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The Literature Review

Access the Literature for the literature review

Retrieve the Literature for the literature review

Review the Literature for the literature review

Write the Literature Review

Reference the Literature Review


It is imperative that you understand how to access and retrieve research for your dissertation or thesis.


 1   What are search engines and how do I use them?

 2   How do I search? Key word searching  

 3   What sort of literature do I need to collect?

 4   What do I now do with literature I have collected?

 5   Harvard referencing of the literature


The Literature Review

The literature review will most likely be carried out throughout the whole research process but more extensively at the beginning of the research.

The literature review involves reading and critically appraising what other researchers have written about your subject area.

The literature review is one of the earliest stages in the research process

The literature review amounts to a significant proportion of dissertation content.

The literature review basically searches for material which is relevant to the subject of your dissertation with the intention to describe and analyse what has been written by others.  

Allow sufficient time to cover the activities involved in undertaking a literature review!

The Literature Review Critical Reading Skills

  • The literature review should be critical rather than merely descriptive

  •  It is worth recording relevant critical points for the literature review so take notes

  • Developing a critical approach is not necessarily one of simply criticizing the work of others

  • The Literature Review Critical  approach entails moving beyond mere description and asks questions about the significance of the work

  • How does the article/research found relate to other articles/research you have found?

  • Are there any apparent strengths and deficiencies - perhaps in terms of methodology or in terms of the credibility of the conclusions drawn?

  • What theoretical ideas have influenced the item?