A literature review is a critical analysis and summary of published research in a particular field or topic area. Here are some steps to follow in conducting a literature review for a dissertation:
- Identify your research question or topic: Determine the research question or topic you will be exploring in your dissertation.
- Search for relevant literature: Conduct a comprehensive search for literature related to your research question or topic. Use academic databases, such as Google Scholar, to search for peer-reviewed articles, journals, books, and other sources. Additionally, look for other relevant sources, such as government reports or conference proceedings.
- Evaluate the sources: Evaluate the sources you have collected to ensure that they are relevant, reliable, and current. Consider the authors’ credibility, the methodology used in the study, and the quality of the research.
- Organize the literature: Organize the literature you have collected into categories or themes that relate to your research question or topic. Use a tool such as a matrix or table to help you organize your findings.
- Analyze and synthesize the literature: Analyze and synthesize the literature by identifying patterns, themes, and trends. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the literature and how it relates to your research question or topic.
- Write the literature review: Write a comprehensive literature review that summarizes the key findings of the literature you have reviewed. Be sure to include a critical analysis of the literature and how it relates to your research question or topic.
- Revise and refine the literature review: Revise and refine the literature review as necessary, incorporating feedback from your dissertation advisor or committee members.
- Cite the sources: Be sure to properly cite all of the sources you have used in your literature review, following the citation style recommended by your academic institution.
Remember, a literature review is not just a summary of existing research; it should be a critical analysis of the literature that helps to shape and guide your research question and methodology.