If you're a new student or writing essays at a lower level where a literature review isn't a usual requirement, the concept of compiling one for a dissertation can be even more daunting.It is a summary of the current writings in the field you are researching and into which your dissertation will eventually fit.
If you're a new student or writing essays at a lower level where a literature review isn't a usual requirement, the concept of compiling one for a dissertation can be even more daunting.It is a summary of the current writings in the field you are researching and into which your dissertation will eventually fit.In the conclusion, you should: Summarize major contributions of significant studies and articles to the body of knowledge under review, maintaining the focus established in the introduction.
Conclude by providing some insight into the relationship between the central topic of the literature review and a larger area of study such as a discipline, a scientific endeavor, or a profession.
For further information see our handouts on Writing a Critical Review of a Nonfiction Book or Article or Reading a Book to Review It.
In any case, when considering your inclusion and exclusion criteria, it is important to ask the following of each article: is this relevant, suitable, and useful?
In practice, this process will ensure that the review remains concisely tailored to the topic discussed.
Remember – a good literature review not only provides important background to your own dissertation writing, but also helps to show where your dissertation will fit into the field.
Paragraphs giving the title of each book and then summarising their contents do not constitute a literature review.The following collection of annotated sample literature reviews written and co-written by colleagues associated with UW-Madison showcases how these reviews can do different kind of work for different purposes.Use these successful examples as a starting point for understanding how other writers have approached the challenging and important task of situating their idea in the context of established research.To learn more about literature reviews, take a look at our workshop on Writing Literature Reviews of Published Research.An important strategy for learning how to compose literature reviews in your field or within a specific genre is to locate and analyze representative examples.You need to look for themes that several authors mention and discuss the ways the different authorities have tackled them.Your literature review should be as comprehensive as possible, mentioning all the major theorists or writers in the field of your dissertation subject.It's unlikely you will have the time to read every word available on your topic, however in the literature review you should aim to demonstrate wide reading.Rather than simply a list of different writers in the field and their opinions, your literature review should give a clear idea of the whole field as it currently stands, describing different bodies of literature, providing varying standpoints on the important issues, and indicating where general opinions have recently changed or are currently being challenged.It must provide a critique of each work, not simply a summary of the books and articles to which you refer.Furthermore, this should be done using authoritative works written by experts – you'll need to evaluate each relevant book or article you discover to ensure it has been written by an academic.