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How to write a literature review for a dissertation

The literature review section of your dissertation is a substantial part of the paper, and is quite important. Why? Because it gives the reader the necessary background they need to understand the problem you are posing in your research and why your method of solving said problem is not only important, but what else has already been done to address the problem and failed.

So what is it?

The literature review is the part of your dissertation that comes before the body. It is the part of the paper where you review all of the relevant literature in order to establish a problem. If your paper is on the benefits of acupuncture as a treatment for infertility, you will want to write a literature review that covers literature in the field of infertility treatment dealing with, for example:

This is one example of the order in which you could present the literature in your literature review. That being said, the aforementioned order would mean that you are going to cover all of those topics in the body of your text as well.

The literature review is important as it gives the reader all of the background information they need. This means a professional in your field should be able to look at this information and from there ascertain why your research is necessary for your field and see what your research has to offer.

As you are writing your literature review section make sure that you include adequate examples. One or two pieces of literature is not sufficient. Your institution may have a cap on the number they require such as between 12 and 15. You should also be sure to critically analyze the literature and explain in your literature review section why each piece is important. Don’t leave it to the reader to guess why you included a particular piece of work. Tell them why you included it so that they know.

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