A critical literature review is of great importance in drafting a good, superior quality PhD thesis. The motive behind a literature review is that it places your research in historical perspective and relates your research to the previous researches undertaken by experts all over the world. You would start writing your literature review once your topic for research has been decided and objectives have been ascertained. Now according to the same, you must go about writing your literature review. You could follow this stepwise guide for achieving your goal of writing a high-calibre literature review:
- Accumulate the literature you would like to review:
At this step you need to take note of two important things, firstly, why you choose certain studies to review and reject the others and secondly, the years in which these studies were undertaken. Try and refer to researches that are most closely related to your topic and are more recent in their occurrence.
- Critically analyse the literature:
You should be able to briefly state the purpose and findings of each research study you are reviewing. This would help you analyse the literature at a holistic level. At a micro level however, you should jot down the key contributions of every researcher that are otherwise unique and value adding in nature. Addressing the relevance and exceptional research conducted by a fellow scholar, is the mark of a good researcher.
- Summarise the review:
You should now be equipped with a draft of the various contributions you are going to extract from each paper. In one glance you should be able to group similar findings and similar thought processes together. You should also be able to formulate the studies that disagree with each other so that you can highlight contrasting viewpoints about the topic in your review.
- Give your review a structure:
Once you have a format in front of you, it will become easier for you to give your literature review a proper structure that will help in governing the flow of logic from one paragraph or section to the other. This is important to keep your review organised as well as focused.
- Start drafting the review:
You can now carefully begin to draft your literature review that links your research objectives with the findings of other researchers and acknowledges even those studies that draw opposite conclusions as compared to yours. This is an indicator of a matured research reading and helps in strengthening your propaganda.