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Doing a literature review

What is a literature review?

❶It can also be a check for yourself that you have identified enough relevant differences. Already answered Not a question Bad question Other.

Why do I need a literature review?




The body of the dissertation, however, contains variations from field to field. Review the basic structure of a dissertation, and get yours underway. Strutturare una Tesi di Laurea. Start your dissertation content with a short introduction.

This introduction should present the scope of your research, while it also establishes the need for your research. The introduction should include any context or background information that the reader needs in order to understand your research.

Writing the introduction after the rest of the content can sometimes be a good way of ensuring the introduction covers everything. Write the literature review. The literature review should be beneficial to both the layman and the expert. It should cover the literature related to your concept, link literature similar to your own, and demonstrate the issues related to your chosen research.

If your research improves upon or clarifies a specific flaw in previous research, be sure to highlight the importance of your original content. The literature review should also pinpoint wherever previous research conflicts. Demonstrate why your dissertation has merit. A dissertation should be written because there is a knowledge gap of some kind in the industry.

Explain how your dissertation fills the gap, and why the information is even needed. The dissertation should prove to be original. Given their respective experience, your advisors should be able to provide considerable guidance on the dissertation topic choice, and how to prevent a certain degree of redundancy. Consider if your dissertation really interests you.

The work will take a considerable amount of time and losing interest will make research difficult. Restate the purpose of your study. The purpose of the methodology section is to demonstrate the manner in which data was collected. As such, the majority of the following sections will fill in necessary details.

The explanation does not have to be elaborate, but it should prepare the reader for the upcoming, detailed methodology. If applicable, the description of any people who take part in your study should be extremely thorough. Each person should be identifiable within the research. Further, how people join and leave the study should be noted.

If people were selected at random, or if they were family members, is important to the study. Explain all tools related to measurement. If you have developed a new method of measurement, something like a survey or questionnaire, explicitly state every single detail about it. If an already established metric is being used, be sure to reference it where applicable. Once the tool s are noted, be sure to capture all pertinent information, such as the following: Identify all scores obtained by the tools.

Note which techniques were used to administer the measurements. Describe your research design. Break down all the details of how it will take place from beginning to end.

Define all variables and all scenarios so that anyone wishing to do so could reproduce your procedures and entire study.

For instance, a study related to happiness could be affected by weather or a participant's family problem. Breakdown the finite details so there are no holes if someone were to attempt duplication. List the results of the research. It is not necessary to include all results discovered through the research. Do not interpret the research.

If there are significant findings or data, that should be left for the later portion of the dissertation where everything is explained. Divide results into chapters. The dissertation should be organized so that chapters are focused on a specific question.

The questions could be wide-ranging, based on a thought-process, an aspect of your methodology, or other issue related to the research. Be sure the chapters not only address t he questions, but answers them. They should support what you are attempting to prove through your detailed research and methodology. Non-debatable — Microprocessors are smaller today than they were 10 years ago. Present the importance of your findings within the context of your overall research.

Be sure to clarify how the conclusions relate to the questions posed prior to research and related results. Pose directions for further research. Inevitably, your research will not be perfect. As such, you should propose how to solve the flaws in future research. There could be unanticipated results upon which you could suggest related future research. You can suggest a more narrow focus of your research that someone in the future could follow to answer the unanswered question.

Sometimes even a key idea can be discovered in this way. It is therefore probably worth allocating some time to sitting in the library, with issues from the last year or two of the most relevant journals for your research topic, and reviewing them for anything of relevance. To avoid printing out or photocopying a lot of material that you will not ultimately read, you can use the abstracts of articles to check their relevance before you obtain full copies.

EndNote and RefWorks are software packages that you can use to collect and store details of your references, and your comments on them. As you review the references, remember to be a critical reader see Study Guide What is critical reading? Keeping a record of your search strategy is useful, to prevent you duplicating effort by doing the same search twice, or missing out a significant and relevant sector of literature because you think you have already done that search.

Increasingly, examiners at post-graduate level are looking for the detail of how you chose which evidence you decided to refer to. They will want to know how you went about looking for relevant material, and your process of selection and omission. You need to check what is required within your own discipline. If you are required to record and present your search strategy, you may be able to include the technical details of the search strategy as an appendix to your thesis. Plagiarism is regarded as a serious offence by all Universities, and you need to make sure that you do not, even accidentally, commit plagiarism.

It can happen accidentally, for example, if you are careless in your note-taking. This can mean that you get mixed up over what is an exact quote, and what you have written in your own words; or over what was an idea of your own that you jotted down, or an idea from some text. This has the advantage that, when you come to use that example in your writing up, you can choose:.

Help is available regarding how to avoid plagiarism and it is worth checking it out. Your department will have its own guidance. It is important to keep control of the reading process, and to keep your research focus in mind.

Rudestam and Newton It is also important to see the writing stage as part of the research process, not something that happens after you have finished reading the literature. Wellington et al Once you are part way through your reading you can have a go at writing the literature review, in anticipation of revising it later on.

It is often not until you start explaining something in writing that you find where your argument is weak, and you need to collect more evidence. A skill that helps in curtailing the reading is: Decisions need to be made about where to focus your reading, and where you can refer briefly to an area but explain why you will not be going into it in more detail. The task of shaping a logical and effective report of a literature review is undeniably challenging.

Some useful guidance on how to approach the writing up is given by Wellington et al In most disciplines, the aim is for the reader to reach the end of the literature review with a clear appreciation of what you are doing; why you are doing it; and how it fits in with other research in your field. Often, the literature review will end with a statement of the research question s. Having a lot of literature to report on can feel overwhelming. It is important to keep the focus on your study, rather than on the literature Wellington To help you do this, you will need to establish a structure to work to.

A good, well-explained structure is also a huge help to the reader. As with any piece of extended writing, structure is crucial. There may be specific guidance on structure within your department, or you may need to devise your own. Once you have established your structure you need to outline it for your reader. Although you clearly need to write in an academic style, it can be helpful to imagine that you are telling a story. The thread running through the story is the explanation of why you decided to do the study that you are doing.

The story needs to be logical, informative, persuasive, comprehensive and, ideally, interesting. It needs to reach the logical conclusion that your research is a good idea. If there is a key article or book that is of major importance to the development of your own research ideas, it is important to give extra space to describing and critiquing that piece of literature in more depth. Similarly, if there are some studies that you will be referring to more than to others, it would be useful to give them a full report and critique at this stage.

As well as using tables to display numerical data, tables can be useful within a literature review when you are comparing other kinds of material.

For example, you could use a table to display the key differences between two or more:. The table format can make the comparisons easier to understand than if they were listed within the text.

It can also be a check for yourself that you have identified enough relevant differences. An omission will be more obvious within a table, where it would appear as a blank cell, than it would be within text.

Almost all academic writing will need a reference list. This is a comprehensive list of the full references of sources that you have referred to in your writing. The reader needs to be able to follow up any source you have referred to.

A bibliography is not usually necessary or relevant, unless you have been asked to produce one. This experience is common in PhD study, but it can happen at any level, and can feel as if you have wasted a lot of effort. Looking at this positively, however, you have probably read more widely than you might otherwise have done. That probably confirms that it was a good question to ask!

Although this can feel very disappointing at first, it can often be transformed into a benefit. It is important that your research fits logically within the existing research in your area, and you may have found an ideal study to link with and to extend in some way.

Firstly, this is unlikely. Perhaps if you modify your search strategy you will find something. Check out whether there is an important reason why the research has not been done, which would make it sensible for you to choose a different focus.

If you do decide to go ahead, then take extra care designing your research, in the absence of guidance from previous studies. Ploughing a little-known furrow as a novice researcher is going to be very difficult, and you may find it difficult to get much support or help.

An important aspect of your thesis and your viva, is that you can show how your research fits with other research. This will be just as important when there is limited existing research in your area, as when there is an abundance. Once you have a first draft of your literature review it is possible for you to assess how well you have achieved your aims. One way of doing this is to examine each paragraph in turn, and to write in the margin a very brief summary of the content, and the type of content e.

These summaries then provide the outline of the story you are telling, and the way that you are telling it. Both of these are important and need to be critically reviewed.


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The structure of a literature review. A literature review should be structured like any other essay: it should have an introduction, a middle or main body, and a conclusion.

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Writing a Literature Review As an academic writer, you are expected to provide an analytical overview of the significant literature published on your topic. If your audience knows less than you do on the topic, your purpose is instructional.

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Below is an overview of how you could structure your literature review. This is a general overview and you should always follow specific guidance given in your dissertation Writing a Literature Review in a dissertation 4 | P a g e your dissertation topic and field of study. The Structure of Your Literature Review Sep 09, by Dr Sally Once you have analyzed, synthesized, and evaluated the relevant sources for your topic, you need to think about presenting the material in a way that will best shape your argument and make sense to your readers.

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The literature review is very important to the rest of the dissertation structure, because it provides the context for your own research and outlines the key theories that your own work will be supported by. How to write your PhD thesis (part 1) How to write a PhD literature review (2-part course) 41 thoughts on “ How to write a PhD literature review ” Clara Tang. i have a question about the structure of the literature review, what is the best design or layout for the L.R.