How To Set Up Chapter 2 in Your Dissertation: The Review of Literature In 5 Easy Steps

It has been my experience that many students ask for cheap dissertation help only after they have lost up to a year of time while working on their dissertation Chapter 2, the Review of the Literature. Why? Because in writing a doctoral dissertation, any interesting subject has multiple sub-topics, each of which is equally interesting. The branches can seem endless. The difficult challenge is that at the end of the writing not all of them will lead where they need to go – to directly and explicitly back up their research study as proposed in Chapter 3. Here’s the way you could accomplish writing chapter 2 in a mere 5 easy steps.

Step 1. There is no way to get around it, you have to do a lot of reading to finish a lit review. Most universities will require at least 75 peer-reviewed articles and books of primary sources to support this chapter alone. The important time saver will be to take good notes in reference software such as EndNote as you read. Be sure to watch for topics that are relevant to what you want to study, as these become your chapter subheadings. For instance if your dissertation is on change management in business, your subtopics might include: organizational development, transition processes, complexity theory, management strategies in crisis, etc. That is really crucial since at the end of your reading you will need to re-sort what you have read into these subtopics. Unless you do this step, you may be faced with re reading or remembering everything before you are ready to write.

Step 2. Once you have your reading done (and you know that you have finished when everything you read tells you something you have heard before), then you are ready to start your paper or chapter. If you are writing a dissertation then sample headings can be found at: It’s also wise to look at published documents and see what subheadings those authors used. This will give you a solid overview of where you are going with this writing. This is usually a crucial step that needs your full attention. Do it in this way: Look up sample headings and incorporate them in the outline you are establishing for your writing. Merge, rewrite or shift them around as suits your topic. The reason why is that if you do not| plot all that is required by this chapter you are likely to leave something out.

Step 3. Start to write by opening up your reference software and reviewing ONLY those articles stashed under the subheading you are writing to. Write to one subtopic at a time, merging what all the authors said into one coherent whole and then going back and citing the specific thoughts that came from one author. The rest of the merged ideas you should attribute to a group citation that includes authors that contributed to the ideas within this section. What we are doing here is to move beyond the preliminary style of lit review that is more like a book report. This author said… but this other author said… is a style that will put readers to sleep. Additionally, it is to cite and reference all the authors that are contributing to your ideas whenever possible.

Step 4. I personally recommend that one of your sections outlines your thinking and the literature that has led to your selection of methodology for your research. While you will clarify this further in a dissertation in chapter 3, in the lit review you set the stage for how this set of methods and the theoretical constructs behind it will contribute to a study on this topic. To elaborate on that a little bit, It saves you time and energy in chapter 3 to bring up the experts that recommend these methods in chapter 2.

Step 5. Write it all out. Let it sit for a few days and then go back and edit for grammar and content. One other suggestion, go back after the chapter is done and take out any and all sections that do not correlate 1:1 with topics contained within your actual research as discussed in chapter 3. The purpose of Chapter 2 is to set up the logic and background for Chapter 3 – there must be a direct correlation between them or you will only confuse your readers, and delay your defense.







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