Doing a literature review requires you to collect and analyze scholarly resources that are related to your topic. When conducting a literature review, the process can be broken down into five key stages.
Literature Review Structure
Why is Literature Review for Thesis Important?
When you are working on your graduate thesis, one of the core components needed to make it complete is a literature review. Here is a demonstration of the main benefits of carrying a literature review for your thesis.
- Allows you to show how familiar you are with the topic of study.
- Offers you an opportunity to develop a comprehensive methodology.
- Demonstrate how your research will address the existing gap in your topic of study.
- Make your contribution to your area of the study felt.
Thesis Literature Review Example
To help you craft a good literature review for thesis, here are the main steps that you should follow.
Step 1: Look for the Relevant Scholarly Resources
By the time you get to writing the thesis for your literature, you will have worked on chapter one (introduction) that clearly defines the topic. But you can still relook at it before setting off to look for the relevant resources. By defining the problem, you will be able to look at the resources that are closely related to the study questions and problems.
Another method of looking for relevant studies is searching using the keyword. Consider using the main databases for the latest journals, books and articles. Some of these databases include:
After pulling out different resources, check whether it is relevant by going through the abstract. If the resource is relevant, peruse to the last section, the bibliography, for additional resources. When you find a specific resource recurring in the resources, it means it is very relevant.
Step 2: Evaluate the Resources
Once you have gathered an assortment of resources, the chances are that not all of them will be used during the study. So you will need to evaluate them further to determine which ones to use in the study. So here is how to evaluate every resource:
You should only pick the most relevant resources. Also, it is important to appreciate that if you are in the sciences, the review has to be focused on the latest resources. But if your thesis is in humanities, it might be necessary to check older resources to bring out the historical perspectives. As you read through, keep track of the resources by taking notes, capturing the pages, and citing them properly.
Step 3: Identify Gaps in Current Resources
Before you can organize the arguments in the literature, it is prudent to comprehend how the resources are related. So what should you look for?
- Patterns and trends, especially in theories, methods, and results.
- Debates, major conflicts, and contradictions.
- Gaps on what is missing in the literature.
- Pivotal publications.
Step 4: Develop the Outline of the Master Thesis Literature Review
The outline of your literature provides you with a breakdown of what you should discuss at what different stages. There are a number of strategies that you can use to prepare your literature review.
Note that you can opt to use one or combine several of them to make your literature review more articulate.
Step 5: Write Your Literature Review
Like other forms of academic writing, your literature review should take this format: introduction, body, and conclusion. Here is what to include in every section:
- Introduction: This should be used to give the focus of the literature review.
- Body: In the body of the literature review, you get into the finer details of the review. Here you should do the following:
- Summarize, analyze, and interpret.
- Evaluate comprehensively.
- Write carefully in properly structured and easy to read paragraphs.
Literature Review Example
To help you craft a great literature review thesis, it is important to also have the entire project in mind. This means that although you are reviewing literature, the methods you will use should be clear the back of your mind. Here is a thesis literature review example paragraph. The paragraph is borrowed from literature review of a thesis on the effects of cyberbullying.
“Cyberbullying gives the bully a much larger spectrum to choose from when it comes to how exactly they want to intimidate their victims, which may be why it is often easier for them to carry out the act. Of all the different ways to cyberbully Faucher et al. (2014) found the most common platforms for cyberbullying to be social media, text messaging, and email, which were used to bully students about half of the time followed up by blogs forums and chat rooms which were 25 percent. This is no surprise that social media is the most common platform for cyberbullying because it can allow for the bully to remain completely anonymous to your average victim. This allows people who may not fit the mold of your average bully to create a fake account and build their own persona in order to bully others.”
Once you have written the body of the literature review, you still need to conclude it. This is a summary of the literature review that captures the main points that you have discussed.
Step 7: Write Your Bibliography
This guide on how to write literature review for thesis cannot be complete without including a bibliography. This is a complete list of all the resources that you have used during the review. It is important to ensure that you follow the method that your supervisor recommends for formatting and referencing. See two reference examples presented below.