

Everything you add to your literature review must be well scrutinized and have relevance to your work. Reviewing your research materials ensures that you don’t add anything alien to your work. 

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