Literature Review in a Dissertation
Students dread writing their dissertations for obvious reasons. For starters, it is one of the most arduous papers written in college. The sheer length of a dissertation is enough to evoke a sense o anxiety in the respective individual. Nevertheless, as will huge tasks, they can also be broken down into smaller, more manageable sections.
A literature review is perhaps the section that will demand the most out of a student when working on their dissertation. In this part, one is expected to summarize preexisting and published knowledge related to the topic of the paper. This means that nailing down a suitable subject is key to getting this section right.
There are two ways a student might face challenges when working on their literature review. He or she may either have chosen a general topic that has no particular focus. It follows then that they will have plenty of literature to read and review before they can work on the dissertation. Time is usually a limited resource at this point. They may then find themselves lagging behind their schedule.
Conversely, a student might have a topic that is too focused on approach. The implications are the opposite, as you would expect. The student will have scanty information from which they can develop their literature review. This means that this section might ultimately not achieve the intended objectives for the paper.
How to Structure a Literature Review in a Dissertation
First and foremost, it is worth mentioning that a favorable topic is necessary to aptly cover this section. Hence, students are advised to consult their supervisors regularly before they start working on the dissertation. Once you are comfortable with your topic of choice, it becomes more practical to progress.
As far as dissertations go, particular guidelines make the process effective. First and foremost, it is considered a typical rule to start your review off from a general to a specific perspective. It means that your introduction should capture the broad outlook of the research question that you intend to answer. Furthermore, sources that capture the historical background of your research should be included in the initial paragraphs.
As you progress in the paper, the information can then narrow down to the specific of your topic. Before you start writing your review, it is essential to sort out the information you have obtained according to its significance and relevance. It helps you to distinguish between material that has to be included, that which might be, and the ones that might not be necessary.
The various elements should strictly tie together coherently. It follows that your review should have a systematic flow of ideas, from the historical perspective working its way to the current relevance. This is usually an ideal means to ensure that you have balanced out your literature review.
Finally, your literature review should provide a solid foundation, evident to the reader, from which you proceed to develop your dissertation.