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Thesis Literature Review | Components to Include and Mistakes to Exclude

All You Need to Know About Thesis Literature Reviews

In the literature review a student basically needs to make a quite extensive presentation of what literature sources on the particular chosen topic he or she found. As a rule the sources are not limited to the printed or online materials, within research the one can use a great variety of sources, including unconditional ones like prospects, articles and periodicals, videos and original documentation.

In fact, the most valuable materials will consist of original sources and documents you can derive from top libraries. If you are getting ready for the thesis literature review or a review for the dissertation you need to provide a comprehensive description, summary and sources evaluations. A perfect literature review should bring the new insights into existing heritage, provide the analysis and synthesis as well that is not a big deal if you know where to find the fast help for your lit review.

Great Thesis Literature Review Samples

Literature Review Outline Sample Literature Review Abstract Sample
literature review outline literature review abstract

Structure of Literature Review for Dissertation

When writing the thesis literature review you need to keep in mind that structure can’t be strictly defined, you don’t need to adjust to the strict rules, rather the structure will be defined by the topic itself and the research areas.

The literature review thesis requires you to show skills in seeking information and analysis. They need to relate directly to your thesis hypothesis, bring together results into a summary, consider controversy in the piece of literature and consider questions that need more research. Generally, they contain four parts:

  • Introduction – Grabs the reader’s attention, basic information about the piece and its author.
  • Summary – Brief synopsis of piece’s content, this only needs a couple of paragraphs and states major points but does not go further in its analysis.
  • Analysis – Strengths and weaknesses, the writer is allowed more freedom to express their opinion, academic reviews such as those in their thesis should balance criticism with positive features and avoid making decisive judgments.
  • Conclusion – Brings together the writer’s arguments and opinions on the usefulness of the piece and only needs to be very brief.

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Literature Review for Dissertation Formatting Tips

Comparing and contrasting gathered information sources will be your primary task. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean just putting the information together and rendering the contents, the structure needs to be defined by topic area, applying various approaches and ideas towards it and developing your own theories considering the subject matter.

In each section the literature should be contrasted and the main value extracted from each point of view. In the research process it is important not to forget about linking the information to your own topic. While adjusting the sources together it is important to use linking words that will smooth together the content in the substantial passages. Thus, for instance, if you combine together ideas delivering the same meaning you can use words and phrases like “similarly, also, again mentioning, in addition, etc.”

In case of the contrasting information for the better impact you use word constructions indicating your personal awareness of the contradictory content, here you can use “however, on the contrary, conversely, nevertheless, etc.”

literature review thesis parts

Two Types of Thesis to Write for Your Master’s

Perfecting your science thesis can seem daunting, but we can help you utilize all your available resources, such as your thesis database, to create a thesis that will fully support your data and demonstrate your activity whilst progressing through your Master’s. Main types of thesis:

Traditional Thesis

This type of thesis is an organised document providing a logical and complete account of your research throughout your Master’s. As well as the pages listed above, it should include an introduction, main body and bibliography.

Manuscript-Based Thesis

These theses are constructed around related manuscript(s) and may include extra results chapters. This type is useful if your research has produced manuscript(s) for journal publication.

Both types include:

  • Chapter 1 – Introduction, literature review and thesis theme as well as objectives to be tested.
  • Chapter 2 and on – Content of a manuscript for publication, references must be included and chapters do not need to be altered much from the published version.
  • Additional results – These may not have been written up in the publication so can be included as a separate chapter(s) following the style of the traditional thesis.
  • Conclusion – Analysis of material, discussion related to the manuscript, evaluation of research, significance of research and consideration of application of research.
  • Appendices – thesis methods, details of experimental data, diagrams of equipment and samples of questionnaires.

A good thesis will feature a strong hypothesis which is considered through research and data you have conducted and collected. A good hypothesis will be one that has relevance to your chosen field so consider what questions need answering in the real world! All theses should include title and signature pages, an abstract, acknowledgements, a table of contents, figures, tables, illustrations and symbols or abbreviations as a basis before any of your own research or data can be included.

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Science Thesis Summary and Conclusion

Closing your science thesis is an important part of your writing. It must contain statements about your findings, relating in particular to your hypothesis; state the importance of what you have discovered to your field of research as well as considering the limitations to your investigation and details of where you could go from here in terms of future research. Further discussion is not required in your conclusion; as we said earlier do not make more arguments in this section of your thesis – only include points you have already raised! Do not include references in your conclusion, as above, and keep it concise.

The length of your conclusion depends on what you are expected to include, this should be explained to you by your advisor. Fundamentally your conclusion should include the extent to which you achieved your aims, how significant (or not) your results were and where you can take this research in the future, are there any interesting areas you could explore from your project? How to create a good thesis? Preparation and using all the time you have available are key to writing a good science thesis in your chosen field of study.

Important Features of Your Lit Review for Thesis

To sum up your finished review you can put the merging paragraph in the end, that will melt together all the mentioned earlier theories, facts and sources, it should comprise all that the literature sources imply, still gathering them in the one defining key contribution to your own theory developing.

The literature review should include the following features according to Caulley (1992) of La Trobe University:

  • Different authors’ views comparison
  • Groupings and clusters of the sources with similar meaning, conclusions
  • Methodology criticizing
  • Analysis of key points of disagreement
  • Highlighting of the main studies
  • Highlighting research gaps
  • Relating your study in context to the earlier studies on the topic
  • Relating your study to the literature in general
  • Generalization and conclusion on the literature summary

30 Literature Review Topics for Your Thesis

  • How physical intimidation influences the way people are bullied.
  • Living with chronic illnesses: How are those with a chronic illness treated by their families since their diagnosis?
  • African-American vernacular English and European-American youth identities.
  • Effects of communication on marital satisfaction.
  • Can small-city downtowns remain viable? A national study of development issues and strategies.
  • The determinants of provincial minimum wages in Canada.
  • Adolescent depression and attachment.
  • The impact of terrorist attacks on college students.
  • The changing face of diplomatic history.
  • Critical race theory in education: A review of past literature and a look to the future.
  • Comparing rosuvastatin to atorvastatin for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia.
  • Effects of rosuvastatin versus atorvastatin, simvastatin, and pravastatin on non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, apolipoproteins, and lipid ratios in patients with hypercholesterolemia.
  • What are the effects of prolonged steroid use on the human body?
  • The doomsday argument: a literature review.
  • Investigate differences in rates of injury recovery and overcoming illness based on cultural parameters.
  • How do men and women communicate differently using body language, and why does it matter (in dating, the workplace, and social circles)?
  • Campaign funds and their relation to political advertising.
  • How has United States censorship changed over the decades?
  • Democratic kingmaker, influence on political succession.
  • Securing Internet commerce: is it possible in today’s arms’ race of hackers and evolving technology?
  • Should media producers prosecute students and individuals that they suspect of downloading copyrighted materials?
  • Should the federal government legalize the use of marijuana?
  • How have oil spills affected the planet and what steps are being taken to prevent them?
  • Wildlife conservation: what efforts are being taken to protect endangered wildlife?
  • Should the use of coal be subjected to stricter environmental regulations than other fuels?
  • Military support vs. economic development of third world countries.
  • How are the Great Depression and the Great Recession similar and different?
  • Research and analyze the emergence of the Catholic Church as a political force following the collapse of the Roman Empire.
  • Is America winning or losing the War? What is the measurement of success? Have the benefits outweighed the costs?
  • What would happen globally if the demand for natural resources is greater than the supply?

Select the Right Sources for Your Literature Review Thesis

Before you start writing your thesis literature review it is critical to select the sources right and sift through the unnecessary information. Whereas in the literature review you’re generally supported with helping sources and booklists, when writing one for the dissertation you need to go through an independent “book-decision-selecting-process”. On this stage the synthesis is the leverage that will help you select the good materials, think of what materials you are more willing to use in your review and set the quality standards for the containing information, such can be f.g the source age, volume, etc.

Just after you determined the parameters it’s time to think of your topic. What is it that you will have to prove or find out through it? Is it a methodology, theory, policy or particular research you’re picking as an objective? Generate the list of the areas and questions and then get down to looking for the purpose to answer those. If you stumble across some good piece of particularly valuable information adjust it to your sources, otherwise use your helping scrap of paper in order not to get lost in the endless internet informational noise.

best literature review topicsElectronic searches lead to only about ten percent of the articles that will comprise an exhaustive review. There are several approaches to locate the remaining 90%. The most effective method may be to search the references of the articles that were retrieved, determine which of those seem relevant, find those, read their references, and repeat the process until a point of saturation is reached—a point where no new relevant articles come to light.

How to Find the Sources for Lit Review for Thesis You Need

No worthy literature review APA goes without a clear argument line and critics developed as the result of learning information served from various angles and points of view. That’s why exactly you will have to:

  • Introduce the key literature sources and findings at the beginning giving the right order of arguments with rational supportive statements.
  • Provide the clear distinction between the facts uncovered and your own theories and points, if needed use the quotation marks. Finish each of the paragraphs with short conclusions.
  • For strengthening your argument use the opposing points of view, don’t ignore them, it shows your determination in serious and deep research and characterizes you as an open-minded and unbiased researcher.

lit review for thesis topics

Stick to the academic formatting and writing style. Learn how to improve your writing abilities so that your sentences wouldn’t sound unprofessional or odd. For instance, in the formal academic style writing it is unacceptable to use “says”, instead try to pick “argues”, “claims” or “states” as widely adopted alternatives. The past tenses are used for mentioning events, experiments and research in particular whereas the present tenses for general facts and theories.

“Although Trescothick (2001) argues that attack is the best defense, Boycott (1969) claims that …”
“In a field study carried out amongst the homeless of Sydney, Warne (1999) found that …”

Remember also that you need to avoid plagiarism of the sources, for this use the right citing of the materials and separate your own opinion from the concepts stated by the literature sources you’ve gathered.

The Most Common Cliches You Need to Know About

How Long Will Science Thesis Take?

What is literature map? How long is a piece of string? Your best bet is to begin as soon as you start the project, little and often is the way to go. The sooner you can begin research the better, even if you do not actually need to start writing your thesis yet. This allows you lots of time to make links and adjust your ideas. While it is good to accumulate data and research throughout the project, it is not a good idea to do this until just before your deadline and try to write a lengthy thesis then!

Continue to collect resources throughout writing your thesis, this can be added in and edited at any time. Better that than trying to write an entire project at the last minute! Write your thesis summary as soon as you can, leaving gaps for data if required, this allows you to see what needs to be achieved before your project starts. Once you are finished the summary can be adjusted according to your research and data. Keep writing bits and pieces, including research and quotes as you go and you will find, eventually, that much of your thesis can be fitted together with these smaller pieces after a little editing.

lit review for thesis formatting

The Most Common Mistakes in Literature Review Writing

Here gathered the 7 most common mistakes made by doctoral students whilst preparing their thesis or dissertation literature review, check them before starting your work and you will be able to avoid the most common failures.

  • Skipping the sources indicated in the list. If you mentioned the source in your review you need to include the content of the source in your review as well.
  • Using mostly secondary sources by the doctoral students.
  • Ignoring the methodology section that gives the valuable prompts for the writing process.
  • Picking the topic that is too broad in meaning causing the indefinite research results.
  • Student makes copies with pages missing.
  • The absence of the keywords of the topic in the literature review.
  • Not caring for creating the journal articles reference section.

Keep in mind that the main idea of lit review for thesis or dissertation is not the source listing. The key point is to form your own critical author’s opinion formed under the influence of gathered sources. If your literature review not only states all the ideas and theories known from before but also sets the new questions and creates the ground for discussion then congratulations, your literature review is a success!

Rely your thesis literature review writing on experts and get an excellent grade!