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How to Write a Literature Review
How to Write a Literature Review for a Dissertation: 12 Steps
In essence, a literature review identifies, evaluates and synthesises the relevant literature within a particular field of research. It illuminates how knowledge has evolved within the field, highlighting what has already been done, what is generally accepted, what is emerging and what is the current state of thinking on the topic. In addition, within research-based texts such as a Doctoral thesis, a literature review identifies a research gap i. However, your literature review does not need to be inclusive of every article and book that has been written on your topic because that will be too broad. Rather, it should include the key sources related to the main debates, trends and gaps in your research area. A review of literature presents much more than a summary of relevant sources. The act of reviewing involves evaluating individual sources as well as synthesising these sources in order to gain a broad view of the field.
How to write a literature review
A literature review can be either a summary or an explanation of a comprehensive and current state of knowledge on a limited subject matter as found in academic books and journal articles. As a student, there are two categories of literature reviews that you will be required to compose while in college. The first one, you will be asked to compose a literature review as a standalone assignment in a course, usually as part of their training on the research process in the field of study. The second one is composed as part of an introduction, or a preparation for a long assignment, mostly a dissertation or research paper. The type of hypothesis and the perspective of your literature review or even the thesis argument you present will be determined by the type of review you are supposed to write.
Before getting started on sourcing and reviewing the background literature for a research project, it is important to understand the role that a literature review plays in the research process, and how it can be helpful later on for placing your own findings in context. Knowing the job that a literature review does means you can be more targeted and systematic in your literature searching. The guidance on this page will explain what you need to know about the purpose of a literature review and how to begin scoping your search.