21st December 2014

How to Write a Literature Review for a Dissertation

In dissertation writing, literature review has a significant role. A good literature review can intrigue the reader to read the dissertation further for more insights. In single terms, literature review can be defined as a collection of information about the secondary reference sources like newspapers, magazines, online materials, books, etc.

Usually, dissertation writing guidelines given to the students from the university contain a small section containing the rules for how to write a literature review for a dissertation. Some universities expect the students to find out the methodology for dissertation writing on their own. If you are not given the guidelines for writing the literature review, do not worry. This article explains the major requirements for writing the literature review.

Make your literature review content specific

The literature review should be focused on the content, the specific topics discussed in the dissertation, rather than going into any details. The writer is expected to select the ideas carefully and present them in an accepted methodology. In literature review, you are presenting the ideas and the findings of other people. So, every piece of information you include in the literature review should be authentic.

Literature Review for a Dissertation


Understand the purpose of the literature review & how to write a literature review for a dissertation

Before you start with writing a literature review for a dissertation, it is important to think about the purpose of it. Any literature review is aimed at providing the base for the dissertation/thesis. Hence, understand in what way it can be supportive for your dissertation and include only the information that can really act as a foundation for your work, meaning do not include any information that do not serve the purpose, assuming that adding as much information as possible, both supportive and unsupported to your dissertation, would make it a convincing one. By adding subheadings in appropriate places in your literature review, you can make the reader convinced and forced to read the entire dissertation.

Literature review size

For many students, the word strength for a literature review is a matter of concern. The truth is that there is no clear rule regarding this. The word strength or the length for a literature review is determined by the university/educational institution under which a student does his dissertation. Normally speaking, a literature review is not too lengthy.

Literature review style

According to dissertation writing experts, there are two different styles for writing a literature review for a dissertation; systematic style and narrative/traditional style. In traditional style, you are expected to produce a summary of the literature. You can write your arguments as descriptive or narrative as long as they serve the purpose. In the case of systematic style of literature review writing, the writer has to go a step further from narrative/descriptive style. Here, the writer has to ensure that the topic is presented creatively.

Writing a literature review for a dissertation is simpler than writing other parts of the affordable dissertation, for instance introduction, acknowledgement etc. However, it is equally important. A good literature review can fetch a good score for your dissertation.