Regardless of how thorough your research is or how good your writing skills are, a bad literature review is one of the most common ways of derailing an entire dissertation. The goal of the student is to present himself as professional, which is something you must prove in this particular section. As Boote and Beile said, ''a researcher cannot perform significant research without first understanding the literature in the field”.
You are now an academic writer and as such, people expect you to provide an overview of the literature published in the specific topic you have chosen. This overview should be analytical and instruct the audience on the topic. In the case where the audience knows the information found in the literature review, your goal here is to demonstrate intelligence and familiarity with the topic in question.
This is why we said a bad literature could derail your entire dissertation and the opinion of the audience.
Generally speaking, a literature review should:
A proper literature review is well structured and the ideas within flow logically. To create such literature review, ensure that all references and sources are relevant and current. In addition, look into guidelines and your discipline to cite these sources appropriately.
The content of the literature review should:
When aiming to include other work in your literature review, make sure to pay attention to the qualifications of the author, their perspective and credibility, as well as the value of their conclusion. Use transition and reporting words to indicate transitions between ideas and assessments.
The transitions serve to assess, synthesize and analyze outside perspectives, while the reporting allows the writer to convey the claims of such works. In order to report, use verbs that indicate neutral, positive, critical and tentative assessment.
In most cases, you will be directed towards specific published work or given a booklist to use in your paper. Use this to your advantage and research what you are given.
Still, this is not the case with the more complex papers. As students, you will be required to write theses and dissertations, which allow for more flexibility, but require more effort. When this is the case, decide on your research's parameters. For example, you can use a list of the main questions and areas to get some guidance and information about the answers to these questions.
To write a proper literature review, you should:
These should help you write your literature review. If you still do not feel confident enough, go through our checklist:
1. Select the sources
When selecting the sources of your paper, check the following questions:
Do not forget to be critical in this part – the best judge of your writing style is you. In order to evaluate the literature used, follow this checklist:
Finally, the interpretation part. This part comes when the entire section is finished and you want to make some final touches. Here is what you should ask yourself:
There you have it – everything you need to know about writing a quality literature review. Go through our list step by step and create the best dissertation literature review there is!