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Shaping your paper - how to write review of literature in dissertation

This can be a tricky assignment but also one in which you can excel provided you understand the basic premise. You are not writing your review of literature in your dissertation in order to entertain the world at large. You are writing to show to your academic leader, your professor or teacher, that you know a considerable amount about the piece of literature in question. So right from the beginning know the purpose of you writing this literature dissertation. Know your audience.

And then knowing those facts, understand the following steps or guidelines.

Where does your piece of literature sit alongside other comparable pieces of literature today?

  • Can you produce a new way to interpret this literature?
  • Can you list the primary issues raised in this literature?
  • Can you comment on other reviews of this same piece of literature?
  • Can you raise an issue or issues in this literature which have not been examined as yet?

You will certainly impress the person reading your dissertation if you are able to refer to other comparable pieces of literature when providing your review. It will impress the reader no end that you are widely read. You have considered the literature you are reviewing alongside several other works. Well done you.

Now there will be other people who have written a review of this piece of literature but a good test for you in your dissertation is to come up with a new or different way of interpreting the chosen piece. If you can do that it will be a big tick against your name.

Of course you need to understand the piece of literature you are writing a review about. You not only need to know the characters and events, you also must be able to clearly identify any issues or any themes which are raised in this work.

In addition to reading other comparable pieces of literature, it will really boost your status as a dissertation writer if you can refer to other reviewers. What have they had to say about this same piece of literature?

And finally, and this would really be a feather in your cap, can you suggest an issue or issues emanating from this piece of literature which you are reviewing which have not as yet been investigated? In other words you are giving your academic institution a great new topic for them to assign to another dissertation writer.

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