As a graduate student, one of the most important tasks you will undertake is writing a literature review for your dissertation. A literature review is a critical evaluation of existing research on a particular topic, and it is an essential component of any dissertation. A well-written literature review can help establish the importance of your research question, identify gaps in the existing literature, and provide a framework for your research.
In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of writing a literature review for your dissertation. We will cover everything from selecting a topic to organizing your sources and writing the review itself. By the end of this guide, you will have the tools you need to write a compelling literature review that will impress your dissertation committee.
1. Choosing a Topic
The first step in writing a literature review is choosing a topic. Your topic should be relevant to your research question, and it should be narrow enough to allow for a comprehensive review of the literature. Start by brainstorming ideas and consulting with your advisor. Once you have a general idea of your topic, begin searching the literature to see what has been written about it.
2. Organizing Your Sources
Once you have selected your sources, it is important to organize them in a way that makes sense for your review. One effective way to do this is by organizing your sources by theme. Identify the main themes that emerge from your sources and group them together. This will help you identify patterns in the literature and highlight areas where further research is needed.
3. Writing the Review
When writing your literature review, it is important to follow a clear structure. Start with an introduction that provides an overview of the topic and establishes the importance of the research question. Next, provide a summary of the existing literature, highlighting key findings and themes. Finally, conclude with a discussion of the gaps in the existing literature and a justification for your research question.
1. How long should a literature review be?
A literature review should be long enough to provide a comprehensive overview of the existing literature, but not so long that it becomes overwhelming. Aim for a review that is between1500-3000 words.
2. What sources should I include in my literature review?
You should include any sources that are relevant to your research question. This may include journal articles, books, and other scholarly sources
3. How do I know if a source is relevant?
Read the abstract and introduction of each source to determine if it is relevant to your research question. Skim the article to get a sense of the main arguments and findings.
4. How do I avoid plagiarism in my literature review?
Make sure to properly cite all sources using the appropriate citation style. Paraphrase information from your sources rather than copying and pasting.
5. How do I know when to stop searching for sources?
Stop searching for sources once you have a comprehensive understanding of the existing literature on your topic. This may take several weeks or even months, depending on the scope of your research question.
Writing a literature review for your dissertation can be a daunting task, but with the right approach, it can be a rewarding experience. Remember to choose a relevant topic, organize your sources effectively, and follow a clear structure when writing your review. By following these tips, you will be well on your way to writing a literature review that will impress your dissertation committee.