Any doctorate student must write a dissertation in their time in university; the second chapter of each dissertation is the literature review. This chapter is almost always the longest. Most of these chapters are usually as long as 60 pages. These may sound a bit daunting to you, but your dissertation’s literature review might be one, if not the easiest part of the dissertation.
The literature review is foundational. Before you select your research topic and come up with the research questions, you need first to figure out what has already been discovered. Apart from figuring out what has been discovered, you also need to highlight mysteries that remain.
You need to remember that your degree is about achieving expertise at the highest level in your study area. The literature review for your dissertation then is the foundation of your whole career. This article is meant to give you some instructions on how to go about writing your literature review without any stress. It will also highlight a sample outline. Despite being the second chapter of your dissertation, it is usually the first chapter written by many students. It is because it is the founding chapter of your dissertation. Before you write chapter one, you must know what is in chapter two. Some professors advise students to start with the second chapter.
How should be the length of the literature review?
No length is set for the literature review chapter. The length of the chapter depends mostly on the area of study. But on an average most literature review is usually between 4o and 60 pages. If you find yourself having a shorter literature review than that, you should ask yourself if; you have done enough research on that topic or have provided enough information from what you have researched.
Preparation for writing the literature review:
- Search using key terms
When starting their literature review, most people start by searching using key terms on the appropriate databases. Case in point if your topic is researching stock prices and the impact of natural disasters. You will need to explore all the types of disasters that are natural. And you would also look at stock prices and other factors that affect the market. Also, the methodologies used. You can skim the abstracts to save time if the articles don’t come as you wanted. Once you find articles using the key terms, you find more new terms to start new searches. These articles will lead you to more articles. These will make the whole process easier, and you will get more information for your literature review. One thing to note Is that these sources should be from peer-reviewed journals.
- Study the literature immensely
The first thing you should do in your dissertation is to immerse yourself in as much literature as possible. What does this look like? An excellent example of using here is the analogy of a trip through the forest. You need to answer questions about how you got to where you are on this trip. The reader needs to understand the trees, how did you get there. In a forest, there are many trees, so you need to understand the trees to explain to the reader which trees are there and how you got there.
- Consider the gaps in the research
When you talk about gaps, these are the gap between where your study begins and where the current knowledge ends. To build a case for your study, you need to prove that your dissertation is worthy and that no one has already studied it. If you can define these gaps in your literature review, you will build your case. Also, identifying related topics and studies will make a case on the relevance of your study. It is because it shows other related studies have been conducted.
- Organize what has been found
As you find and gather articles, you need to develop a method to organize what you find. You can find manual ways or even a computer-based system to sort your articles—these help to have a system when you are looking for references by methodology and subject.
Once you have prepared for the literature review, the next thing is to write it. It can be done by:
- Creating an outline
- Write the paragraphs
- Justify your methodology