How to Conduct a Literature Review

What is a Literature Review?

This article follows on from our article answering the question “What is a literature review?

A literature review is a critical evaluation of existing literature on a particular topic. It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify gaps and inconsistencies in the existing research. Conducting a thorough literature review is an essential step in the research process and can help to ensure that your own research is original and adds to the existing body of knowledge on a topic.

How do I Conduct a Literature Review?

To conduct a literature review, start by defining your research question and identifying key terms and concepts related to your topic. This will help you to focus your search for literature and ensure that you are only considering relevant sources. Next, use a variety of databases and search engines to find sources that address your research question. Be sure to use advanced search techniques to narrow your results and only include sources that are relevant and of high quality.

Once you have a list of potential sources, read through them carefully and take detailed notes. As you read, look for common themes and ideas, as well as any gaps or inconsistencies in the existing research. Use this information to create an outline for your literature review, organizing your sources and ideas into logical sections.


Some tips for conducting a successful literature review include:

  • Start early: Conducting a thorough literature review can take time, so be sure to start the process as early as possible.
  • Be organized: Keep track of your sources and notes using a system that works for you, such as a spreadsheet or a bibliography management tool.
  • Be critical: Don’t just summarize the existing research – instead, evaluate it critically and look for gaps and inconsistencies.
  • Be concise: A literature review should be concise and to the point, so be sure to only include the most relevant and important information.

Further reading

What next?

In the next post we will look at the Dissertation Methodology section.

This post is part of a series of posts about each of the sections of a dissertation. Get access to them all from here:

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