It’s a simple endeavour; you just dust off your books, settle down in your chair coffee in hand, ready to jot down quick summaries of your readings as you skim through the pages. There are a lot of misunderstandings about what a dissertation literature review entails.Whilst in some cases a dissertation literature review can be a simple summary of important sources, most often it requires you to critically engage with the text to convey your opinions of it, as well as any critiques that you may have.
In other scenarios, a literature review may also provide an assessment of a source and inform a reader about its validity, pertinence and relevance to the research subject.
"In a literature review, you're aiming to summarise and provide a critical analysis of the research arguments you have found in your readings, without making new contributions to the literature.
What is your interpretation of a particular source?
Does this interpretation differ considerably from other viewpoints in the literature?
This module is intended as an introductory guide to writing stand-alone literature reviews.
A graduate literature review module is also available in the graduate research and writing section of the Research and Learning Online site.A literature review may provide a new perspective on a classic research paper or it may combine both new and old interpretations (this is the “gap” – more on this later).A literature review may also provide a thorough and critical outline of the intellectual developments in a field with a focus on major, and often polemical, debates.For more information on how to paraphrase and summarise effectively, please see the citing and referencing tutorial on the Research and Learning Online website.In literature reviews, you may want to summarise similar findings by including several sources within a single citation.The graduate literature review module is particularly useful if you are writing a literature review that forms part of a research project, including an Honours, Master by Research or Ph D project.This tutorial will cover: The purpose of a stand-alone literature review is to provide a summary, synthesis and critical evaluation of the literature relevant to your specific research question or aim.For example: Only a few epidemiologic investigations have assessed the intake of chocolate products as part of a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) (Arts et al., 2002; di Giuseppe et al., 2008), whereas other studies have simply asked about chocolate intake as part of a lifestyle questionnaire (Lee & Paffenbarger, 1998; Paganini-Hill, Kawas, & Corrada, 2007).Monash students can access Research and Learning drop-in sessions at the Library.If you use any of these free literature reviews as source material for your own work, then remember to reference them correctly.So, you have been tasked with writing your dissertation literature review. In short, a dissertation literature review provides a critical assessment of the sources (literature) you have gathered and read surrounding your subject area, and then identifies a “gap” in that literature that your research will attempt to address.