thesis literature review sample

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Thesis literature review sample

Try to analyze patterns, turning points and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred. If you have found some recurring central themes, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic. For example, if you are reviewing literature about inequalities in migrant health outcomes, key themes might include healthcare policy, language barriers, cultural attitudes, legal status, and economic access.

If you draw your sources from different disciplines or fields that use a variety of research methods , you might want to compare the results and conclusions that emerge from different approaches. For example:. A literature review is often the foundation for a theoretical framework.

You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts. You might argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach, or combine various theoretical concepts to create a framework for your research. Like any other academic text , your literature review should have an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion.

What you include in each depends on the objective of your literature review. Depending on the length of your literature review, you might want to divide the body into subsections. You can use a subheading for each theme, time period, or methodological approach. Example of a paragraph in a literature review Body image issues have been widely associated with social media usage, particularly in young women.

The relation between media depictions and body image concerns is well-established; a meta-analysis by Grabe, Ward and Hyde concluded that exposure to mass media is linked to body image dissatisfaction among women. However, in an era of rapidly changing digital technologies, the mass media paradigm is no longer adequate for understanding how people engage with images, and the findings of older studies like this one may not be generalizable to younger generations.

In light of this changing landscape, researchers have become increasingly interested in the specific effects of social media. Perloff theorizes that the interactive aspects of social media may influence its impact on body image, and mentions that young women are among the most active social media users.

Across these studies, there is consistent evidence that body image issues are influenced not by social media usage in general, but by engagement with the visual and interactive aspects of these platforms. Nonetheless, there is a lack of robust research on more highly visual social media HVSM such as Instagram and Snapchat that have gained more recent popularity among younger generations.

In the conclusion, you should summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance. Not a language expert? This article has been adapted into lecture slides that you can use to teach your students about writing a literature review. A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources such as books, journal articles, and theses related to a specific topic or research question.

It is often written as part of a thesis, dissertation , or research paper , in order to situate your work in relation to existing knowledge. There are several reasons to conduct a literature review at the beginning of a research project:. Writing the literature review shows your reader how your work relates to existing research and what new insights it will contribute. The literature review usually comes near the beginning of your thesis or dissertation. After the introduction , it grounds your research in a scholarly field and leads directly to your theoretical framework or methodology.

Have a language expert improve your writing. Check your paper for plagiarism in 10 minutes. Do the check. Generate your APA citations for free! APA Citation Generator. Home Knowledge Base Dissertation How to write a literature review. What can proofreading do for your paper? Body image issues have been widely associated with social media usage, particularly in young women. What is a literature review? What is the purpose of a literature review? Where does the literature review go in a dissertation?

Is this article helpful? Shona McCombes Shona has a bachelor's and two master's degrees, so she's an expert at writing a great thesis. She has also worked as an editor and teacher, working with students at all different levels to improve their academic writing. Other students also liked.

Developing your theoretical framework In the theoretical framework, you define key concepts and discuss relevant theories, showing how your research fits in with established ideas. How to write a research methodology The methodology lets readers assess the reliability of your research. Describe what you did and show how your methods match your aims.

Reviewing and revising your literature review during the period of your research is also necessary, to keep it up to date by including reviews of the most recent relevant publications. You will also need to revisit your literature review in the final stages of your research to relate your own findings to what other scholars have previously found in your area. At this stage you may need to explore fields that were not included in your preliminary review.

After selecting a topic to investigate, you will begin to locate and read sources. Then you will analyse, evaluate and synthesise the texts before organising them into a logical structure that you will use to write your literature review. This is a cyclical, iterative process in that you will return to find and read more sources and incorporate them into your synthesis. While many of the general considerations outlined in this module are pertinent to all research, there are some particular things to consider when writing a literature review within your discipline.

In the following sections, you will find additional information and advice for writing a literature review within specific disciplinary areas. Practice-based research often leads to the production of a creative artifact, a body of work or a performance, as well as an accompanying exegetical text. If you are writing a literature review as part of a practice-based exegesis, the content within this module will be relevant to you.

With a focus on creative practice, your research may not necessarily be guided by an explicit research question or a gap that your research aims to address. This involves identifying and discussing the key concepts, ideas and theories that are relevant to your research. Humanities theses are generally divided into chapters which each deal with an aspect of the research problem. There is usually also a short literature review in the introduction, to situate and justify the study, but often further appropriate research literature is integrated into each chapter.

You can see an example of where literature is dealt with in the annotated humanities example on the Thesis structure page. In disciplines which use footnotes for referencing, some of the literature analysis is carried on in the footnotes, in parallel to the main argument in the text above, as can be seen in the example below, from a history thesis. This is reflected in scholarship that deals with predestination.

Historians and theologians tend to focus primarily on its place within Protestant thinking and its role in the Reformation, generally seeing the earlier Catholic inheritance as something that began with Augustine and stopped with Aquinas. In particular, scholars have focused on the abstract, speculative aspects of predestination rather than on the body of doctrine and moral instruction that it involved. In doing so, scholars focus on only the historical facets of predestination doctrine which are applicable to their own view of the concept.

Most works on predestination look at the Protestant concept, with others examining a strict orthodox Catholic interpretation. For an example of this singular focus in this case, Protestant , see, Peter J. Vrin, In scientific and technical disciplines, including medicine and health sciences, the literature review is often more narrowly framed around a specific discipline or research area than in the humanities. A successful scientific literature review will not only identify the current gap in knowledge, but also position your own research project as a viable way of addressing it.

You thus need to build a solid argument to convince the reader that your theoretical and methodological approach is likely to result in a worthwhile contribution to knowledge. In writing the review, it is important to identify the overarching themes that show you have a thorough grasp of the big picture, and to ensure your observations are supported by sufficient evidence.

When reviewing and critiquing existing trends and methods, consider their design, scale and scope, and point out where findings are not comparable or are difficult to compare. Bloomberg, L. Completing your qualitative dissertation: A road map from beginning to end 2nd ed.

Sage Publications. Jury, S. Kimberley, N. The Q manual 6th ed. Faculty of Business and Economics, Monash University. O'Leary, Z. The essential guide to doing your research project 2nd ed. Saunders, M. Research methods for business students 4th ed.

Pearson Education. Skip to content Skip to navigation. What is meant by the term literature? What is meant by the term review? Activity What do you think a literature review is, and what is it not? Analysis and synthesis Writing a literature review involves analysing and synthesising previous research.

Different types of literature review Literature reviews exist within different types of scholarly works with varying foci and emphases. The function of literature reviews What is the purpose of conducting a literature review? A literature review functions as a tool to: provide a background to your work by summarising the previously published work classify the research into different categories and demonstrate how the research in a particular area has changed over time by indicating historical background early research findings in an area as well as explaining recent developments in an area clarify areas of controversy and agreement between experts in the area as well as identify dominant views evaluate the previous research and identify gaps i.

The process of conducting a literature review Conducting a literature review is an ongoing, non-linear, and iterative process. Early The review you conduct in your first year helps you to refine and justify your research questions. Each of the stages mentioned above involves three main steps: locate relevant literature, review the literature, and write about the literature.

Discipline-specific considerations While many of the general considerations outlined in this module are pertinent to all research, there are some particular things to consider when writing a literature review within your discipline. Practice-based research Practice-based research often leads to the production of a creative artifact, a body of work or a performance, as well as an accompanying exegetical text.

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When you write a thesis, dissertation , or research paper , you will have to conduct a literature review to situate your research within existing knowledge. The literature review gives you a chance to:. You might also have to write a literature review as a stand-alone assignment. In this case, the purpose is to evaluate the current state of research and demonstrate your knowledge of scholarly debates around a topic.

The content will look slightly different in each case, but the process of conducting a literature review follows the same steps. Writing literature reviews is a particularly important skill if you want to apply for graduate school or pursue a career in research. Before you begin searching for literature, you need a clearly defined topic.

If you are writing the literature review section of a dissertation or research paper, you will search for literature related to your research problem and questions. If you are writing a literature review as a stand-alone assignment, you will have to choose a focus and develop a central question to direct your search. Unlike a dissertation research question, this question has to be answerable without collecting original data. You should be able to answer it based only on a review of existing publications.

Start by creating a list of keywords related to your research question. You can add to this list if you discover new keywords in the process of your literature search. Use your keywords to begin searching for sources. Some useful databases to search for journals and articles include:. Read the abstract to find out whether an article is relevant to your question. When you find a useful book or article, you can check the bibliography to find other relevant sources.

To identify the most important publications on your topic, take note of recurring citations. If the same authors, books or articles keep appearing in your reading, make sure to seek them out. Scribbr editors not only correct grammar and spelling mistakes, but also strengthen your writing by making sure your paper is free of vague language, redundant words and awkward phrasing. See editing example. Make sure the sources you use are credible , and make sure you read any landmark studies and major theories in your field of research.

You can find out how many times an article has been cited on Google Scholar—a high citation count means the article has been influential in the field, and should certainly be included in your literature review. The scope of your review will depend on your topic and discipline: in the sciences you usually only review recent literature, but in the humanities you might take a long historical perspective for example, to trace how a concept has changed in meaning over time.

As you read, you should also begin the writing process. Take notes that you can later incorporate into the text of your literature review. It is important to keep track of your sources with citations to avoid plagiarism.

It can be helpful to make an annotated bibliography , where you compile full citation information and write a paragraph of summary and analysis for each source. This helps you remember what you read and saves time later in the process. Want to check your literature review for plagiarism? Based on your reading and notes, you can look for:. This step will help you work out the structure of your literature review and if applicable show how your own research will contribute to existing knowledge.

There are various approaches to organizing the body of a literature review. You should have a rough idea of your strategy before you start writing. Depending on the length of your literature review, you can combine several of these strategies for example, your overall structure might be thematic, but each theme is discussed chronologically.

The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time. However, if you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order. Try to analyze patterns, turning points and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred.

If you have found some recurring central themes, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic. For example, if you are reviewing literature about inequalities in migrant health outcomes, key themes might include healthcare policy, language barriers, cultural attitudes, legal status, and economic access.

If you draw your sources from different disciplines or fields that use a variety of research methods , you might want to compare the results and conclusions that emerge from different approaches. For example:. A literature review is often the foundation for a theoretical framework. You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts. You might argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach, or combine various theoretical concepts to create a framework for your research.

Like any other academic text , your literature review should have an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion. As a result, a thesis can contain multiple reviews based upon thematic, conceptual, theoretical and methodological considerations.

What is the purpose of conducting a literature review? What function does a literature review serve within a thesis? This is a cyclical process. It is usually one of the first tasks that graduate research students undertake, and one of the last to be completed. A literature review written in the early stages of research is likely to change because you need to review and revise it from time to time and ensure it is up to date.

You will probably find yourself engaging with the literature in different ways at different stages of your research. The review you conduct in your first year helps you to refine and justify your research questions. Your written report demonstrates your familiarity with the research in your field.

Reviewing and revising your literature review during the period of your research is also necessary, to keep it up to date by including reviews of the most recent relevant publications. You will also need to revisit your literature review in the final stages of your research to relate your own findings to what other scholars have previously found in your area.

At this stage you may need to explore fields that were not included in your preliminary review. After selecting a topic to investigate, you will begin to locate and read sources. Then you will analyse, evaluate and synthesise the texts before organising them into a logical structure that you will use to write your literature review. This is a cyclical, iterative process in that you will return to find and read more sources and incorporate them into your synthesis.

While many of the general considerations outlined in this module are pertinent to all research, there are some particular things to consider when writing a literature review within your discipline. In the following sections, you will find additional information and advice for writing a literature review within specific disciplinary areas. Practice-based research often leads to the production of a creative artifact, a body of work or a performance, as well as an accompanying exegetical text.

If you are writing a literature review as part of a practice-based exegesis, the content within this module will be relevant to you. With a focus on creative practice, your research may not necessarily be guided by an explicit research question or a gap that your research aims to address.

This involves identifying and discussing the key concepts, ideas and theories that are relevant to your research. Humanities theses are generally divided into chapters which each deal with an aspect of the research problem. There is usually also a short literature review in the introduction, to situate and justify the study, but often further appropriate research literature is integrated into each chapter.

You can see an example of where literature is dealt with in the annotated humanities example on the Thesis structure page. In disciplines which use footnotes for referencing, some of the literature analysis is carried on in the footnotes, in parallel to the main argument in the text above, as can be seen in the example below, from a history thesis. This is reflected in scholarship that deals with predestination. Historians and theologians tend to focus primarily on its place within Protestant thinking and its role in the Reformation, generally seeing the earlier Catholic inheritance as something that began with Augustine and stopped with Aquinas.

In particular, scholars have focused on the abstract, speculative aspects of predestination rather than on the body of doctrine and moral instruction that it involved. In doing so, scholars focus on only the historical facets of predestination doctrine which are applicable to their own view of the concept. Most works on predestination look at the Protestant concept, with others examining a strict orthodox Catholic interpretation.

For an example of this singular focus in this case, Protestant , see, Peter J. Vrin, In scientific and technical disciplines, including medicine and health sciences, the literature review is often more narrowly framed around a specific discipline or research area than in the humanities.

A successful scientific literature review will not only identify the current gap in knowledge, but also position your own research project as a viable way of addressing it. You thus need to build a solid argument to convince the reader that your theoretical and methodological approach is likely to result in a worthwhile contribution to knowledge.

In writing the review, it is important to identify the overarching themes that show you have a thorough grasp of the big picture, and to ensure your observations are supported by sufficient evidence. When reviewing and critiquing existing trends and methods, consider their design, scale and scope, and point out where findings are not comparable or are difficult to compare.

Bloomberg, L. Completing your qualitative dissertation: A road map from beginning to end 2nd ed. Sage Publications. Jury, S. Kimberley, N. The Q manual 6th ed. Faculty of Business and Economics, Monash University. O'Leary, Z. The essential guide to doing your research project 2nd ed. Saunders, M. Research methods for business students 4th ed. Pearson Education. Skip to content Skip to navigation.

What is meant by the term literature? What is meant by the term review? Activity What do you think a literature review is, and what is it not?

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How to Write a Literature Review

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