A Comprehensive Guide On Writing And Structuring The Literature Review Chapter Of Your Dissertation

Writing the literature review

Writing the literature review chapter of your dissertation can be a daunting task. This process becomes easier with a disciplined approach to writing a literature review. This article outlines a couple of aspects of writing a structured literature review. Before that, it is vital to understand what a good literature review should focus on. For that, a literature review must achieve a few important objectives.

  1. It should be able to determine your knowledge of a particular topic
  2. A good literature review should be able to identify gaps in the previous research
  3. A good literature review should be able to develop a link between your research study and previous literature
  4. It must demonstrate your theoretical knowledge on the research topic by creating a conceptualised framework
  5. A literature review should be able to decide the methodology of your research
  6. It should be able to provide a basis for an appropriate research design

The MD of the coursework writing service firm said that a literature review can achieve these objectives by adopting an appropriate structure. Before starting to write a literature review, you must collect and review the literature. Only a good knowledge base can ensure a well-written literature review. One must develop a rich understanding of the topic before mapping out a structure for the literature review. If we look at an appropriate written structure, it is the same as any other written piece. It means that a well-structured literature review should have an introduction, a body and a conclusion. Let’s have a closer look at these three sections of the literature review here.

Introduction Section of Literature Review

As the name implicates, the introduction section consists of introducing the purpose of this piece of writing. This introduction includes an aim of the literature review and a layout. An introduction gives the reader a glance at what is about to come in your work. It enables the reader to understand the layout of the literature review. Once you give your reader a brief visualisation of your work, outline your research topic. At this point, you can add tricky jargon and terminologies. The next thing to do is to write about the scope of your literature review chapter. It implies that you will layout things that the literature review will cover or that it won’t under this research topic. After that, the introduction part should include a few recent trends and patterns on the topic. It gives the reader an idea about the latest trends under your research paradigm. Also, the reader gets an idea of where there is a lack and gap in the research you will address. The introduction section is important as it sets the tone for the rest of your written piece.

The Body of Literature Review Chapter

The body of the literature review chapter is the most important part of the literature review. It shows your understanding of the research topic. This section will present, explore, evaluate, and synthesise the existing knowledge on the research topic. A review of the literature indicates that you can identify, analyse and synthesise the previous studies. An important point to note here is that you must refer to the existing literature chronologically (Paul and Criado, 2020).

The body starts with defining the phenomenon under discussion. Define it, provide different views on the definition and then explain your take on it. Once the phenomenon is defined, go for the theoretical underpinnings for your variables. Theoretical underpinning is important for two reasons. First, it gives the reader an idea about your take on the phenomenon. In simple words, the reader will know the dimension of the topic you aim to undertake in the study. Broadly speaking, a literature review structure can be shaped up in different ways (Asmussen and Møller, 2019).

It refers to the three organising methods or approaches of literature review, which are chronological, thematic and methodological. The chronological approach allows exploring the trends and development in the field under discussion. This approach discusses the development in the relevant field as it happened over a period of time in the past. It allows for the reader to understand the progress over time and the lack in the literature which your study can fill.

The thematic approach discusses the previous studies on the topic according to different themes. By discussing with a cheap essay writing service company, the literature in themes allows highlighting different dimensions of the research topic. As far as the methodological approach is concerned, it allows the evaluation of different methodologies which are used in the previous studies. It is also referred to as the empirical evidence in the literature. Thus, try and find the best possible organisation approach for your literature review chapter. It is understandable that different fields of research may seem to find a different literature review organising approach.

The Conclusion of Literature Review

Your conclusion section should be about wrapping up the discussion or previous studies. In most studies, the concluding section involves developing a hypothesis. Most quantitative studies use the conclusion section to wrap up the theoretical underpinnings and the empirical evidence and move toward the hypothesis development. The hypothesis of your study can only be developed by pulling all the pieces together from the rest of the literature review. In this section, present the theoretical underpinnings of your study. Discuss key findings and highlight the research gap. These aspects help in developing a conceptual framework. A conceptual framework provides a link between the different variables of your study under discussion. The relationship between the variables builds upon the foundation of theoretical underpinnings. The conceptual framework leads to the development of the hypothesis in the study. A hypothesis is a statement regarding the relationship depicted by the conceptual framework. The hypothesis statement is tested using the devised methodology in the research. Thus, the conclusion section consists of key findings, conceptual framework and hypothesis development.

This article highlights the objectives of a literature review chapter. Besides, a brief guideline on the structure of the literature review is provided here. This outline indicates the content of the three sections of the literature review.


Paul, J. and Criado, A.R., 2020. The art of writing literature review: What do we know and what do we need to know?. International Business Review, 29(4), p.101717.

Asmussen, C.B. and Møller, C., 2019. Smart literature review: a practical topic modelling approach to exploratory literature review. Journal of Big Data, 6(1), pp.1-18.

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