Literature Review

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A peer-reviewed electronic journal. Copyright is retained by the first or sole author, who grants right of first publication to the Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation. Permission is granted to distribute this article for nonprofit, educational purposes if it is copied in its entirety and the journal is credited. Volume 14, Number 13, June 2009 ISSN 1531-7714 A Guide to Writing the Dissertation Literature Review Justus J. Randolph Walden University Writing a faulty literature review is one of many ways to derail a dissertation. This article summarizes some pivotal information on how to write a high-quality dissertation literature review. It begins with a discussion of the purposes of a review, presents taxonomy of…show more content…
Finally, with some modification, the literature review is a “legitimate and publishable scholarly document” (LeCompte & colleagues, 2003, p. 124). Apart from the above reasons for writing a review (i.e., proof of knowledge, a publishable document, and the identification of a research family), the scientific reasons for conducting a literature review are many. Gall, Borg, and Gall (1996) argue that the literature review plays a role in: • • • • • • delimiting the research problem, seeking new lines of inquiry, avoiding fruitless approaches, gaining methodological insights, identifying recommendations for further research, and seeking support for grounded theory. • • Page 2 identifying the main methodologies and research techniques that have been used, and placing the research in a historical context to show familiarity with state-of-the-art developments. (p. 27) Another purpose for writing a literature review not mentioned above is that it provides a framework for relating new findings to previous findings in the discussion section of a dissertation. Without establishing the state of the previous research, it is impossible to establish how the new research advances the previous research. Taxonomy of Literature Reviews An effective method to begin planning a research review is to consider where the proposed review fits into Cooper’s (1988) Taxonomy of
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