How to organize a dissertation literature review

Main Findings Notes where I put quotations I might want to use Some of these headings may not be of interest to you, but you are free to add any characteristic or metric you may want to use as a filter or sorting feature.

A research gap is essentially the existence of a research question, perspective or problem that has not been answered in the existing literature on any field of study. Raul Pacheco-Vega writes about in his post called Synthesizing different bodies of work in your literature review: The conceptual synthesis Excel dump technique.

In a literature review, you're aiming to summarise and provide a critical analysis of the research arguments you have found in your readings, without making new contributions to the literature.

How to organize a dissertation literature review

Your ideas should be at the center of your writing, but your work has to be embedded in what has come before to demonstrate its relevance and importance to the subject. A good literature review will also state the arguments to be made, as well as underlying rationale that underpins these arguments. Ensure sources and references are current and relevant, cited appropriately according to your discipline. Analysis and interpretation -- discussing the findings and conclusions of pertinent literature. Will you focus on mainly qualitative or quantitative studies, or a mixture of both? I then have a folder for my Major Spreadsheet and all its articles. The US National Park system became the dominant paradigm for analyzing relations between conservation, nationhood and nationalism. Make recommendations for future research in this section too, which demonstrates your analytical skills and will score you some extra points. How will you further your research as a result of the review? Your transitions between ideas analyze, synthesize, and assess these outside perspectives, and do not simply summarize or translate them.

Depending on the length of your literature review, you can combine several of these strategies—for example, your overall structure might be thematic, but each theme is discussed chronologically. Hart, Chris. Keep your review dynamic, but coherent. Problem formulation -- which topic or field is being examined and what are its component issues?

This can be a good way to introduce a lot of background and related facets of your topic when there is not much directly on your topic but you are tying together many related, broader articles. What types of sources should I review books, journal articles, websites; scholarly versus popular sources?

Identify new ways to interpret, and shed light on any gaps in previous research. Credibility: Which of the author's theses are convincing and why?

As the example above suggests, a dissertation literature review must be written using a formal and academic style.

literature review tips

Do not make baseless claims, as a literature review is an academic piece of writing and not an opinion piece. The critical evaluation of each work should consider: Provenance -- what are the author's credentials?

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How to organise the review