Literature Review for a Dissertation Proposal
Typically, a dissertation proposal is a prerequisite to the actual project. It provides an in-depth perspective of the research question that you seek to address. Hence, a proposal is mainly based on outlining your theories and positing the expected findings and conclusions.
It follows then that literature review is one of the most essential sections of any proposal. First and foremost, it provides a historical perspective on your research question. This means that a literature review should outline preexisting academic works related to the subject. Subsequently, it should demonstrate where the gaps in knowledge lie and how your research seeks to address them.
Second, the literature review will help the reader to differentiate the prior publishing from your original work. Furthermore, it also creates the foundation of your research from which you intend to develop the dissertation. Therefore, the literature review will also provide the relevance and importance of your research topic in the dissertation.
Generally, it is recommended to adopt the funnel approach when writing a literature review. As such, the section should start off from a general perspective. As more information is included in the text, so should the context narrow down to specific subjects. This helps to achieve and maintain a coherent flow of ideas in your paper.
Literature Review Elements to Consider
As far as writing a dissertation proposal goes, the most essential factor in choosing a topic you are confident you can develop at length. A general topic might be too broad in such a way that you will have too much content to cover. This can be quite wasteful on time, which is a limited resource at this point. Alternatively, your topic can be too specific such that finding the relevant literature might be quite restricting.
When you are confident that your topic is appropriate for the task ahead, you can begin working on the literature review. The subject of your dissertation will guide you accordingly on the areas of focus. It is worth considering that you will have plenty of content to cover. Therefore, ensure that you plan yourself accordingly.
As you work through the literature, a pen and paper are mandatory. You should be writing down the key points that you come across. This is essential to establish the pertinent themes and ideas related to your research question. It also helps to sift through the information that should be included in the review.
Just as important, you must evaluate how credible your sources are. As with any other academic writing, references must be reliable. If you are not keen on this particular aspect, you risk jeopardizing the integrity of your work.
Finally, writing the review should follow the same format as any other essay. Therefore, it should begin with a general introduction that provides context to the reader. The main body should then narrow down to your specific area of focus. Lastly, your conclusion should summarize the review’s main ideas while also establishing the foundation of the dissertation.