So as I am sure most of you are aware we are in the mist of dissertation season and I am getting as many questions around how to write them, to software issues that some people are using with in there studies. One section that I personally struggled with and I know lots of others are and did struggle with is the literature review. Big reasons for this I feel are, Its the first section you come round to write and starting is defiantly as hard as ensuring you finish. Its not your opinion you have to search around to find papers or blogs that leads to the point you want to make. the concept of arguing against the study you are going to conduct also doesn’t help the flow of words.
Here is a couple of ways I wish I had of thought about when I was writing mine. To start any thing you read at uni record it and catalog it in an excel spreadsheet it will save you stress when you come to write a dissertation. Its so easy to search excel, it will be like your own little library but only with reading that is relevant to you. the other benefit if you are like me and solid on your in text referencing but sloppy at putting the full reference into the bibliography. It means you can go back and find the reference again. One that everyone brushes of as it doesn’t feel important, however, it really helps to do reading outside of the stuff you do for your course work and other assessments work. This reading just expands your knowledge and gives you more of a resource that you can pick on when writing your Lit review.
Your lit review does not only have to contain elements from academic sources, tweets, blogs, newspaper articles are all useful to support your points. A balanced review of literature is what the markers are looking for a large array of relevant sources will be looked on kindly. Read other dissertations, it is something I really recommend. It is such a daunting task to write a dissertation, I really recommend taking some time to read someone you can relate too dissertation. It will give you a really good understanding of the structure a dissertation takes as well as realising it is possible. Also remember that research proposal it contained a load of pointers to where to look for articles to reflect on in your lit review. You have to play it smart not hard.
So where does the debating come in I hear you cry. Well lets strip the structure of the literature review, it really reminds me of the couple of times that I went to my schools debating club. One side of an argument opens the discussion, they outline there main point, then the other side rebuts the point. This goes back and for a little bit then it switches with the other side starting and the first side replying. This for me is exactly the way the LR works I pose one argument with a supporting reference, then I argue against it with a different supporting reference. One point to remember is that more than one person may have written something that agrees with the point you are making so you can use all that info to support what you are saying. Its a really simple way to build up your writing.
I think the big take homes are don’t panic and go back to what you know you will really easily form a quality dissertation.
Hope that helps