Preparing a Literature Review For a Dissertation

A literature review should never be confused with a book review. These are two totally different things as a literature review normally deals or surveys scholarly articles and dissertations. A literature review is relevant to a particular field of study and there is a lot to be done in order to come up with a good review. The main purpose of a literature review is to offer an overview literature published on a topic of concern or field of study.

Components of a Literature Review

A literature review is unique and has several components. These are the components that make it unique from any other kind of review and the writer should know them in detail. These components are in stages and they are normally as follows:

The Problem

The problem is the topic or subject of study. The topic is very important as it is the guide to what the writer would be researching on. Everything that the writer does should be relevant to the topic and this should always be the point of reference.

Looking for the Literature

This is a very important part as it forms the core of the literature review. Here the writer or the student looks for the relevant materials that will be used in the subject that is being covered.

Evaluating the Data

Here the writer evaluates or decides which data to use to proceed with the thesis. An evaluation of the materials is done to determine which one will make the most contributions to the topic of study.

Analysing and Interpretation

At this stage the student holds discussions about the findings of the research and comes up with conclusions according to what they have researched on and found out.

Apart from the four main stages of the literature reviews that have been outlined above, there are elements that a literature review should comprise of.

Elements of a Literature Review

  1. The first element is the overview of the subject or topic that has been put into consideration
  2. Categorising of works that are in favour of the topic and those that are against
  3. Explanation of each of the works whether similar or how they differ with the topic of study.
  4. The conclusion. This is what the researcher or student will finally arrive at as the final result of the study.

When assessing or reviewing the literature, there are other considerations that must be made. These are such like the credentials and qualifications of the author and the objectivity.