literature review dissertation

literature review dissertation

The Impact of Literature Review on Dissertation Writing

1. Introduction

The objective of this paper is to provide guidance for graduate students on the appropriate use of the literature review for the dissertation and highlighting the implications this may have on the overall dissertation. The literature on the literature review is not only found in a few specialized sources but changes across time, so it is important to be aware of these issues and how they may impact your review of the literature. While the literature review presents others’ ideas, your voice, the way you will present the information, still needs to be maintained. The organization of your review is important at all times. A well-organized review of the literature is a very good sign of research potential. The review treated the theories of a construct along the lines of the hypothesis progression method, a method that is very tight compared to other reviews. The review also included representations of specific points in diagrams and tables. Visual representation of information can be very effective, especially in fields with complex theories. This paper will review published literature in this field, as well as provide an assessment of the literature reviewed for this study. This assessment will inform how the literature reviewed changes across the academic calendar year.

2. Importance of Literature Review

It is more than a mere summary of sources. An academic review of literature is an in-depth analysis of the information that has been published on a topic. The content of a lit review offered in this format is determined by the intent with either an applied or theoretical approach. Thesis and dissertation students should also keep in mind that a lit review that offers a statistical ‘snap shot’ of the results of a large number of research studies is to be the most discouraged form of literature review. A successful lit review in the UK should present an argument surrounding the importance of the context to the research question in order to demonstrate familiarity with and a firm understanding of the topic. This should be done by explaining how the information is relevant to the question and building the ‘backbone’ for the hypothesis or experimental design through linking and linking between contrasting theories and findings prevalent throughout the knowledge on the topic.

Literature review is an important part of any dissertation and an essential aspect of writing a paper on literature. It is a review of knowledge that has been said on a topic by accredited scholars and researchers. It shows to the reader that you have read and have a good grip of the main published work concerning a particular topic or question.

3. Methodology for Conducting Literature Review

In the era of evidence-based practice, sound literature reviews are expected to uphold transparency and reproducibility standards. A well-finished review ought to provide useful insights to a diverse readership portfolio by virtue of considering various timeframes, geographical settings, and language diversities. The methods section of a systematic review should provide enough details and rationale to enable replication. Whether a Cochrane review, a narrative review, or a meta-analysis, PICO (population, intervention, comparison, outcome/setting) based questions could be used to frame and structure the review. This helps maintain a tight focus in an area when potentially overloaded with inconsistent and irrelevant data. Also, pre-specification of a review protocol (In the same way a study protocol is prepared before embarking on a research project) is highly recommended and can be made publicly available. This discourages unplanned duplication and serves as an important document to refer back to when unanticipated discrepancies arise during the review process.

4. Challenges and Solutions in Literature Review

This is a never-ending problem for students and researchers. There are so many periodicals, books, and articles that finding a convenient starting point is difficult. Many feel that it is too time consuming and not worth it. Everyone knows that this is not true, but then the literature review is one of the most misunderstood processes in a dissertation. Salvaging and synthesizing is vital in helping to form an overarching of the state of knowledge in a field. This produces a framework for comparison and a means of coming to a conclusion. Without it, it is impossible to move forward. Write it too early and you may find that you read an article that “would have been perfect for the literature review” but you have already written it. Write it too late and you may find yourself in a frantic attempt to find out what people have said and done in your field. With time already a factor, this can be stress that you do not need. Small wonder many have known the panic of finding out a dissertation is due in 2 months and having to start the whole research process again.

5. Conclusion

This review has explored the literature which is available on dissertation writing and has pointed out the impact that the literature review has in attaining a goal in the dissertation writing. In the present day with the advent of internet, the literature review has become easier. But for a well-researched dissertation, one should have a clear idea about the literature which one should refer. Literature review, as said by Fink (1998), is a thorough, critical, and comprehensive analysis of scholarly work about a topic. Though it is a secondary window for the researcher to look through the topic, it is equally important as the primary research. But in recent years, there have been cases of negligence in the literature review in the dissertation writing. With the overflow of information, anyone could randomly put together information from the internet and pass it as a well-researched dissertation. This is mainly the reason because literature review is considered as an unexciting and a bothersome task. But if one decides to do a dissertation on a topic, it is imperative for him that he knows it inside out. One should not consider literature has something which has to be completed and written as fast as possible, but it is a known fact that when one starts an interesting task, he forgets the time spent on it. Mind that this is what a good literature is capable of, be interesting and provoking thought. According to Boote and Beile (2005), scholars and students “are insufficiently aware of what their literature reviews say or do not say.” Having decided to do the literature review, one should understand that the literature should be relevant to the topic. Think about it in terms of the goals of a literature review. One should be critical and analytical of the literature. The reader should understand that you are comparing and contrasting the literature’s idea and giving a review about it, hence it would be a good practice if one would note down points and thoughts about the passage he read while he reviews the literature. There might be times when one would review a literature and conclude that it is not relevant to his topic. But as said by Machi and McEvoy (2009), a literature review can take from a few months to a year; hence one should not have the idea of giving up on a literature and jumping to something else. But the most important point that should be noted from the literature is forming your own opinion about the article that you have read. This is what a critical analysis is. The last thing is to categorize and be organized; note down the literature that you have reviewed, there might be a time when an old literature might be useful. In conclusion, it is definitely evident that the literature review has an impact on the dissertation writing. The literature review’s quality and successfulness will contribute to an improved dissertation. Having various tools such as comparing and contrasting, and organizing the literatures; it will help to construct the overall plan of what the dissertation will be. It might be a rough road, but the research of the literature will provide an increased knowledge and understanding of the topic. Do this and there is a good chance that you will get a higher grade for your dissertation.

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