How To Write A Literature Review in a Dissertation

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A Literature Review in a Dissertation

A literature review is a summary and explanation of the complete and current state of knowledge about a narrow topic as found in academic books, journal articles, and scientific papers .

How To Write A Literature Review in a Dissertation

You may be asked to write one of two broad types of literature reviews:

Either a stand-alone assignment for a course, and often as part of your training in research in your field. Or as part of an introduction or preparation for a longer period. The work is usually for a thesis or research report, and the specific purpose and length of the literature review varies. One way to understand the differences between these two types is to read reviews of published literature or a literature review chapter on theses and dissertations in your subject area. So you have to analyze the structure of their arguments and notice the way they address the issues .

 What is the purpose of a literature review ? 

A literature review in scientific research is presented and written first to summarize, evaluate and compare scientific research or studies that are relevant and objective to your topic. Thus also to highlight the main findings and then identify contradictions and gaps in the literature. Moreover, reviewing the literature or writing a literature review   is useful in providing an analysis of the methodologies and approaches of other researchers. It helps provide clues about where future research is headed or recommends areas to focus on. Finally, the literature review ensures that work that has already been done is not duplicated .

 What are the parts of a literature review ? 

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The first part of a literature review is the introduction, which is used for several purposes, including explaining the focus and establishing the importance of the topic. In general, your introduction should provide the framework, selection criteria, or criteria for your literature review. Thus, the introduction provides the background or history on the topic, and identifies the type of work that has been done on the topic. The introduction also briefly identifies any controversies within the field or any recent research that has raised questions about previous assumptions. The introduction will summarize the literature review and evaluate the current state of this area of ​​research. Finally, in the introductory introduction to the literature review, you will suggest how the results of the review will lead to the research that the researcher proposes to conduct .

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 The other part of the literature review is the body and its purpose is to summarize and evaluate the current state of knowledge in the field. Recording the main topics or ideas, the most important trends, and any conclusions that the researchers agree or disagree with. If it is a preliminary review of your thesis or research project, its purpose is to provide an argument that justifies your proposed research. Therefore, a literature review will only discuss that research that directly leads to your own project .

The next part of the literature review is the conclusion, to summarize the evidence presented and show its importance. Instead of restating your thesis or purpose statement, explain what the review tells you about the current state. If the review is an introduction to your own research, the conclusion highlights gaps and indicates how previous research leads to your research project and chosen methodology. It is also preferable for the conclusion to suggest any practical applications of the research in addition to the implications and possibilities for future research .

The last parts of a literature review are references , so first know which style guide to follow ( eg APA , MLA). Then follow the instructions for formatting citations, creating a reference list or bibliography, and finally citing your sources .

 Seven steps to writing a literature review summary   :

First, narrow your topic and choose literature reviews accordingly :

Above all, consider your specific field of study, and think about what interests you and what interests other researchers in your field. Then talk to your professor, brainstorm ideas, and read lecture notes and recent issues of journals in the field. So also limit your scope to a smaller subject area (eg focusing on France's role in World War II rather than focusing on World War II in general) .

Secondly, search for literature review:

First, define source selection criteria (e.g. studies published within a specific time range, focusing on a specific geographic area, or using a specific methodology). Then search the library database using the keywords for your research topic. Reference lists of recent studies and reviews can lead to other useful studies. Finally, include any studies that contradict your point of view .

Third, read carefully selected previous studies and evaluate them :

In short, evaluating and synthesizing the results of studies and conclusions. But you should note the recurring assumptions that some or most researchers seem to make. Thus, the focus is on the methodologies, testing procedures, topics, and materials used by the researchers tested. And identifying the most important experts in the field that can be benefited from, whether they are names of researchers or laboratories that are frequently consulted. One of the tasks that must be noted in this step is the conflict of theories, results, and methodologies. The popularity of theories and how this has changed over time . Dissertation Writing Services

Fourth, organizing the selected literature review by searching for patterns and developing subtopics :

In this step, you should note common and disputed results. Thus, the important trends in research and the most influential theories. From here, you should develop subtitles that reflect the main themes and patterns you have discovered .

Tip: If your literature review is extensive, look for a large tabletop. Place sticky notes or sticky cards on it to organize all your results into categories .

Providing references and previous studies

Fifthly, developing the current study :

Write one or two sentences summarizing your conclusion about the main trends and developments you see in the research conducted on your topic. Then try to put it in your scientific research, but in your own style and method. Or you have to put it in the first draft, or as they say, the organizational structure of scientific research, and it will be among what you will discuss in the scientific research .

Sixth, start writing a summary of the literature review :

Follow the organizational structure you developed above, including the headings and subheadings you created. Make sure that each section is logically related to the previous and following sections. Then structure your sections according to main topics or subtopics, not according to individual theorists or researchers .

Tip: If you find that every paragraph begins with the name of the researcher. This may indicate that instead of evaluating and comparing the research literature from an analytical point of view, it has simply described the research that has been conducted. Analysis is given priority over description .

Example of writing a summary of a literature review :

Look at the following two passages and notice that Student A is only describing the literature, while Student B takes a more analytical and evaluative approach through comparing and contrasting. You can also see that this evaluative approach is well indicated by linguistic signs indicating logical connections. (words such as "however", "furthermore") and phrases such as "prove the claim that". Which refers to supporting evidence and Student B's ability to synthesize knowledge .

Student A:

Smith (2000) concluded that personal privacy in their living spaces is the most important factor in nursing home residents' perception of their independence. It is suggested that the physical environment in the more public areas of the building did not have a significant impact on their perceptions. The layout of the building or available activities did not seem to make much difference. Jones and Johnston claim that the need to control one's environment is a basic need for life, and suggest that the approach of most institutions, providing total care, may be as bad as no care at all. If people have no choices or believe they have no choice, they become depressed .

Student B:

After studying the residents and staff of two intermediate care facilities in (select location). Smith (2000) concluded that, except for the amount of personal privacy available to residents, the physical environment of these institutions had little if any effect on their perceptions of control (independence). However, both Jones and Johnston find that the availability of private areas is not the only aspect of the physical environment that determines residents' autonomy. Jones interviewed 115 residents from 32 different nursing homes known to have varying levels of independence. He found that physical structures, such as standardized furniture, heating that cannot be individually regulated, and not having a house key for residents limit their sense of independence and, moreover, hope .

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Seventh, review your work ( literature review summary ):

Look at the topic sentences in each paragraph. If you were reading just these sentences, would you find that your summary presented a clear position, and was developed logically, from beginning to end? The topic sentences in each paragraph should state the main points of your literature review. So create a detailed outline for each section of the study and determine whether you need to add information, delete irrelevant information, or restructure sections .

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Thus, it is preferable to read your work out loud. This way you will be better able to identify where you need punctuation to indicate pauses or divisions within sentences, where you have made grammatical errors, or where your sentences are unclear .

Since the purpose of a literature review is to demonstrate that the researcher is familiar with important professional literature on the chosen topic, check to make sure that you have covered all important, up-to-date and relevant texts. In the humanities and some social sciences, it is important that your writings are very current .

It is also necessary to ensure that all citations and references are correct and that you refer to the appropriate method for your system. If you are not sure which method to use, ask your professor. Check to make sure you have not plagiarized either by failing to cite the source of the information. Or using words taken directly from the source. Usually, if you take three or more words directly from another source, you should put these words in quotation marks, and cite the page .

Finally, the text must be written in a clear and concise academic style. It should not be descriptive in nature or use everyday language. There should be no grammatical or spelling errors, and sentences should run smoothly and logically .

Other tips that can be followed

You can ask some questions while writing the literature review to ensure that it includes all the required elements, such as:

  • What problem, or research question will the literature review help to identify?

  • What is the scope of the literature review? What types of publications were used? Such as magazines, books, and government documents.

  • What specialty or field does the research cover? Such as psychology, nursing, or sociology.

  • Is the number of sources considered appropriate for the length of the research?

  • Does the review contain studies that contradict the researcher’s point of view?

  • Will the reader find this literature review relevant and useful?

  • Is the information related to each other?

  • Did the researcher evaluate the results and discuss the strengths and weaknesses?