Incorporating the literature review


Writing a literature review. Incorporating your literature review into the whole thesis. Writing in a logical and coherent
fashion is one of the most challenging aspects of writing a literature review. You will need to take a lot of different ideas and wrestle them into shape. One of the decisions you will have to make is where your lit review will sit in your overall thesis structure. The default choice across disciplines is
devoting chapter two to the literature review. Here we have three examples. One from business, another one from education, and a third one from engineering. But you may find that this structure does not suit your particular purposes. Another option is including your
literature review in your introductory chapter. This is a history thesis about
wonder and skepticism in the Middle Ages. From the table of contents it is not
clear where the lit review sits. But if we look at the introduction in more detail, we can see that the writer is reviewing the literature in this chapter. These are topic sentences – the first sentence of a paragraph – from the introduction. See how the views of philosophers and scholars are introduced. In the first sentence, the first element is ‘the recognition’. This could be rephrased as ‘scholars have long recognised’, but the writer has chosen to foreground the idea, rather than the scholars. This orientation changes in the following paragraphs, where scholars are placed center stage. The point is that even how you choose to begin your sentences has an impact on the structure of your text. We will explain this in more detail in the next video about analytical frameworks. The third option for your lit review is to
spread it over several chapters. Again, this is not evident from the table of contents. Let’s look at the thesis outline in the introduction. You can hit the spacebar now to pause the video. We can see that the literature is reviewed in chapters 1, 2 & 3. These would most likely be appropriate if your thesis covers a number of separate but related topics that you want to deal with in turn. So, to summarise: The most frequent option is to have the literature reviews in chapter two in your thesis. Alternatively, it can be embedded in the introduction. Sometimes, this chapter is called ‘background’. Or, it could be spread over several chapters

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