Postgraduate dissertation literature review

Once you have acknowledged these works, you do not have to review them in detail. In the body of your review, ensure that your arguments are presented clearly and that you link these arguments with the literature.

Literature review structure

Step 4: Write your literature review Like any other academic text, your literature review should have an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion. This very short statement contains some key concepts, which are examined in the table below. These are questions that you will already probably be asking yourself. You will also need to be ready to answer them in a viva if you will be having one. What are the key concepts and how are they defined? Try to draw working conclusions about the current balance of opinion concerning certain controversies, suggest what you believe to be the emergent or future trends in the field, identify deficiencies in current knowledge and relate your own position to that of others. If your audience knows less than you do on the topic, your purpose is instructional.

It should outline the focus of the review — in other words, it should clearly state the main topics to be covered. If your audience knows less than you do on the topic, your purpose is instructional.

Literature review template

If you're a new student or writing essays at a lower level where a literature review isn't a usual requirement, the concept of compiling one for a dissertation can be even more daunting. You need to be able to demonstrate that you are aware of current issues and research, and to show how your research is relevant within a changing context. This can be particularly useful if you find a review article that evaluates other literature in the field. Whilst in some cases a dissertation literature review can be a simple summary of important sources, most often it requires you to critically engage with the text to convey your opinions of it, as well as any critiques that you may have. How should it be structured? Be selective. The body of your research may also include additional sections that do not necessarily form a part of its organisational structure. So, despite having access to electronic databases and to electronic searching techniques, it can be surprisingly useful to have a pile of journals actually on your desk, and to look through the contents pages, and the individual articles. Structure the body of your argument using various techniques Your structure should be organised based on thematic areas, key debates or controversial issues, and according to methodological approaches. Be very selective Not every piece of research has to be reviewed. As you review the references, remember to be a critical reader see Study Guide What is critical reading? This step will help you work out the structure of your literature review and if applicable show how your own research will contribute to existing knowledge. You need to critique your own interpretation of material, and to present your rationale, so that your reader can follow your thinking. Using tables As well as using tables to display numerical data, tables can be useful within a literature review when you are comparing other kinds of material.

It also shows that you are very much aware of the status of the literature in your chosen field of study, which in turn, demonstrates the amount of research and effort you have put into your review. What materials?

literature review dissertation example

It can give you a degree of control, in what can feel like an overwhelming and uncontrollable stage of the research process. Divide outside works into categories and concepts in support or against a particular position.

Point the way to further research on your topic. A quick search using keywords on Google Scholar will often give you a quick overview of the available literature.

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Top 10 tips for writing your dissertation literature review