Writing up the review
The review should not be a series of disconnected abstracts or summaries of the sources you have studied in your reading. It should, rather, provide a coherent analysis of the subject area, which draws on and is supported by the literature. You need, then, to establish a view of the subject - your argument - within which you can locate the issue or problem of the dissertation. One approach may be to identify themes within the literature, and then to compare the way in which different authors approach the same theme. You could structure your review by setting out the different views about each theme, leading on to a comparative analysis and conclusions, and finally relating it to the topic of your dissertation. Points to consider in finalising the review include:
¨ ensure that it begins with a clear introductory statement of the purpose and aims of the review, and ends with a summary and/or conclusions which are supported by the review itself;
¨ ensure that there is depth to the critical analysis of the literature and the themes and arguments you have identified;
¨ ensure that you support your arguments by appropriate reference to the literature;
¨ strike a balance between too short a review which lacks depth and breadth, and too long a review which is unwieldy and difficult to structure effectively - you cannot read everything, so think about when to stop;
¨ don't make it too complex - simplify discussion, structure the review clearly and perhaps include interim summaries to draw themes together;
¨ but on the other hand do not make it too simple - it should not be purely descriptive, but seek to have challenging discussion, comparison and analysis.