When I was writing my PhD I hated the literature review. I was scared of it. Sound familiar? According to Google, 5, people a month search for advice on how to conduct a literature review. Let us make one thing very clear. This is the mistake I see most frequently in the PhDs I proofread. A PhD literature review is a critical assessment of the literature in your field and related to your specific research topic.
When discussing each relevant piece of literature the review must highlight where the gaps are and what the strengths and weaknesses are of particular studies, papers, books, etc. Also, different pieces of literature are compared and contrasted with one another so that themes and relationships are highlighted. The job of a literature review is to show five things if you're using our PhD Writing Template, you may recognise these :.
Well, you should and your examiners definitely will. For your own study to make sense, it has to be situated in the literature. That means you must relate it to what others are talking about.
Literature Review Writing Services from PhD's
If you wanted to build a new mobile phone, you would have to research how other mobile phones are built, find out where they can be improved and then design one that makes those improvements. But where do I start? Here we list nine steps. Follow each and you'll be on your way to literature review greatness. We've made the infographic below to help you on your way. Click here to download it. You will be reviewing literature on a particular topic, so knowing what your topic is beforehand means you can narrow down your search.
At this stage your topic is broad. So, having a clearly defined purpose is really important. Otherwise you are searching blind. This is not a normal blog subscription. Each day we send a short, thought-provoking email that will make you think differently about what it means to be a PhD student. It is designed to be read in thirty seconds and thought about all day.
Who is making the most significant contribution? What are they saying? How are they saying it? Whenever you read anything you should be taking notes. Detailed notes. These need to cover the following points:. What is the author saying? How is it relevant to your research? What are the key references that you should read? The more of these kind of standardised notes you have, the easier it will be when you write your literature review. As you read the key texts, you will begin to see what the key debates are in your field.
When you become aware of them, start to focus your literature review around them. You need to find a way to filter through the articles or books that are relevant. For example, s can the abstracts, introduction, keywords, titles and references. Filter the sources you come across into three separate categories:.
literature review – The Thesis Whisperer
As you read through these articles, look at their reference list. Collect articles that you think will be relevant and use them in your literature review. This is known as snowball sampling. You must be reading critically , which means asking what the weaknesses are and where particular articles or book could be improved. Your PhD Thesis. On one page. Download now. See the literature review section for more detailed information.
One possible structure is an introductory section that provides a justification and explanation of the methodological approach es chosen, followed by relevant elements of the classical sub-sections:. However, there is a lot of disciplinary variation in the way these things are done, so use the ideas from here to analyse what you see in your discipline.
Common problems include see Paltridge and Starfield , Ch. If you present your results separately from your discussion, then the Results section for quantitative research is where you:.
Literature Review: Conducting & Writing
For guidance on how to effectively incorporate quantitative data in the forms of tables and figures in your writing, see this Info Sheet PDF, 38 KB. Search form Search Student Services. Homepage Site menu Show Search. Sections of a thesis.
The Abstract The abstract is a short version of the entire thesis which should answer the following five questions not necessarily in this order or separately : What was done? Why was it done?
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How was it done? What were the key findings or results? What is the significance or implications of the results? This differs from the rationale - that there is a problem which needs to be solved for example - by discussing why your solution, for example, is one that others should pay attention to is it more energy efficient, more effective, less expensive, etc than other solutions? Example abstract The most common mistake with abstracts is to write them as though they are just another form of introduction, or perhaps as "advanced advertising" where the writer doesn't want to give too much away.
The Introduction and Literature Review All theses require introductions and literature reviews, but the structure and location of these vary considerably. Options that are used include: A brief introductory chapter with a lengthy separate literature review chapter. A lengthy introductory chapter which includes a brief "Introduction" section followed by literature review sections. A lengthy introduction which includes a literature review.
A brief introductory chapter with detailed literature reviews relevant to the topic of each chapter provided separately in each chapter this is typical when each chapter is basically or literally a paper for publication.
More than one literature review chapter. For example, one chapter might review what's known in an area and identify gaps or problems to address, while another might review the methodological approaches taken to investigating questions in this area and identify the strengths and weaknesses of each of these, thus providing a justification for the approach taken in this thesis this may also occur in the first sections of a Methodology chapter.
Regardless of the approach taken, the Introduction to a thesis answers the three questions: What was done? How do the pieces of the thesis fit together? This is the "outline" or "overview". This involves showing or explaining why the area is of interest or important. Some writers also state their main findings at this point sort of like stating your thesis in the opening paragraph of an essay.
Not explaining things enough To simply say that your research will look at ways to deal with power grid instabilities indicates to the reader that you're working on solving a problem, but not why that problem is significant enough to work on.