Step 5 – Conduct a Dissertation Literature Review

When you are looking at the different stages of writing your dissertation, you will see that a number of guides look at the different stages of your literature search and review. This will be the point that you might actually get confused, as you will be looking at the information you are reading and never thought it could be as difficult as it seems.

Many students (and me included) look at the literature as a discussion of what is happening in the field of study at the present time and review the actual literature and say what points are important. The key thing that I and so many others miss out is the point to include arguments and meaning in this section of your dissertation paper.

You need to determine what it is that has been done before and why the different researches have used certain practices and methods and why they reached the different places that they have. You will also need to understand the different parts of why they have reached their analysis and why other researches have reached theirs.

You should also understand the historical differences that have emerged and how these have affected other studies, as they will porbably have been these. You will not want to supply the reader with a running commentary though, as this will significantly affect the readers understating of whether you have questioned so what?

Using the example of ‘so what?’, one lecturer on my undergrad degree course caught my attention and thus mean that I started to question why researches were coming out with different explanations and also to question the methods that they were using were correct and should have been used in the situation. You should also be looking at these different arguments and recognizing whether any are flawed and establishing this here.

Many students will provide a commerntary on the letrature available on the topic, yet as well as this, you should also focus on why the authors have reached a certain point and why they have used specific methods and reasoning to get there. I did make this mistake in my undergraduate degree disssertation, yet I did receive a good standard as I put a lot of effort into the literature; thus you will need to recognize how important this part of the dissertation paper will be to the rest of your project.

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