How to Write a Literature Review for Dissertation

A dissertation paper has several sections that present varied content. In this guide, we highlight the literature review, highlighting the details to include in the section, how to present the details, and some measures to take to ensure your dissertation literature review stands out. Keep reading for a better understanding.

What is literature review in dissertation?

When writing academic papers, doing academic research is a must process to ensure you get to content relevant to the topic you are handling.

During the research process, you will use varied scholarly sources to get ideas and content for your academic paper. Now, the literature review is simply a survey of all the sources you’ve used in your paper when doing the research.

Note: the literature review section is often applicable to significant academic papers like a thesis paper, research paper, or dissertation. With other academic papers, citations are always sufficient to present a well-written essay.

Types of literature review

We have varied forms of literature reviews. Choosing a certain literature review style depends on the type of research you are handling. Therefore, the common types of literature reviews include the following:

  • Narrative literature review

A narrative literature review sums up all ideas about the topic and identifies inconsistencies knowledge-wise. Therefore, to use a narrative literature review, you must need a narrowed research topic to focus on. This form of the literature review is also called the traditional literature review style.

  • Systematic literature review

Like the name, this form of literature review highlights the details and timeframes based on how the literature was selected.

  • Scoping literature review

Scoping literature review helps in analyzing the potential scope of the research on a specific subject or topic matter while trying to establish possible gaps in the research.

  • Argumentative literature review

An argumentative literature review simply supports or refutes an argument that is already established in the literature.

  • Integrative literature review

This form of literature review analyzes and synthesizes secondary data on a given research topic in an integrated manner to give room for new perspectives and frameworks about the topic concept. An integrated literature review is mostly applicable when your research involves primary data collection and analysis.

  • Theoretical literature review

This one mainly focuses on the theories regarding an issue that has been developed. Therefore, this style helps establish existing theories and their relationships to the topic in question.

How to write a good literature review for dissertation

Once you know the appropriate style for your literature review, next is to learn how to structure a literature review.

Like any other essay, the literature review takes the same structure, starting from the introduction, the body paragraphs, and finally, a compelling conclusion.

Note: the literature review length usually depends on the nature and requirements of the research. Therefore, it can be shorter or longer. However, a literature review template will have the details described in this section. 

The following is a step-by-step guide on how to do a literature review.

  1. Define the research scope

Before you find sources, make sure you answer all research questions to have a well-defined thesis to help you through the writing process.

  1. Find relevant literature

Use keywords from your topic to find relevant sources from the library or other databases.

  1. Analyze the themes and gaps within your sources

Review your sources while taking notes while posing possible questions regarding the sources.

  1. Create the literature review outline

When you have all your sources and defined the themes and patterns, you now need to create a literature review outline following the literature review structure to simplify the writing process.

  1. Write the literature review

At this point, you have all details in place. Now, follow the structured outline and write a compelling literature review. Remember to format your paper based on the guidelines (APA, MLA, or Chicago).


Have you been struggling, especially when writing the literature review section of a dissertation? With this guide, you will realize how simple it is to write the literature section and make your whole dissertation stand out.

Writing Dissertation Introduction in 11 Easy Steps

Are you almost writing your dissertation? Well, like any other academic paper, a dissertation too has different sections in which the writer has to present the context of the sections in a clear manner. Therefore, this guide focuses on dissertation introduction because an introduction plays a significant role in making your dissertation stand out.

Things to note when writing dissertation introduction

Before we expound on how to write a dissertation introduction, you should note the following details:

How long should a dissertation introduction be?

In dissertation writing, every topic or subject context is unique, with varied requirements. Therefore, how long or how short the dissertation should depend on the basics of the requirements of the topic and the nature of the research.

Details to include when writing introduction for dissertation

When writing the dissertation introduction, make sure you include the hook, highlight the problem of your research, a thesis statement, background on the topic, and an overall overview of the whole paper.

How to write a good dissertation introduction: 11 steps to follow

Before you begin writing the dissertation introduction, you should understand how to start a dissertation introduction and how to conclude the introduction. Therefore, make sure you follow the steps below to come up with a compelling introduction:

1. Define the purpose of the introduction

Start by understanding the purpose of the dissertation introduction to understanding how to structure the intro to bring out meaningful content based on the subject matter of your topic.

2. Hook the reader

Once you understand the purpose of your dissertation introduction, figure out the best technique to use as a way of captivating the reader’s interest in your paper. It is here you can apply a quote, a question, or a statement that aligns with your topic.

3. Introduce the background to the study

Here, you simply describe the context of your project to the reader in detail.

4. State the research questions, objectives, & aims

Next, the reader will need to know the purpose of your research. Therefore, highlight the objectives you want to achieve after doing the research.

5. The research significance

Next, you need to explain to the reader the need to do the research. Why I the topic interesting? What impact will it bring to the world at large? The reader needs to know all these details in the dissertation introduction.

6. Research limitations

Like any other project, you can be sure to encounter several limitations when doing the research. Therefore, include the possible limitations you are likely to encounter when doing the research.

7. The structure

Now, you need to draft a structure or outline that will guide the reader on what to expect throughout your paper. The structure does not only orient the reader but also helps the writer to include all the significant details in the research paper.

8. Writing the dissertation introduction

At this point, you have everything you need for your paper. You can now write a clean introduction for submission.

9. Proofreading

Check for possible typos and errors once you’ve drafted your dissertation introduction.

10. Formatting

Based on the provided dissertation introduction template or structure, you need to format your paper appropriately to ensure your dissertation introduction meets the set criteria.

11. Add references

Finally, every academic paper requires appropriate referencing based on the tutor’s or institute’s guidelines. Therefore, make sure you reference your dissertation introduction to make it complete.  

Pro tips for writing dissertation introduction

The following pro tips will help you when you feel stuck when writing your dissertation introduction:

  • Come up with a compelling hook

When writing a dissertation introduction, you can have all the context you need but don’t know how to begin the writing process. In such a scenario, simply figure out a hook that will match your subject and start the writing process with the hook.

  • Review a dissertation introduction example

You will find many dissertation papers from online platforms, libraries, and other learning resource centers. Be sure to check the best papers to gain your dissertation introduction from it.


There is no doubt that as you advance your career, you will have to write a dissertation at some point. Writing the best dissertation introduction is the key to making your dissertation paper appealing. Using this guide to write a compelling intro for your next dissertation.