What is meant by review of literature?Need for thesis work

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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If you will refer to some of the theses and dissertations at your library, you will see that all of them contain a section titled "Review of the Literature." This section is supposed to cover all of the pertinent books, articles, and other printed material that is applicable to the question being studied and analyzed by the thesis or dissertation. It would also include previously published theses and dissertations, if applicable. Writing a Review of the Literature is probably the hardest part of writing a thesis or dissertation because it requires considerable research. You would be wise to study examples in your library and to learn about the reference books in the library that can guide you to the pertinent published literature. The reference librarian can also be of great help to you--but you ought to read a number of "Reviews of the Literature" in bound copies of theses and dissertations before you get involved in doing the literature research for your own project. You will see that the works discussed in a Review of the Literature are identified in detail in footnotes or endnotes, as well as in the Bibliography which is usually the very last section of the thesis or dissertation. The easiest way to get through your own project is to use others as models.

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