Doing a Review of Literature
Ryan, Anne B. (2006) Doing a Review of Literature. In: Researching and Writing your Thesis: a guide for postgraduate students. MACE: Maynooth Adult and Community Education, pp. 58-67.
A Literature review is an in-depth examination of the significant material in books, journals and other sources relating to your topic. The aim is to explore what is already known on the topic and to introduce the main thinkers/writers in the area. A review helps you and your readers to acquire an understanding of your topic. It sets the scene for your research, placing your research question in context. The review is therefore a part of your academic development - of becoming expert on your topic. It is usually presented at the beginning of a thesis, after the introduction, and generally takes up about a third to a half of the word allocation of the thesis. In short theses this will probably be just one chapter, but in longer theses, the literature review runs to two, even three chapters. The best way to see how it is done is to look at other theses, which can be consulted in the university library.
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