Literature review chapter of your dissertation is written in a logical sequence that starts from a more general and broader review of the topic area which then progressively becomes more and more specific as the area gets narrow down till it eventually funnels into your formal articulation of the problem statement. The formalism of terminology used in the problem statement and the thesis statement requires precise definitions in the literature review that also encapsulates the research questions underpinning your research work. This exposition of the literature review is much different from the chaotic process through which you may have arrived at the articulation of your problem statement and thesis statement which is often being tweaked till the very last. It is at the very end that you realize the actual contribution you have made the significance of your research.
- Literature review differentates a PhD dissertation from an MS dissertation. It is not a listing but a synthesis
- It explains why your problem statement exists
- It explains why it is important for the problem to be solved.
- It places your problem statement in the context of the existing literature.
- It narrates in a story form using a logical sequence how you have drilled down to the problem statement.
- It identifies during this drill down process all the essential terms used to define the problem formally in the problem statement and its solution, the thesis statement.
- It analyzes the existing literature from the perspective of how it leads to your problem statement.
- It develops all the essential “machinery” required to explain your contribution, its significance and the methodology that you would follow. That is, later chapters should not look like literature review.
- It is not written in the form or sequence in which you read the research papers. It is written in a form which makes the reader understands the problem.
- It must refer to only those papers that you have read. Second hand references from paper surveyed in research papers is unethical and unworthy of being part of the PhD literature review.
- It is digestion of the food into enzymes (compounds) where the original papers (reactants) have lost their physical properties.
- Digestion is in the form of tables or matrices where you decide what the column headings are and what the row headings are. Although row and column headings can be seen from other literature but their selection indicates the level of your digestion. The contents of the cell also indicate your digestion.
[Work in Process]
- Motivation: Why PhD?
What is PhD?
- What does it Mean to Have a PhD: Myths of Specialization and Departmental Expertise
- What is the Difference between MS/MPhil Research and PhD Research
- Why PhD is Difficult to Complete and Why there are so many ABDs and PhD Dropouts
- How Progress of Research is related to the Mood and Psychology of a PhD Student
Starting with your PhD
- How to Read a Research Paper and Extract Problem Statement and Thesis Statement
- How Literature Review of a PhD Dissertation Presents the State of the Art: Synthesis vs Listing
- What is a Problem Statement and its role in MS-PhD Research
- What is a Thesis Statement and its Role in PhD-MS Research
- What is meant by Rigor of PhD Research
- Beauty is Our Business – Mathematics, Excellence and the Great Dijkstra
- Dynamic Role of Abstract in Guiding the Flow of Writing of a PhD Dissertation
- Conclusion vs Assumption in Research Writing- Flipping the Thread of Argument in your PhD Thesis
- PhD is about Pursuit of Excellence. Pursuit of Excellence vs Guzara: How to teach excellence through everyday examples
- Myth: Impact Factor Measures Real Impact
- Pursuit of Excellence vs Guzara: How to teach excellence through everyday examples
- Discerning the Forest from the Trees – The Insights from my PhD Supervisor JC Browne
- A Formula is Worth a Thousand Pictures: Dijkstra vs Buzan’s Mind-Maps
- Fairness in Grading: A Lesson by the Great Dijkstra
- Lesser known dimensions of US Universities – Archives of history and literature