Keys to Success: How to Write a Literature Review for Dissertation

Carrie Miller

dissertation literature review

The words “literature review dissertation” might sound a tad intimidating, especially if you’re starting on your academic journey. But what if I told you that crafting a stellar dissertation literature review can be your golden ticket to a standout thesis? Buckle up, for we will demystify this crucial component of your research adventure.


In the grand dissertation theatre, the literature review is the scene-setter. It paints the backdrop, sets the mood, and whispers to your audience, “Here’s what the world knows; now let’s dive into the unknown.”

What is a Literature Review and Why Does it Matter?

At its core, the literature review is your scholarly DJ mixtape. It’s where you blend existing research tunes to set the stage for your fresh track. But why fuss about how to write a literature review for a dissertation? It’s simple: to show you’re not just dropping a research beat in isolation but in rhythm with the academic community.

Starting with a Clear Focus

Before diving into the ocean of existing research, get your scuba gear in order. What exactly are you diving for? What’s your central research question or hypothesis? Once you’re clear o

Effective Search Strategies for Gathering Sources

Just like hunting for hidden treasures, you need the correct map and tools:

Using Databases and Online Libraries – Think of them as your academic treasure chests. Each database has unique jewels; knowing the right one for your field is crucial.

Making Use of Keywords – These are your treasure clues. Craft a list and play around with variants.

Staying Updated with Recent Publications – Set alerts so you’re the first to know when a new gem is being discovered.

How to Assess the Quality and Relevance of Sources?

In a world where information is abundant, being picky is essential. Not every shiny article is gold. Some might be glitter. It is paramount to differentiate between primary and secondary sources, evaluate their credibility, and understand their context.

Organizing and Structuring Your Literature Review

Imagine assembling a puzzle. Do you group pieces by color, edge type, or criterion? Similarly:

Thematic Structure – This is ideal if your literature review dissertation example has clear themes or patterns.

Chronological Structure – Trace the evolution of thought. An exciting journey through academic time!

Methodological Structure – When you want to group studies by their techniques.

How to Avoid a Descriptive Literature Review and Aim for Critical Analysis?

Don’t just parrot what others have said. Instead, engage in a scholarly dance. Lead when you sense gaps or contradictions in the literature. Follow when you recognize areas of consensus.

Linking Your Literature Review to Your Research

Here’s where the magic happens! The literature review for dissertation is not an isolated chapter. It’s the bridge to your research, highlighting its significance in the grand academic narrative.

Common Pitfalls and How to Overcome Them

  • Ancient manuscripts might sound fantastic, but in academia, outdated sources? Not so much.
  • Remember, wearing rose-tinted glasses might obscure the full spectrum of research.
  • And be gracious! Address conflicting evidence with respect and curiosity.

Conclusion: The Final Takeaway

If your dissertation literature review were a movie, this is where the credits roll. It’s your last chance to remind your audience of the journey you’ve taken them on and to prepare them for the adventure ahead.

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