What’s the biggest challenge involved in writing your literature review?

Writing it.

However, the review of literature is the foundation of your entire thesis, and goes beyond being a simple summary, holding a far more critical aspect. Ideally, your review of literature is a report that tests all the information related broadly to your chosen field. It describes, summarizes, tests and gives a general direction to your research.

Before I lose you to scrolling, let us quickly understand what the fuss about this section is, i.e. why exactly is a literature review so important?

The most important and obvious answer to this is that it shows your research. It helps you give readers proof why your research is important and unlike everything else that is already there on the topic – asserts the importance of your primary research.

If you follow these simple steps, your review of literature doesn’t have to be the tedious mountain you were imagining it to be! Let’s get to it.


PHASE I: The Research.

  1. Assuming that you have now identified a broad topic for your dissertation, it’s time to assimilate the research. However, once you have decided the topic you are researching, it is important to ensure that you eventually narrow down the scope – to add unique value to your own review and thesis.
  2. Visit online databases (for example, Libgen, JStor, etc.) and download papers relevant to your research. To speed things up, maintain an organized list of these as you will need to cite it later.
  3. Don’t let yourself drown in a pile of journals and articles in vain! Highlight important points or make notes to save time during the actual writing process.
  4. You will probably have a lot of data to sift through and it can admittedly get overwhelming. To aid this process, define some parameters that will help you decide which papers are irrelevant to your study. These are typically known as ‘exclusion criteria’. You can add these in your literature review introduction as well to better define your study.


PHASE II: The Writing.

Once you have narrowed down all the research you will use, it’s time to write the actual review.

  1. Begin by giving an introduction: introduce your topic, the subtopic you have narrowed down, the scope of the review, etc.
  2. Logical flow: Start by discussing the approaches used by the most pertinent research studies you found. Follow it up with what their findings were. And finally, talk about the limitations.
  3. Once you have identified the gap in the previous studies, you can sum it up by elaborating upon how your study aims to fill these gaps. However, note that getting into detail about the methods and methodologies you plan to use does not fall within the literature review and there is a separate section to do the same.
  4. Be careful not to add too much information and to keep whatever information you are including limited only to what is relevant. Your review needn’t be as boring as the old professor droning endlessly in college. Keep things interesting by adding a critique to all the information you’re providing.
  5. Last, to strengthen your literature review, always try to include opposing viewpoints of the research you’ve reviewing. This will help give a holistic and rounded overview of the existing literature.

We know it sounds like a lot, and you’re probably wondering why you have to write this dissertation at all. Don’t let it dissuade you, for like any other piece of writing, work on several drafts before you can perfect your review. And don’t forget to have the final product proofread – you know all about the importance of getting your dissertation proofread!

Fret not, for PaperTrue is at your beck and call. Our editors have plenty of experience working with academic documents, and can perfect your review in a jiffy while providing content level feedback!

The path to a perfect thesis is paved with PaperTrue