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How to write review of literature in dissertation and not to miss any detailĀ 


The literature review is where you show the reader that you have reviewed all of the main published work on your topic or question and that you have a decent grasp of it. For the dissertation, the literature review is merely an introductory portion of the entire paper. The review is guided by your research question or the thesis that you argue and it creates a framework for your work.

Remember that your review is not just a description of what was already published. The key to not missing any detail is to note that it is not a summary of previous work. It is a critical discussion that shows your insight and awareness of the different arguments, theories, and approaches which exist in the field. Your review should be an analysis and a synthesis of relevant work that is related to your research proposal.

It should:

  • Compare and contrast different views on your issue
  • Group together authors who have similar conclusions
  • Criticize the methodology used by other authors
  • Highlight the areas there authors disagree
  • Note the exemplary studies
  • Showcase any gaps in the existing research
  • Demonstrate how your study relates to work already done in the field
  • Note how your study relates to the literature generally speaking
  • Conclude by offering a summary of what the existing literature says

The review in your dissertation is meant to define the problem on which you are working, or limit it. It is also meant to put your study into perspective. Writing the literature review helps to avoid any duplication and helps you to evaluate research methods which might be promising for your work. You can also use it to relate your findings to knowledge already in existence and propose additional research in the future.

A good review is critical of what research has already been done. It takes time to identify any controversy in the field. It raises questions about the research already done and the research that needs to be done. It identifies areas that require more research.

The structure you use should be contingent upon the structure of your dissertation. You will likely group together different opinions on certain topics. The structure should be dictated by questions that are raised, controversial issues, or topic areas. You can arrange things how you see fit of course so long as it remains within the guidelines for your dissertation.

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