Every PhD dissertation must contain a detailed and well-structured literature review, which serve the following purposes:
Thus, the literature review makes a significant contribution to your dissertation, and hence must be treated with importance. Listed below is the complete guide to writing an effective literature review:
Starting from a broad level, narrow down to the specific research topic that you want to work on.
You can either use Internet search engines or library resources to find the relevant literature for your research topic. From the Internet, download all the published articles written for your area of research. University textbooks and articles can provide background information of your research area. Read a lot of academic material to gain broad-level knowledge, and then narrow your reading to the specific technical matter. You can decipher the quality of any academic paper by the number of citations and reference material that it has used.
After finalizing on the available research material, skim through each material to look specifically for any excerpts that provide information on:
Make a note of each of these relevant excerpts, along with the author name, publication and the page number of the information.
Filter your excerpts thoroughly and group those that build up an idea or research narrative. Separate those excerpts that have contradicting information.
Identify the sub-sections of your literature review, and work on each sub-section deriving from your understanding of each excerpt group. Include citations of only those sources that contribute significantly to the reader’s understanding. You don’t have include large portions of information, only those that are relevant for your research.
In conclusion, a good literature review must contain the strong and weak points of the arguments put forth by previous researchers.