Dissertation Literature Review Methodology

In all these ways, doing a literature review is not only crucial to writing a dissertation, it is also giving you experience with the ongoing process of new knowledge and discovery that is taking place in your field.

While you are writing your dissertation, you are engaged in making a genuine contribution to the field of knowledge.

Ask reference librarians for additional leads on sources.

Once you have identified key authors in the field, search for their additional publications. Focus more on recent works, especially if older works do not seem to add anything new or additional. Be selective in examining works that address your research problem or question.

Use your up-to-date subject textbooks’ bibliographies. Ask your professors for the key, seminal works in your field addressing this topic and research question or problem.

Locate the most recent relevant articles and begin with the bibliographies they contain.(We will not address APA style, grammar, headings, etc.If you are interested in help with the research design or nature of the study, please register for the methodology drop-in by clicking here).Another reason literature review is important is that it makes sure you do not repeat any research that has already been done before.Previous researchers may have also studied what you are about to study and they may have had special problems or difficulties; by reading what they wrote, you may be able to avoid their mistakes.Doing the literature review will expose you to multiple viewpoints and perspectives on your topic and research problem or question. You may discover that experimental results which are relevant to your question or problem have until now been ambiguous, contradictory, or incomplete.You may have to weigh competing theoretical arguments; you may also have to synthesize and evaluate varied strands of research conducted on different populations, different samples, and using different measures and research methods.Research that is published while you are writing your dissertation may add to what is known about your topic or provide additional evidence for or against one or another theory.You may even have access to research that is so recent it has not been published yet.Identify any relevant published literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, or dissertations.Search bibliographic databases with careful keyword searches.


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