While writing a dissertation, students have to follow a protocol. This protocol includes the division of their research paper into multiple chapters. All these chapters are responsible for presenting the argument and its basis separately. Some of them introduce the argument and some are there to serve the purpose of letting the reader know about the background of the problem. One of the most important chapters among them is literature review. In a Dissertation Literature Review, the author refers to the major publications from the past.
A literature review, also referred to as narrative review, consists of all the knowledge that has been found till the day on the issue being discussed. It includes all the data, facts and figures, major findings or theoretical contributions to a particular topic. It sets the basis for further research by making the reader realize that the issue is a genuine one.
Literature reviews are a part of your main thesis or dissertation. But sometimes they are required in your dissertation proposal (the document approved by your supervisor before you start working on your dissertation) as well. Today we are going to discuss ways in which you can make the process of writing your literature review smoother and swifter.
Ways to write a Literature Review:
Writing an effective literature review requires some discipline. Either you are writing it for your thesis proposal or your main dissertation paper. It needs to be addressed appropriately and in a certain manner. Here are a few key techniques to help you write your literature review for your dissertation:
Define your area of study:
Either you are writing a dissertation on scientific theoretical topic or a tangible problem related to your study. Defining the particular area is of significant help. Within your discipline, there are always a number of sub-studies. For example physics can be divided into quantum physics, astronomy, solid state physics etc. you need to identify what sub-study your topic is related to. This is going to help you find literature related to your theme and the major publications by the greatest of the figures in your area. They can be classified easily after you define your area circle and the irrelevant ones can be sorted out easily.
Identify your Aims and Objectives:
Having a clear vision of what you want to achieve through this research is always helpful in writing literature review. First of all you need to identify your aims and objectives. Your aims are the findings that want the world to know and objectives are the results that may be helpful in addressing the problem.
Once you know the aims and objectives of your paper, you can easily find the authors you want to include in your literature review. You can see look for the knowledge that has been found till the day related to your own topic. It can help your literature review anchored in a specific point of view.
Your thesis statement:
Thesis statement is perhaps the most important part of your dissertation. It is responsible for setting the basis of your further research. Having a clear thesis statement makes sure that your literature review is going to be on the right track.
Everything in your paper revolves around the statement defining your topic and so does the literature review. When you don’t have a clear vision in front of your eyes, you might lose the right path and include the information that is entirely or partially irrelevant to the current problem.
Do your research:
Research is the key to write a good literature review. Once you are done with the selection of topic, identifying your aims and objectives and writing a well-constructed thesis statement, start doing research. Look for the most reliable resources who can provide you with the authentic information. Search the major publications authored by the great figures of your area of study and how these publications addressed the issue in the past.
Use reliable resources:
One of the main problems in the age of technology is differentiating between a reliable and non-reliable resource. Tons of information is there on internet that is in no way true. Hence, it’s significant that you always the reliable resources for research purposes.
Just because you studies on internet on a random site with the name of a great beneath it, doesn’t mean it’s true as well. Misinformation can lead you to severe consequences. You can visit a nearby library or an online softcopy books website to look for the original works of authors.
Explore articles to the depth:
Finding articles on internet is quite easy nowadays. You can type anything in the search bar and find hundreds of thousands of articles or quotes. But it is imperative to explore those articles or information in depth. Sometimes things seem very different in appearance or at first glance. But when you get into the deep corners of information or look for the context, they might seem different. Whatever you find on internet, look for its context, time it was published in and the perspective of its author.
Use proper keywords:
One of the major problems students come across during their research for literature review is the scarcity of relevant information on internet and abundance of irrelevant topic in their search results. This problem is a result of using improper or wrong keywords. Google or other search engines’ algorithms provide you results on the basis of your keywords.
Follow the citation formats properly:
Citation is an important of your whole dissertation. It saves you from plagiarism and helps you strengthen your own position as well by referring to the works of the great scholars. Whenever you come across an article that you want to include in your literature review, use proper citations that are given in the article. Without citing the article or the resources used by the author of that article, you are committing a crime and it can lead to severe consequences. By citing the resources you actually acknowledge the works of other people and it also helps the reader redirect to the original works you have used as a resource.
Develop your review logically:
Consider your literature review as development of your argument. By using the works of others, you are actually setting a basis for your own position. Presentation of the information in your literature review should develop like an argument in itself. Where you give the background information in chronological order and then state your own position. It must look logical and based on reasoning.
Ask for Help:
Your literature review sets the basis for your whole paper. A dissertation literature review includes all the relevant information of the problem currently being addressed. It needs a lot of research and that can be time consuming if you are all on your own. What is required is that you ask for help from your friends, peers or your supervisor. They will suggest you the authors and publications related to your topic and it will save a lot of time and energy for you.