How To Create A Good Literature Review For A Dissertation

The literature review is an essential part of your dissertation paper. It shows you have scoured the available literature for all works published that are relevant to your topic. Your paper must show uniqueness and it can only do that by illustrating there’s no other written work exactly covering your chosen topic.

Characteristics of a good literature review

  • Highlights your credentials by showing you are aware of what others are doing in your field.
  • Indicates the potential for your work and research to lead to new knowledge.
  • Lays the foundation for the theory behind the work you are proposing in your paper.
  • Shows your work is a significant contribution to your field.
  • Provides context in detail for how and where your work has a place with the work that’s already been done previously by others.
  • Convinces your reader you have a thorough understanding of what you are investigating.
  • It is much more than just a list of sources and short description of each. It is an interpretation and summary of currently published works specifically relevant to the narrow focus of your work.

Conducting your literature review

With a big project such as your dissertation, there are likely to be multiple steps in conducting and completing your review. It’s essential to have a preliminary review in order to confirm there’s a need for your work to proceed. It confirms your research question can’t be answered by current works.

As you proceed with your investigation, you’ll need to stay current with other works taking place in your specific field of studies, so ongoing review is necessary. As you make final arrangements for finishing your paper, you will want to relate the findings of others to what you have discovered.

Where to get help

Staff members at your educational institution can lend a lot of help to your search. They can give you valuable insights on where and how to look for the sources you need. A good librarian can also be a great asset to your search. They know how to identify relevant sources and how to conduct a thorough search. You will be required and expected to do a lot of reading, comparing and thinking when choosing which references to include. Compiling your review should not be taken lightly. Your paper’s success could be riding on this step of the process.