Why literature review is important for dissertations?

The literature review forms the ‘theoretical background’ to the rest of the work, and always comes before the ‘analysis’. It contains relevant information that you will refer to again in the analysis. So, you need to describe and evaluate theories and research (relevant to the chosen PM article) from journal articles and books in a way that provides a critical overview and introduction to the topic area. Think of it as a mini essay on the topic area. Obviously you have to be selective about what you include because the word count is limited. Be concise, providing just enough description to show that you understand the concepts you are using. Do try to find and include evaluations/critiques of theories (e.g. there are many criticisms of key motivation theories).

You should be reading journal articles as part of your research, and it’s a very good idea to look carefully at how these are written – most studies start with a literature review / theoretical background (ignore stuff about research questions / hypotheses – you don’t need to worry about that for this coursework). Look at how research and theory are synthesised and evaluated to provide a relevant introduction to the study.

Next, the analysis section is the first point at which you explain how the key points in the article are underpinned by / based on the theories and research you have discussed in the literature review (you should not mention the ‘issues’/recommendations prior to this section). Here you need to carefully de-construct the recommendation/issue – what exactly is it saying, and why? What theoretical justification / evidence is there to support making such a recommendation? Explain all of this as fully as possible. It’s important to show us that you a) understand the theory and b) can clearly show how theory and research relates to/informs practical situations and recommendations.

2016-06-04T16:57:26+00:00 Academic Skills|