A Comprehensive List Of Strategies To Plan Literature Review For Your Dissertation

Dissertation Literature Review
There are a few words that strike fear in the heart of students, and literature review is one of them. The sound of this word can be daunting for students. It’s not due to its difficult pronunciation and spelling, but due to the hard work that it requires. Planning and writing a literature review is the most challenging section of a dissertation. This is because it requires tons of knowledge and material for writing a good review.

We know that this aspect requires a lot of knowledge. And the problem here is that most of the time, students are short on time, and can’t read hundreds of papers. In such circumstances, perfect planning can save the students from failure. This article by top writers of a dissertation writing service UK will discuss some of the top strategies that students can follow in terms of planning the literature review. But before going into strategy, let’s define literature review and describe its importance within a dissertation.

What is a Literature Review?

A literature review is the survey of current knowledge pertaining to a particular field. This chapter of a dissertation overviews the prominent research trends within a field. It also assesses overall strengths, and weaknesses in the existing knowledge. While writing a dissertation, a researcher has to go through tons of literature. But to simply write without planning will give you nothing. Thus, prior planning is something that holds great significance.

A literature review holds immense importance in the aspect of a dissertation. Because it adds value to originality of the research these, and many other ways;
  • Establishes a consistency in the knowledge, and relevance of existing literature to the research.
  • The researcher finds the research gaps and explores them further, which adds value to a particular field of study.
  • It justifies the research, and helps in the development of research questions.

Strategies to Plan a Literature Review

A literature review is not an ordinary thing. This is why students must take it as a project. Like every project needs proper planning and management, so does the domain of review. For massive writings like literature reviews, the more you plan, the better your writing will be. It is the most straightforward strategy of all. A brief description of other strategies is as follows;

Take Notes While Studying

Literature review requires you to read a lot of research that previously happened in the field. But how can one remember all the data and findings of a research paper? This is definitely impossible without taking notes. Believe me when I say that the review chapter is not something you can complete a night before it’s due. Or even the week before its deadline. Because it demands continuous reading, and hard work from your end. Continuous reading alone won’t do any good within this context. The notes or using some kind of content management system can help you in getting over this. Thus, before writing, you need to make sure that you have some good notes to work with. The usage of notes will make your work a lot easier.

Colour Coding the Notes

While planning a good literature review, a colour coding scheme can be of great assistance. This is where your notes will come in handy. Summarising the key sources, and finding them with colours always keeps you one step ahead. But this doesn’t mean that you only need to use colour pencils for this. You can also use electronic tools, such as Trello, or Pdf editors.

Colour coding the relevant information will make your work easy. Through this strategic application at the writing stage, you won’t need to worry about finding the scattered sources on your table. Everything will be pre-arranged, and set for you to work on.

Look for Patterns

You made your notes and colour coded them. What’s next? In the next phase, you’ll analyse the hidden patterns in those notes. You’ll need to look at what the researchers are doing, and how they’re carrying out different research activities as well. Reading notes will allow you to determine the patterns present in this domain. They will tell you that this research methodology, and researcher are the same.

You can also borrow methodology from one of the researcher’s findings that match your area of study. Thus, finding patterns in the research will allow you to look at the literature in a different light. In the end, this close analysis will help you in effectively composing a perfect literature review.

Organise the Literature

After finding patterns, the following step relates to organising the research, and making groups based on some factors. The elements of grouping depend on the researcher. The researcher can organise research based on the chronological order of publication dates, or use other techniques as well. The aspect of grouping can help you a lot while writing the actual review. Through this application you won’t have to go back, again and again, to check the information. As all the information will be before you ready-made.

Another technique for organising can be based on using a similar methodology within the research. It doesn’t matter which technique you employ. Because the objective is to organise the literature, and to ensure that this is achieved as well.

Assessing Grouping

Now is the time to look at what you’ve got after grouping literature. There should be multiple resources under each category of grouping. If you don’t have enough sources, it is time to look for some more. This is the planning stage, and you can look for more sources on the internet during this phase if needed. Because once you start composing the draft of your literature review, you won’t find time for searching. After gathering enough sources, it’s finally time to write the review. The planning stage has ended at this point.


Planning a literature review is a really daunting, and tiring task. It will consume much of your time and energy in the aspect of writing a dissertation. Believe me, you can’t finish writing it a night before the submission. Thus, devising a necessary plan before writing holds much importance. The strategies mentioned in this guide are the tested strategies. I assure you that you will develop a perfect piece of writing if you follow them. There are some other techniques of planning available on the internet as well. If you wish, you can also check them out.

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