When you need to write a large-scale piece of work, you need to be highly proficient in this work, don’t you? And when you need to write a dissertation, you need to be more than just proficient, you need to keep yourself updated with all publications that relate to your dissertation. Just then, you come to an understanding of the fact that writing a dissertation is a lengthy and difficult process. It is hard to focus on this kind of work, especially when you have just completed your previous big paper, when you have published some of your articles, and when you have just applied for a full-time job to support yourself financially. No one denies the fact! Look here, there is always a beginning point of everything, and this kind of work isn’t an exception. Well-written and structured dissertation with adequate thesis, evident points, and credible and legitimate resources means success! It is a documentary proof of your proficiency, and it is a benchmark for your future research and exploration.
What is a beginning point of your work? Of course, your beginning point should be choosing a topic, and then you may proceed to writing a literature review. Many dissertations suffer greatly from poorly written and structured literature reviews. If your review is faulty, the whole work may be evaluated as faulty as well. This happens mainly because dissertation examiners tend to begin the evaluation of dissertations with examining a literature review. They look at it and find out that it is poorly written, structured, and conceptualized; it may spoil the whole work of a researcher.
In this article, we are going to discuss how to write a dissertation literature review, and what is a literature review in a dissertation.
First of all, let’s define what a dissertation is. A dissertation is a lengthy piece of writing that argues in defense of a certain point or several points, or theses that are mentioned in a dissertation. This kind of work requires collecting sufficient data and information that support your thesis; or vice versa, contradicts your point and you include it to your research as a counterargument or an alternative point of view.
A literature review is only a part of a larger work (in rare cases it may be a separate project, but this time it is not the case), a part of a research paper, a thesis, or a dissertation that sets a background for your paper, and tells you where you are with your research at the current moment. A literature review is a set of scholarly peer-reviewed works, previous dissertations related to this topic, relevant books, conference proceedings and other scientific credible documentary records that may be collected and used in a literature review and can create a reliable background for your further research.
Let us update you on a subject-matter of a dissertation literature review, its goals and its types.
The first reason for writing a literature review is to improve your understanding of a specific subject of your research, to expand your knowledge in the field of study, or to build expertise. Subsequently, the second reason is to demonstrate your knowledge or expertise to examiners of your dissertation, or to your readers (if you write a literature review as a separate piece of writing). However, there is the third reason that may be mentioned; it is to keep your readers updated on a certain topic. It is worth adding that a dissertation literature review has multiple goals, and these goals vary depending on your field of study, your discipline, and a topic of your work.
There are several types of literature reviews, and there are several categories defining these types. Below you will find some of them:
However, types of literature reviews may be divided into another category:
Now, when you’ve learned what a literature review is, and what its types are, you need to start looking for an appropriate literature for your review. Where to begin?
As your aim is to provide your review with adequate and credible literature on a specific topic, you should look for appropriate documents by looking through some academic peer-reviewed sources, searching some private databases, attending various specialized libraries (by the way, librarians may help you find an appropriate literature related to your topic), looking through various specialized subscription journals.
What is your next step? Right, you should analyze and read through the chosen sources. However, do not spend too much time on reading all 200 sources because you have no time for it! This process should end faster than an ordinary book-reading process. You should look through a certain source, analyze it, define how important this or that source is for your dissertation, find some key concepts, relationships or patterns between the sources that directly related to your topic. Or, on the contrary, you may find some weak points in these sources and mention them in your review as supporting argument for the thesis of your work.
Another important detail of a good dissertation literature review is that you need to know how to structure and organize these sources, and how to present chosen key concepts, relationships or patterns of these sources. A structure of a literature review may vary depending on an educational institution, requirements of an instructor, etc. Nevertheless, below you will find a general idea of how you may structure and organize literature:
To illustrate how it should be done, below you will find an illustrative classification example of a dissertation literature review (this example may be applied to any other work where you need a literature review):
Chronological Pattern: Physiology as a Separate Field of Medicine
After that or before that you provide advancements and contributions of each author as an outcome of this group of sources; or you may discuss a certain problem before you provide the respective literature supporting a problem being discussed. It is not that difficult, huh? Examples of a literature review for a dissertation may be given by your instructor as well, so go ahead and ask him/her!
Let’s summarize all the previous information into several brief tips on that matter:
Vince Lombardi, an American football player, coach and executive, once said that “the price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand”. This quote is the best motto of dissertation writers because hard work and dedication to your work always results in success.
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