Professional Dissertation Literature Review Guide

Literature reviews are primarily essential in most scientific fields. When beginning from scratch, reviewing the literature can require massive work. It requires the ability to multitask and evaluate relevant material from various sources.

In a dissertation literature review, you aggregate prior research and lay the foundations for your current one. So, it is no surprise that it is quite an essential chapter from critical thinking and evaluation to citations.

This article takes you through the guide for writing a literature review dissertation. We’ve broken the information down so that even newcomers to dissertation writing can follow them effortlessly.

Writing dissertation literature review

Before discussing the literature review chapter for a dissertation, we’ve got to understand the “why.” If you don’t understand the primary purpose of a literature review chapter, there are few chances of writing one well.

So, what exactly is the main reason for the literature review process? There are primarily four reasons for a literature review:

  • To gain a clear understanding of the main components of the research. For instance, the stage it’s at currently and its limitations.
  • To identify the gap faults in the literature and use this as a reason for your research topic.
  • To help you develop a theoretical framework for testing if need be.
  • And lastly, to make you understand your methodological choices and help you access tested questionnaires for surveys.

Often, numerous students understand the first reason but hardly give any thought to the remaining three. To write a compelling literature review, you must keep all four points in mind as you set up your work. Using a dissertation literature review example can get you up to speed with understanding the main reasons for writing.

Dissertation review guide: dissertation literature review outline

Various parts are needed to write a literature review, with some parts written before others. Therefore, before we get into how to write a literature review, nailing down the outline is a must.

Naturally, it should come first because you wouldn’t just sit and begin writing a review without planning. So now, let’s go through what the various sections of a literature review should look like.

Typically, a literature review should have the following outline:

  • Topic Introduction – what you will present and why.
  • Presentation of the Evidence.
  • Conclusions – state how it relates to your study.

Until you have articles and literature surrounding your topic, your outline can only take a general shape. Therefore, it’s important to locate your sources first, write paragraph summaries, and use them as a guide for structuring your topics.

How to write a dissertation literature review for newbies

Now that we’ve gotten the “why” and the outline of a dissertation literature review let’s get to the “how.” As described in the outline above, writing your literature review involves arranged steps. By following them, you can:

  • Find the most relevant literature
  • Understand and organize the literature
  • Learn how to write up your literature review

It can be very tempting to write your literature review as you read, but that will only leave you open to several mistakes. In addition, you may waste large amounts of time re-writing your work. Hence, you need to read and understand the information first.

Here’s a total guide to writing a literature review for beginners:

  1. Find the relevant literature

Naturally, the first step is to locate all the existing research relevant to your topic. Then, while you may already have a decent idea of it from your research proposal, you need to conduct further research on the dissertation itself. This involves searching for existing literature that helps you answer your research question.

  1. Log, arrange and optimize

Once you’ve found all the relevant literature needed for your research, it’s time to read and digest the information. However, as you read through your articles, it’s vital that you simultaneously start organizing the information. You can achieve this by building a catalog and writing down referenced information.

  1. Follow your outline and get writing

Once you’re satisfied with all you’ve read and recorded, it’s time to put pen to paper and write your dissertation literature review. Again, you can use dissertation literature review help from online platforms as a guideline to write your review.


By following our dissertation literature review guide, you can avoid the errors that come with rushing or writing a review as a beginner. First, you need to understand what literature reviews are and the reasons for writing them, then have a clear outline before you write.

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