9 tips on writing a dissertation literature review

A literature review is one of the most important chapters of writing a dissertation, thesis, or research paper. It holds the most background information about the study. A literature review chapter contains all the sources you have utilized to build your topic. The literature review also known as research past papers is significant for your topic, it will help you identify your research gap.

As a student, writing your literature review for the first time can be challenging. You are unaware of how to organize your sources, you do not give the proper reference, or you just can’t fathom the entire writing process of it. Any one of these mistakes can potentially damage your powerful chapter.

If you want to compose a solid literature review then read further. In this post, you will learn 9 crucial tips that come directly from the table of writing experts.

1.  Search for the relevant data

What is meant by relevant literature? It is all the sources or past papers that are not only related to your study but are also the data that can predict the future of your study as well. These sources should showcase the direction of your topic. Relevant data will make your literature review strong. You need to talk about the independent variable and the dependent variable of writing a dissertation topic. This will make your study a lot more polished and interesting for the readers.

The relevant data should be enough to give birth to a research question. This question should not require data collection. The question can be answered with the help of existing research in your literature review.

2.  Organize all the sources

Since you add most of the sources to the literature review chapter, you need to make sure that the sources are all cited within the text and also in the reference list. But that will be possible if you would remember where you got your data from. Due to this reason, you have to organize all your sources systematically.

Make sure you sort your data according to the type of source. For instance:

  • Books
  • Webpages
  • College journal
  • Newspaper
  • Television
  • Google Scholar
  • Other ways of writing a dissertation and thesis

3.  Spot the research gap

Now that you have sorted the sources, you can easily identify the research gap. When you compare different researches, you can get a good research gap that you can work on. Working on a research gap will make your topic more amusing for your jury panel.

The research gap is the sweet gap that is left between two or three researchers in the past. If a researcher works on a topic. They can’t cover all aspects of it. There have to be some parts missing. These “parts” are known as the research gaps. Working on these gaps adds value to the type of study you are doing and contributes to your field. Moreover, you can identify problems of the research and the limitations as well when working on the research gap.

4.  Outline your structure

The structure of your literature review has to be your number one priority. You have to be aware of the order of the literature review. You can not just come out and write it the way you want. There has to be a theme or the methodology or a chronological order that needs to be followed. This is one of the best tips ever “outline your literature review”. A tip to remember for life. Always brainstorm and make multiple outlines of a difficult chapter. Then pick the one that benefits your study the most.

You should always outline your dissertation before writing a dissertation. Especially if you have not worked on an extensive document before. You see, outlining will keep you on track. It will also eliminate any repetitive points.

5.  Maintaining the tone

The tone of your literature review should be formal and informative. The tense should be in the past and there should be no assumptions made from the researcher’s side. The chapter itself is very dry and difficult but you can make it interesting by increasing the evidence per paragraph.

For instance: If your study topic is about “The melting icebergs in the arctic circle due to the increase of global warming” Your literature review should present studies that are supporting this research statement. You start with a few supporting research studies and then take out the big guns by increasing the evidence chronologically.

6.  Pick the type of literature review

This is a hidden tip that most students do not know. Most students believe that there is only one way of composing this broad chapter.

There is no one shoe fits all when it comes to the literature review. Different types of literature reviews are used for dissertations. You have to choose the literature review according to your topic. Each field of study has its purpose and importance, therefore the literature review should complement your work rather than work against it.

Some of the types are:

  • Argumentative literature review
  • Theoretical literature review
  • Narrative literature review
  • Systematic literature review
  • Theoretical literature review

7.  Break the task down

When you write your literature review, you need to keep in mind that you are composing a significant chapter that requires your full attention. You need to be completely dedicated and motivated to write the literature review. Therefore make sure to take breaks. Do not try to complete this chapter in one go because you can’t. You need to compile all the research material you found and then add it to your chapter along with references.
Hence keeping a daily word count will help keep your headspace clear. When you assign yourself the words, you are managing your time, disciplining yourself, and giving yourself mandatory breaks.

8.  Have it proofread

When you have tons of weight on your shoulder, you need to have another set of eyes to go through your work. This eliminates unnecessary mistakes one might make. Since a student is under the constant pressure of performing well. Getting dissertation writing help UK style or getting your document proofread can decrease this stress to some extend.

9.  Build your comfort zone

There is nothing you cant do with a little comfort. All you need is your desk, your laptop, and a warm cup of beverage to make your literature review one of the best. Make sure to be consistent with the writing time. Some people like to write in the morning and some prefer to burn the midnight oil. Just pick the time of your comfort and get going.

Extra Tip:

Start writing a dissertation with the literature review rather than the introduction. This way you can easily build the rest of your dissertation when you have all the background of the topic.

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