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Basic Instructions For Writing A Dissertation Literature Review

What is a dissertation literature review?

A dissertation literature review aims to show that you have read and have a good understanding of the main published work regarding an individual topic in your whilst showcasing your skills on interpretation, understanding, synthesis, analysis and development of argument.

the purpose of a literature review.

  • As a synthesis and analysis of published work.
  • To define the limit, you are working on.
  • To evaluate research methods.
  • To relate your study with previous findings/knowledge.
  • To provide an insight of varying theories, arguments and/or approaches.

basic instructions for writing a dissertation literature review.

  • Prior to writing your dissertation, you must first decide on what you have to read. This can usually be done by referring to distributed booklist (if any). If none, you will most likely be directed towards areas/aspects of useful and appropriate published works. To make it easier, try first to determine your parameters of search.
  • Once you have decided, ask yourself what your objectives are and what you need to find out for this particular dissertation. Compile some main ideas, areas or questions involved in a list before you begin your reading, so once you start reading, you are more likely to read with the end in mind ( meaning having to read with the purpose of finding out information you compiled into your list ).
  • Include a clear and short introduction to your review.
  • Your review MUST be well structured and unbiased. Hence, when writing, include an overview of the issue/topic/theory under consideration; connect your findings to the knowledge that came from your work, findings or ideas. Conclude the works that gave an impactful contribution to the development of your subject/topic/theory.
  • Consider the author’s qualifications, neutrality, credibility and their work’s worth when deciding whether or not to include them into your review.
  • Only select/quote the MOST RELEVANT material for your subject/argument/topic/theory. It can be very tempting and overwhelming at times when choosing relevant materials, so decide wisely. Keep your focus on your study and not the literature.
  • Understand the quotation that you plan to use within the context of your subject/argument/theory.
  • Only include relevant quotations in your review.
  • Stay focused on the language of the quotations.
  • Avoid plagiarism and remember always to separate your source opinions from your hypothesis. Besides that, always reference the work you are referring to.

Keep in mind that your ideas have to be the center of your writing. Also, be prepared to cross out entire sections or paragraphs of your work if they are irrelevant to your main ideas.