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Review of Literature in Thesis

What is Review of  Literature in Thesis?

A review of literature in thesis is an analysis of multiple ideas on a given subject. Literature reviews survey few scholarly articles, books, theses, and sources on a particular topic. The section in your thesis provides a thorough overview of recent knowledge about one subject and allows writers identify related and relevant theories.

A review of literature also allows writers exhibit gaps in previous research that applies to current theses or dissertations. You need to follow several key steps to write an accurate literature review.

Take all the information you need about writing a review of literature section in thesis through this guide. Working with details below ensures you score good grades after writing review of literature and improves your overall knowledge of the topic.

Steps to Write a Literature Review in Thesis

Step 1: Source relevant literature

You can gather relevant sources for your review of literature with few keywords from your topic. The internet provides a great resource of open access journals you can check for recent reviews of literature. You can also get relevant sources from your college’s library.

Endeavor to read the abstract of any source material to make sure it relates well with the topic of your thesis.

Step 2: Inspect for gaps or themes in sourced literature

You need to identify the following in your sourced literature:

-        Gaps – what previous literature fail to address about the topic

-        Themes – common questions that appear across several reviews in your thesis

-        Trends – approaches no longer in use to solve problems related to the topic of your thesis

-        Conflicting ideas – where sources disagree about answers to questions in your thesis

Identify these elements helps you define how your research will be different from others and contribute to knowledge on the topic

Step 3: Define your approach to the review

You must organize the main body of your literature review. It is possible to combine approaches to write one review depending on its length. The main approaches to adopt when writing a review of literature are:

Methodological – comparing results from different fields and discussing results from each cited research, literature is easier to understand if divided into historical, cultural, or sociological sources

Chronological – analysis of patterns across summarized ideas from authors in an order of significance; outlines key debates and points from authors that shape the relevant field of your topic

Theoretical – discusses various definitions, models, and theories of vital ideas about your research; one of the most common approaches to writing reviews of literature.

Step 4: Write and edit the review of literature

Next, you need to write the review of literature and make changes wherever necessary. Your review of literature should have an introductory paragraph, main body (with heading as review of related literature), and concluding paragraph (summary). 

The introductory paragraph should show the focus and purpose of your review. After that, the body should offer information about previous reviews (themes or gaps) and precede your theoretical framework.

The body should contain:

-        Summaries of main points from each source, compiled to form a coherent set of paragraphs on your topic,

-        Addition of your interpretations within summaries to show your understanding of their findings and how essential these findings are to your research

-        Point out limitations and strengths of your sources’ opinions

-        Write structured paragraphs that connect the entire section through contrasts, comparison, or direct connections

The concluding section summarizes vital findings observed from the review of literature and emphasizes their importance to your thesis. It is a summary of every vital point you gathered from the research structured to heighten readers interest in the next section.

Why Write a Literature Review in Thesis?

Writing a review of literature in a thesis will usually have you highlight similar or conflicting ideas about your research from several existing sources. Review of literature gives you an opportunity to:

-        Show how much you understand a topic and its context from a scholarly angle

-        Conveniently position your thesis in direct relation to studies from other theorists or researchers

-        Create a theoretical framework to support your research

-        Display how your thesis addresses a current debate or proffers solutions to an existing problem

-        Choose a suitable methodology from existing research or build on the methods used in previous studies

It is important to write a review of literature if you plan to have a future as a researcher or academic in a graduate school. Following the guidelines to write a review of literature above ensures you include all vital points with ease.


1.   What is a review of literature?

       A review of literature surveys scholarly articles of different kinds related to a given topic. Review of literature could cite ideas from unpublished journals, books,              articles, webpages, theses, and other  publications.

2.   Where should the review of literature go in a thesis?

       The review of literature comes immediately after the introductory chapter of a thesis or dissertation. This section provides a base for your research in a given                 scholarly  field and usually includes a  theoretical framework. Writing a review of literature section also offers a strong basis to draft a suitable methodology for               your  thesis.  

3.    Why should I write a review of literature?

         You should write a review of literature in your thesis as this section helps you become familiar with current knowledge on your chosen topic. It also helps writers            avoid repetition and identify knowledge gaps that need attention.

4.   Is review of literature the same as annotated bibliography?

       A review of literature and an annotated bibliography are not the same. Review of literature usually surveys credible authors on a given topic, sharing their ideas on         a particular subject with appropriate referencing. However, an annotated bibliography

Final Word

You must complete your review of literature section properly to guarantee good grades when supervisors and review panels assess your thesis. Following correct guidelines to draft a review of literature ensures all vital sections in this part of your research get proper attention.

Writing a proper review of literature further sets the tone of your research; as it goes a step further to improve content in your introduction. Follow the steps outlined above and make the most of writing a complete review of literature for your thesis or dissertation.