Do you remember writing book reviews on Enid Blyton’s works in middle school? You’d better if you chose English Lit as a major….but even if you don’t, fear not! For I am here to guide you through this. Fair warning, though…this is a bit of a step-up from a book review. Okay, maybe more than a bit….alright, this is MILES above that. But we’re going to simplify it.
Table of Contents
I Understand You’re Tired, But No, It’s Not A Summary
Ah, thesis. What a fun time of the year, where all you wanna do is curl up in a ball and lay in the fetal position until you graduate. Unfortunately, we cannot do that. We all want to believe that it doesn’t require the amount of effort it actually does, but a Literature review requires an annoyingly large amount of reading and research, as you can tell from the several online thesis writing articles you must’ve gone through by now. Let’s break it down into sections so the process is more organized and less tedious. Let me share with you my step-by-step guide to analyzing and then composing a good quality Literature review.
Decide. You must pick a topic that your heart and mind are set on, otherwise you’re just signing up for a pre-deadline panic attack. To do this, you must start exploring early. Read everything you find on a potential topic. Make sure to pick something which you truly find interesting, because as mentioned earlier, the process is long and you’ll be committing to whatever topic you choose. Make it something you wouldn’t mind spending day and night studying about. Here are a few tips
- Try to make it something you can do your final M.Ed. project on. It’ll help lessen the workload
- Consider your audience – while it should be something that interests you, you can’t bore your audience
- Consider your strengths and take advantage of them
- Focus on keeping the work original
Do you understand exactly what you will be working on for the next several months? Identifying what type of literature you’ll be working on is extremely important. It is the most important thing before beginning to plan the rest of your project. Search online databases. Learn about them. Acquaint yourself with them. A descriptor would be really helpful since it will cater to your needs according to how you’ve previously worked. This is the stage where you can redefine your topic if needed. Don’t worry if things feel out of place. Make changes as you go. Keep in mind the following:
- Context is very important, so make sure to include classic studies and theorists as part of your initial search
- Redefine your topic as per the requirements
- Connect the different sources you’ve chosen, form a relationship between them
This is the part where you make your research make sense. Analysis will bring together all the work you’ve done so far, so pay close attention to this.
Go through the articles you’ve chosen so far. Read them. Understand them.
Divide your chosen articles into categories to make it easier to pick them out when you’re writing the actual content of your thesis.
- Take Notes
Pretend as if you’re writing an article for publication. Jot down the most important points in a way that is easily comprehensible, despite your exhaustion from the constant work.
- Decide on an appropriate format
- Define the most important terms
- Recognize patterns among different sources. You’ll notice certain things repeating, this may be seen as kind of a fact-check.
- Do not deviate from your original topic. With the amount of research material you will have, it will be very easy to get side tracked from your main topic.
We must summarize! Not only will it make your work easily understandable, but it will create a concise format for you to write the final product with much more ease and efficiency. After all, who doesn’t like to be organized? Pick out the most important sections from your analysis and jot them down in sequence. You’ll notice the process will be simplified to a great extent, resulting in a lesser number of stressful breakdowns. Trust me; you’ll thank me for this later.
Writing the review in a logical manner is very important. Establish the importance of your chosen topic, make them love it as much as you do!
- Make sure to mention what information comes from which source. Keep the research findings separate.
- When citing a landmark study or something classic, make sure to make the distinction
- Make sure to use subheadings and appropriate transitions for your arguments!
- Give the review some closure. Write a coherent conclusion, which depends on several factors, one of which being why you wrote the review and why you chose that specific topic for it.
Try to write a clear and concise overview of your review to give the audience a summary of what they might read. This will make it easier to skim through the work without having to read every single word.
Sonia Khan is a writer and entrepreneur from Karachi, Pakistan. She did her Honors in English Literature and got a distinction, after which she began her career as initially a lecturer and then a thesis advisor. She offers a business plan service on her website, and likes to occupy her free time writing poetry.