Don’t Know How To Write A Literature Review in a Dissertation? Here are 5 Steps To Do So!

How to Write a Dissertation Literature Review

Dissertations play a crucial role in determining your final grade. However, writing a dissertation can be extremely difficult, especially compared to other types of assignments. For example, the word count can be as high as 50,000 (without any unnecessary fillers). Plus, students are required to be extremely precise with the information they put in

Considering the complexities of this assessment form, it’s fair to say students have to be extremely careful and descriptive while writing every section of their dissertation. However, the most crucial part of a dissertation is its literature review. In this post, we’ll discuss the art of writing a dissertation literature review.

What is a Literature Review?

Literature review meaning is that it’s a section in a thesis providing an overview of previous findings and researches. A well-written literature review:

  • Discusses the research question or argument of your dissertation.
  • Synthesises and summarises the available information.
  • Analyses the information gaps in the topic and points out limitations or issues of the subject theory.
  • Highlights the research approach and reviews the current limitations or controversies.
  • Presents previous researches and findings in an organised manner.

Why is Writing a Literature Review So Crucial?

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that research papers are the heart of a dissertation. To understand your research and findings, readers would require a detailed overview of the available literature. In addition, you would want the reader to understand your argument properly before proceeding towards the rest of your dissertation.

Writing a High-Quality PhD Literature Review – 5 Important Steps!

1. Select a Topic

You might have a research theme and question assigned to you in your project requirements. Once you’re done studying your project instructions, it’s time to brainstorm and list potential topics to write on. At first, list down as many topics as you can that relate to your research question. Then, based on relevancy, research scope, and rarity, select one topic. Next, write a well-detailed research proposal. Mention your project goals, objectives, vision, and sources in your proposal. Also, mention the scope of your research and the importance of your argument or findings.

2. Gather Your Sources

After writing your literature review, you have to complete your remaining paper, and the process will be extremely lengthy. So, you should start collecting relevant sources before writing your literature review. You can find journals, articles, essays, and theses related to the subject of your paper on many websites. Arxiv and Google Scholar are some of the most used research platforms on the internet. List down sources and use the most authentic, accurate, and relevant ones. You can also prepare your paper’s bibliography section by listing down the references while gathering sources.

3. Research

Once you’ve collected all the sources you’ll require while writing your paper; it’s important to analyse and read the available literature. Highlight portions in these papers you want to discuss in your literature review. Grab a notepad and jot down the arguments, theories, results, and conflicts discussed in every document. You should also highlight important facts and figures in your sources. Moreover, you should also analyse research gaps and determine how you would fill them.

4. Organise the Available Literature

Once you have picked out the information you want to use from every source, you should organise your researched material accordingly in the literature review. The data can be placed according to its influence on the research question, popularity, or relevance. Make sure you are placing facts, figures, and findings in your paper and literature review according to the argument they’re supporting.

5. Write a Thesis Statement

Last but not least, add a strong thesis statement in your literature review. It’s a small portion of your paper; however, it holds the most importance. It mentions the main argument of your paper, which will be supported later on in your paper using facts, figures, findings, and topic sentences. Your thesis statement can be in whichever form you like. It can be a fact, a rhetoric question, or a recent finding related to your main argument. 


A good PhD dissertation literature review sets a great foundation for your paper. Once you have properly analysed the existing literature, you can have a clearer picture of your argument. Then, you can support your argument in a much better way. If you want to see our sample literature reviews, you can visit our website. Our literature review sample will give you a clear idea of how good our academic experts are.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to write a scientific literature review?

Divide your literature review into 3 sections:

  • Introduction
  • Background Information (at least 3 paragraphs)
  • Conclusion

The introduction of your paper should contain the thesis statement of your paper. Then, in your body paragraphs, briefly discuss the available literature. You can also add some facts in this portion to support your thesis statement.

What is a literature review dissertation?

Dissertations are lengthy academic papers, and writing them requires a lot of research. However, before starting to write your thesis, it’s important to write a captivating literature review. It should discuss:

  • The main argument of your paper.
  • An analysis of the available literature.
  • Facts and recent findings.
  • Conflicting theories and findings.

All of your arguments must be backed by authentic sources.

How to start a literature review?

Initially, in your literature review, you have to write an attention-grabbing introduction. It can either start with an interesting fact or a thought-provoking question. Then add a thesis statement. This is the heart of your literature review, as it briefly mentions the main argument of your paper.

What is a literature review in research?

The literature review is a significant part of your paper which discusses previous research and findings. In this section, you’ll analyse available literature and relate it to the research question and your main argument.

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