Tricks of Writing a Literature Review for a PhD Proposal

A literary review is part of a study in which the author introduces readers to the context of his research and / or its theoretical basis. It is important that the literature review reviews the relevant literature and justifies the choice of this particular literature.

Often, a literature review is the first chapter that a supervisor requests when working with a potential candidate for a degree. Thus, it is possible to understand how a potential student is theoretically prepared, how he works with literature, whether he is able to analyze data, whether concentration has a core of thought.

The most important step is to define the goal of the particular literature review. Before writing a literature review, it is necessary to clearly formulate the idea that it should carry in itself. The purpose of the review, first of all, is to describe what was done on the studied topic at the time of the study and thus to determine the place of the present study in the system of knowledge on the studied issue.

Moreover, the literature review should, if possible, justify the need for research. That is, it is necessary to show that the study of the issue addressed in the work, on the one hand, is relevant and promising, but on the other hand, it has not really been carried out or has been insufficiently conducted.

When analyzing literary sources on the research topic, it is necessary to study previously published monographs, defended dissertations, published articles, as well as materials from scientific conferences. Making out the literature review, you should not only indicate the achievements of individual authors, but also consider what has been achieved on the topic of your chosen scientific direction, which still requires additional research on this issue.

Make sure that the papers that you want to review in the literature review are relevant to your research topic. You should not include something that is very poorly connected with your research, just to gain more volume, or because you are well acquainted with these works.

When you describe some work, be sure to explain why it is necessary for your research. Literature review is not a research paper itself. It is not necessary to completely rewrite in your own words the fragments of texts that you include in the review. Highlight the main points and describe (but in detail) only them.

Follow the logic of the text. Ideally, if each work used in the review is somehow related to the one you described before it. You can also combine the described sources and literature into groups by content, time of writing, the position of the authors, etc.

Always refer to the sources from which you take information. If you give a specific quote, do not forget to specify the page number. To understand the meaning of links and their design will help this video. You can read about what is considered plagiarism in research work here.

As you can see, a literature review can be compiled in several ways. It may be including:

  • Comparison of the points of view of several authors on the problem to which the study is devoted;
  • A detailed analysis of the fundamental for your study of labor with a list of several other less important publications on the topic;
  • Consideration of the most modern publications on the topic.

As you know, any paradigm develops in a chronological order. Therefore, try to note the historical and systematic development of the problem under study in the writings of researchers. Critically evaluate their achievements, point out the shortcomings of their ideas. At the same time, it is necessary to indicate the crisis itself and the paradigm shift, as well as possible prospects for further research efforts that you will continue in the practical part of your dissertation research. In addition, it is important to realize that it is necessary to work on a literary review during the entire period of the dissertation, constantly adding it, working on research literature. Only then can you indicate all the achievements of predecessors and do not waste your time on excessive “archeology of knowledge”.

Literature review writing is a truly time-consuming task and that is why students often delegate to a professional literature review writing service and spend their time dealing with more substantial parts of the PhD proposal.