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Thesis Literature Review
Producing the literature review for your thesis is probably the least favorite thing you will do in the entire process. In many ways, it can be considered like a research paper; in many other ways it really is not. The purpose of a research paper is to investigate a topic and to develop a thesis based upon what others have said about a topic. The purpose of a literature review, on the other hand, is to provide an overview or summary of prior research that has been published on the topic of your research question – a question that has already been established.
Purpose of a Literature Review – Your Introduction
Assuming that future researchers are reading your thesis, and thus the literature review that you have prepared, you can also assume that they know less than you do about the topic at hand. You therefore need to do the following:
- Put your research in the context of the research that has gone before you
- Explain the relationships among the pieces of literature (previous research) that you are reviewing and, as well, the relationship to your original research
- Explain how you have organized the literature you have reviewed
In doing these things, you justify your selections of these pieces of literature for inclusion in your thesis. In providing this justification, you will have to provide analyses of the literature as well.
The Body of Your Literature Review
It is important that you have a good organizational structure for your literature review. Grouping pieces according to specific aspects that relate to your literature is generally the most effective. If your thesis involves research on a specific treatment for removing lead from fresh water, for example, you will want to group the prior research by some criteria – use of chemicals or use of some filtering process, for example.
You will need to present analyses related to the following:
- A summary of each piece of research and what the author concluded as a result of his/her research
- Identify and discuss any limitations or flaws in earlier studies that will perhaps be addressed through your research.
- Determine and state whether the authors of those studies are recognized experts in the field and that they are or are not unbiased researchers? Any researcher who has been funded by a particular company that manufactures a chemical used in a piece of research on water treatment, for example, is not an unbiased researcher, and that literature should probably be withheld from your literature review.
The Conclusion of Your Literature Review
Your conclusion should do the following:
- Provide a brief summary of the contributions which the research have made to your field.
- Speak to the current state of the research as it pertains to the research you are conducting – be certain to point flaws or gaps that you will be addressing
The Challenges of a Literature Review
Perhaps the biggest challenge is to locate the right literature. During this process, students will often end up reading an abstract that looks perfectly suited to their needs, pull the entire piece of literature and get far into a reading of it before they realize that it really is not relevant enough or unbiased enough to be included – wasted time!
At the other end of this spectrum is the very real possibility that some particularly relevant piece of literature will be overlooked and thus left out of the literature review. The problem is this: an advisor or committee, made up of scholars who may be well-versed in the literature will recognize that you have failed to include an important study or two. You will then be finding and reviewing that literature and re-writing your literature review section again.
Don’t Leave Yourself Vulnerable to Re-Writes
The solution to the challenges above is to get a consultant in your field to help you with your literature review. You can get that consultant at EssaysRepublic.com.
When you place an order for help with a literature review, we will immediately assign that order to a Ph.D. in your specialty field. With his/her background, all of the most relevant and current research will be located quickly and easily, so that you neither have to go on “wild goose chases,” nor miss any literature that is significant. You consultant can then produce a perfectly written literature review, according to the guidelines that you have been given by your department.