Professional Advice for Writing the Literature Review for a Dissertation

One of the first steps of writing your dissertation will be conducting a literature review in the field, connected to your topic. You can never write a good dissertation without studying the available literature and presenting what others have already reached in similar fields. This section is usually read at first by the instructors. It allows them to check how broad the research presented in the dissertation is and the ability of the writer to present the information. All of these points make good literature review chapter a vital part of your dissertation.

What are the main purposes of writing a literature review?

As each chapter of the dissertation, a literature review has its specific purposes and goals. You need to keep them in mind all the time to make sure you will suit the expectations of your readers.

  • Studying the research problem as deeply as possible.
  • Finding new aspects of your study and new points of view on the problem.
  • Finding out what has already been done in the field to avoid repetition.
  • Enlargement of your vocabulary, related to the course of writing.
  • Learning the main methods and techniques, typical for the area.
  • Connecting theory and practice and finding the way to apply the theoretical knowledge.

Things to pay attention to when selecting a literature review approach.

Before you start writing it is very important to decide which course your literature review will follow. The main points will be decided by the whole dissertation, but some you will need to think through separately.

  • Focus. You cannot write about everything in just one section, you will need to select something to focus on. Usually it is the outcome of the research, methodology or application on practice.

  • Goal. What is the main purpose your literature review will serve? It may be to integrate the earlier studies into yours, criticizing the previous studies, identification of previously researched materials etc.

  • Coverage of material. You will need to choose how many material you will cover and in which way. You can try to cover a little of everything, select some material according to your focus or specify only one thing you think vital.

  • Organization of presented material. Here you will need to choose in which order you will present your findings: chronologically, conceptually or methodologically. Make sure the way you select corresponds with the material you have an allow you to keep the smooth and logical flow of the paper.

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