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Tips for Dummies on How to Write a Literature Review for a Dissertation

A literature review is something you will likely end up writing at some point in your English classes- especially in the more advanced classes. The purpose of a literature review is to review and discusses published information as it relates to your chose focused subject area or within a certain time period.

At its most simplistic, a literature review is a general summary of the sources you use in a research paper, but it also will have a more in depth analysis of the sources and how they relate to your chosen focus area or topic. In some cases the review will also advise the readers on what sources were the best and which ones they could use in their own research and which ones they should avoid.

But how is it different from a research paper?

The main objective for the common research paper is to take a stand on issues, find sources that back up your point of view, and then try to convince the reader that your point of view is the best. In a research paper, the literature sources are used to lay the foundation of your paper and are what helps support your essay. The focus in writing the literature review is to summarize and analyze the information contained in the source and review it at face value without applying it to any topic or adding anything else to it.

Why do we write literature reviews?

Literature reviews are commonly used in advanced writing classes and for big project such as dissertations and final essays and research. It is meant to be a handy guide that helps you get an overview of a topic and get a feel for what sort of information is out there. They also are a big help for those times when you do not have a lot of time for research- you can read literature reviews others have written and know if that source will help you with your paper- it gives you the overview in a few pages rather than several hundred papers

Who writes them?

Literature reviews can be used in just about any subject or field of study but there are several that make use of the literature review on a regular basis. The humanities, sciences, social sciences, lab reports, and politics almost always use literature reviews to help with research and organizing information and sources. Sometimes a literature review is included at the end of a long and expansive paper or it can be written as a separate paper on its own that is turned in before or after the final paper is completed.