Successful Learning Tips: Writing a Literature Review for your Dissertation

You might thing with all the work you put into your dissertation that once you hit save the beast is done. Unfortunately, there are a few more things you need to sort out before you can put it away for good. One of those things is a literature review. This is not a bibliographical analyses or a brief summary of your work, this is an in-depth review of the texts you used. Still confused? Don’t worry, follow these tips to perfect your review.

  • In Depth
  • Specific
  • Critical analysis
  • Linked In

In Depth

The biggest thing that makes the Literature Review stand out is that it is in depth. This should not be a one or two liner about the book or article, this should be an extensive and intensive review of the pieces you used and how you incorporated them into the dissertation. Don’t let yourself down by just giving the basics. Really get into the meat of the texts and figure out if they were good or bad or indifferent.


Related to being in depth, you must also be specific. Don’t waffle on and fill your review with filler. Pinpoint the areas that matter the most, the ideas that resonated with you the most, and the paragraphs you took from. Be specific in your review and don’t get bogged down in fluff.

Critical analysis

Some questions to keep in mind when you write your review are: How did the ext relate to the topic; Was it useful in answering your topic; Did it lead you to other work; Did it have an impact on your thinking; Was it well thought out or was it poorly written? These, and more questions like them, are vital for you review. You review seeks to analyze these texts. Nobody wants to know what font they use or how long it is, we want to know what was good about it, why did you use it and are you glad you read it?

Linked In

There should be some common theme between your texts, nothing too obvious or overt, but enough to remind us that these were all used for the same common purpose. You should constantly remind the reader of a common thread woven throughout the texts, be it an idea, or your theme, or the subject matter.

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