how to write a thesis literature review

how to write a thesis literature review

How to write a thesis literature review
In assessing each source, consideration should be given to:
Literature reviews are often published as scholarly articles, books, and reports. Here is an example of a recent literature review published as a scholarly journal article:

How to write a thesis literature review
To identify the most important publications on your topic, take note of recurring citations. If the same authors, books or articles keep appearing in your reading, make sure to seek them out.
For example, if you are reviewing literature about inequalities in migrant health outcomes, key themes might include healthcare policy, language barriers, cultural attitudes, legal status, and economic access.

How to write a thesis literature review
Beyond the use of the academic terms suggested above, ‘linking’ words are also particularly important when writing a literature review, since you’ll be grouping a lot of writers together with either similar or divergent opinions. Useful linking words and phrases include: similarly, there are parallels, in convergence with…
3. Make sure your sources are as current as possible
If you are reviewing scientific work, it’s essential your sources are as current as possible given the advancements in the field over the years. In the medical field particularly, research is constantly evolving and a source that’s only three years old may be even out-dated. In the social sciences this rule may not apply, as many theoretical works are classics and you will be expected to be familiar with these perspectives. You might have to the review the work of Marx, or Hobbes, or any other classic scholar. You still need to balance theory with current approaches, as you will need to demonstrate the ways in which perspectives in the literature have changed over the years, or you may even want to demonstrate how scholars have used classic theories to inform their work.

  • a description of the publication;
  • a summary of the publication’s main points;
  • a discussion of gaps in research;
  • an evaluation of the publication’s contribution to the topic.

The purpose of a literature review is to provide a review of writings on the given topic in order to establish the reviewer’s own position in the existing field of scholarship on that topic. A literature review provides a reader with a comprehensive look at previous discussions prior to the one the reviewer will be making in his/her own research paper, thesis, or dissertation. In short, a literature review shows readers where the reviewer is entering the academic conversation on a particular topic in the context of existing scholarship.

Taylor, D. (n.d.) The literature review: a few tips on conducting it. Available at: https://advice.writing.utoronto.ca/types-of-writing/literature-review/ (Accessed 27 April 2020).
Keeping a record of your search strategy is useful. This will prevent you duplicating effort by doing the same search twice. It will also help to ensure you do not miss out a significant sector of literature because you think you have already done that search. Increasingly, at post-graduate level examiners wish to understand how you selected evidence. Therefore, you may be required to explain your search strategy, and your process of selection and omission.