One of the dissertation parts that probably makes it hard for you to get the work going is a literature review. You may not have had any experience with reviews in high school and at university at first, as essays do not have any similar sections, and you may now struggle to work on the paper because of this. It can be intimidating, but there is no need to worry – other people have passed this stage successfully, and so can you.
So what is this scary part you have to write? A lit review is just a summary with a bit of an analysis of studies that have been previously conducted on the topic. The main goal is not the description of authors, their papers and opinions on certain issues, but rather an understanding of what is going on in the field of the interest now, what should be researched, and how others approach it. Writing a review, you offer your readers a few different viewpoints on the problem and explain why yours is good enough to write a paper on it.
There are a few major details you need to consider while preparing a literature review for the dissertation. First, try to find as many relevant articles, books, and other works on the topic you have and write about them comprehensively. Do not just list the authors. Mention how they relate to each other, where their theories are similar, and where they are way too different. Do not forget that you can structure the review and make it more readable by using subheading and bullets where needed.
Even though there is no perfect length for lit reviews, you should know that every word you say should have some weight. Do not just write a lot of nonsense because you should fill in space. Ask the professor about the word limit or look for the standards of your university and stick to them. If you feel like you cannot write enough – simply research more. If you are going off the limit – see what info is redundant or less significant.
When you know how to write the literature review, your dissertation has a lot more chances to succeed. The above-mentioned guidelines will sure be useful and will help you make your paper more professional. However, there is one more thing you need to know to make your dissertation excellent, and that is the structure of the lit review.
Usually, you will be given a sample of the structure or will be able to find it on the official website. If you are given specific directions, it is crucial to follow them precisely. However, if you are left with no help, this outline is the one to use.
The intro – the first part of the section, which takes up to two paragraphs, and covers the topic background or gives the wider context. It shows why the topic is significant and why you have chosen it. Also, it states the limits of the research you do and shows aims of the review.
Body paragraphs are the ones where all action takes place. You can present the source in the order you choose yourself. You can look up a few dissertation samples to see how others develop paragraphs in the body of the literature review.
Finally, the conclusion is the last part of the review, which should not exceed two paragraphs. It has to summarize the findings, inconsistencies and expand on limitations. You can show how helpful is this part for the whole work, and what unique questions you have addressed in there.
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