A masters dissertation needs students to make more effort in writing and research than Bachelor’s thesis. The only difference between the master and Bachelor’s thesis is the workload. To draft the former, a student needs to pay more attention to aspects necessary to strive for originality, reliability, and validity of facts and figures—furthermore, another important difference between the two lies in the guidelines for writing a good literature review. Inconsistency in writing and less critical evaluation is somewhat acceptable in a bachelor’s level thesis. Still, for a Masters dissertation, the literature review needs students to follow a different set of rules. This article is all about guiding students about the rules and ways to draft a literature review in a master’s thesis:

1. Literature review- a brief introduction:

A literature review is the classification and evaluation of the latest trends or research on a topic of interest. It is a method that helps a novice researcher know how all important terms are related to a topic. In writing a literature review, the prime duty of a researcher is to tell readers what work has been done previously on a topic and what shortcomings of the previous findings need to be overcome in the future. Furthermore, a literature review must have a unique title, research objectives, problem or issue to be explored, and thesis statement. Additionally, a literature review for a Masters dissertation must not be a set summary of literature or a descriptive list of material available. It must be an overview, a summary, and a complete evaluation of the provided information. In case of any confusion, hire a masters dissertation writing service.

2. The main reason for adding literature review in the Master’s dissertation:

At Masters’s level, a student must know the reasons for adding a literature review to the dissertation. 

  •  To compile and analyse the published literature on a topic of interest in the most critical manner.
  • Add a list of previous work to remind what a dissertation must need to be explained to avoid replications.
  • To identify the research gap, a current study needs to be close.
  • To allow researchers to measure the validity of all available choices before selecting a particular one.

3. Steps to writing a literature review:

A literature review can be presented in the form of classification, a comparison, a précis, and a critical analysis of the material that a reader needs to understand the exact nature of a current study. The following are some steps that can help a master’s student to draft a good literature review for a dissertation:

Step # 1: An initial overlook of the literature:

The first step in the literature review writing process is to make a library of all pieces of literature that a researcher gets after the initial search. After making a library based on an initial understanding of the topic, the next step must be to make a search strategy and inclusion and exclusion criteria list. The potential keywords are also important for literature selection for a study.

Step # 2:  Formulation of hypotheses, aims and objectives, and research questions:

Research questions aim to ask about the possible relationship between the identified variables. Likewise, hypotheses aim to predict the interdependence of one variable over others, and aims or objectives are the ultimate goals that research must struggle to achieve by using the best possible practices. It is up to the research’s main idea and researcher choice to decide on whether the foundation of a Masters dissertation should lie in testing the hypothesis or answering the research question. Furthermore, the research question or hypothesis is important to guide in-depth literature research.    

Step #3: Review and reading of the literature

The in-depth literature search guides students in deciding what to add or which piece of information may decrease the overall quality of a review. The peer-viewed journals, the difference between facts or opinions, the quality of the information provided, and the reliability of the selected source are vital for the final selection of literature for a Masters dissertation.  

Steps # 4: Organising the literature to bring clarity:

The last step in the literature review writing process is to organise the selected literature review so that the reader can read it in one sitting. Critical evaluation, transitional words/phrases/sentences, and the practice of linking literature with the goals of a current study are effective ways to maintain continuity in the information obtained from a different piece of literature.   

4. Things vital to draft literature review for masters level:

A literature review in the Masters dissertation must consist of three important parts: introduction, body, and conclusion, without definite heads.

4.1. Introduction:

 The introduction part of the literature review must contain a clear definition of the topic and an appropriate reason for reviewing the literature. The scope of relevant or related literature, prediction of possible outcomes of the general findings, and a thesis statement containing a list of all key points must also be a part of the introductory section of the literature review in the Masters dissertation.  

4.2. Body:

The literature review’s body is divided into different body paragraphs, each introducing a different piece of literature. The most important way to organise different body paragraphs is to take into account either general to specific or specific to the general approach of writing. The addition of the point showing how a piece of literature resembles the current work is also important for master’s students.

4.3. Conclusion:

Like the conclusion of other writing tasks, the conclusion of the literature review must also contain a summary of all key points in the most general way. Furthermore, identifying the literature gaps, expected setbacks, and future perspectives are essential components of the conclusion section of the literature review.

Final thoughts:

A literature review is the lengthiest part of a Masters dissertation that at least needs three to six months for accomplishment. The student’s commitment and persistence are major factors contributing to the overall success of a literature review. The literature review writing guidelines mentioned in this article are effective enough to produce a master-level review, even at the first attempt.