How to write a literature review for your thesis

Proceed to Order Thesis Literature Review Every thesis is unique as is every piece of research and your literature review for dissertation is no different. There is no hard and fast rule as to how you need to write your lit review. It must, however, be logical, readable and clearly show the reader the background to the research that you are undertaking.

How to write a literature review for your thesis

Decide on a topic It will help you considerably if your topic for your literature review is the one on which you intend to do your final M. However, you may pick any scholarly topic. Identify the literature that you will review: Familiarize yourself with online databases see UMD library resource links below for help with thisidentifying relevant databases in your field of study.

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Using relevant databases, search for literature sources using Google Scholar and also searching using Furl search all sources, including the Furl accounts of other Furl members.

Some tips for identifying suitable literature and narrowing your search: Start with a general descriptor from the database thesaurus or one that you know is already a well defined descriptor based on past work that you have done in this field. You will need to experiment with different searches, such as limiting your search to descriptors that appear only in the document titles, or in both the document title and in the abstract.

Redefine your topic if needed: Try to narrow it to a specific area of interest within the broad area that you have chosen remember: It is a good idea, as part of your literature search, to look for existing literature reviews that have already been written on this topic. Import your references into your RefWorks account see: Refworks Import Directions for guide on how to do this from different databases.

You can also enter references manually into RefWorks if you need to. Analyze the literature Once you have identified and located the articles for your review, you need to analyze them and organize them before you begin writing: Skim the articles to get an idea of the general purpose and content of the article focus your reading here on the abstract, introduction and first few paragraphs, the conclusion of each article.

You can take notes onto note cards or into a word processing document instead or as well as using RefWorks, but having your notes in RefWorks makes it easy to organize your notes later.

Group the articles into categories e. You can record the topics in the same box as before User 1 or use User 2 box for the topic s under which you have chosen to place this article. Decide on the format in which you will take notes as you read the articles as mentioned above, you can do this in RefWorks.

You can also do this using a Word Processor, or a concept mapping program like Inspiration free 30 trial downloada data base program e. Access or File Maker Proin an Excel spreadsheet, or the "old-fashioned" way of using note cards.

How to Write Your Literature Review in Thesis

Be consistent in how you record notes. Note key statistics that you may want to use in the introduction to your review. Select useful quotes that you may want to include in your review.

If you copy the exact words from an article, be sure to cite the page number as you will need this should you decide to use the quote when you write your review as direct quotes must always be accompanied by page references.

What is a literature review?

Since different research studies focus on different aspects of the issue being studied, each article that you read will have different emphases, strengths.

Your role as a reviewer is to evaluate what you read, so that your review is not a mere description of different articles, but rather a critical analysis that makes sense of the collection of articles that you are reviewing. Identify major trends or patterns: As you read a range of articles on your topic, you should make note of trends and patterns over time as reported in the literature.

This step requires you to synthesize and make sense of what you read, since these patterns and trends may not be spelled out in the literature, but rather become apparent to you as you review the big picture that has emerged over time.

Your analysis can make generalizations across a majority of studies, but should also note inconsistencies across studies and over time. Identify gaps in the literature, and reflect on why these might exist based on the understandings that you have gained by reading literature in this field of study.

These gaps will be important for you to address as you plan and write your review. Identify relationships among studies: You may also note that studies fall into different categories categories that you see emerging or ones that are already discussed in the literature. When you write your review, you should address these relationships and different categories and discuss relevant studies using this as a framework.

Keep your review focused on your topic: As you take notes, record which specific aspects of the article you are reading are relevant to your topic as you read you will come up with key descriptors that you can record in your notes that will help you organize your findings when you come to write up your review.

If you are using an electronic form of note taking, you might note these descriptors in a separate field e. Evaluate your references for currency and coverage:A Guide to Writing the Dissertation Literature Review Justus J.

Randolph (Boote & Beile, , p. 3). Experienced thesis examiners know this. In a study of the practices of Australian dissertation examiners, Mullins and Kiley how to write a literature review.

Boot and Beile () write. Editing your literature review. Writing a literature review is one of the most complicated and time-consuming components of the thesis writing process. You must start early and leave yourself ample time for revision.

There is nothing worse than submitting a thesis literature review that is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors.

how to write a literature review for your thesis

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When you begin to write your literature review section, you'll be glad you dug deeper into how the research was designed and constructed because it establishes a means for developing more substantial analysis and interpretation of the research problem.

A literature review may not have a traditional thesis statement (one that makes an argument), but you do need to tell readers what to expect. Try writing a simple statement that lets the reader know what is your main organizing principle. I also provide links at the end of this guide to resources that you should use in order to search the literature and as you write your review.

On the other hand, a review in a thesis, dissertation, or journal article presenting original research usually leads to the research questions that will be addressed.

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