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How To write A dissertation literature Review?

Review section description


Overview of the Thesis “Introduction”
Less than 2 pages long.
First paragraph:

  • Stated overall objective of thesis.
  • Defined introduced term.
  • Provided broad motivation for interest in the area.
  • Introduced the sections of the thesis which would address overall objective.

Next four paragraphs described the contents and purpose of each section of the thesis.

“Whereas the legal system assumes that the testimony given by eyewitnesses should be independent of one another (ref.), this is frequently not the case. … Because eyewitness information is often conveyed from one witness to another through discussion, it is important to ascertain the effects of co-witness information on the validity of eyewitness testimony. To address this aim, …”

Ch. 1. Literature Review of Relevant Research

The overall goals of this chapter were firstly to establish the significance of the general field of study, then identify a place where a new contribution could be made. The bulk of the chapter was on critically evaluating the different methodologies used in this field so as to identify the appropriate approach for investigating the research question(s).

1. Establishes research territory.

1. “Approximately 77, 000 individuals are arrested in the United States each year based primarily on eyewitness testimony (ref.). … Given the pivotal role that eyewitness testimony plays in some trials, it is important to establish whether or not the jury’s faith in this testimony is warranted.”

2. Establishes significance of territory.

2. “One study has shown that eyewitness errors are the most common cause of false convictions (ref.). Almost all innocent individuals exonerated by DNA evidence had been convicted primarily as a result of erroneous eyewitness evidence (ref.) Consequently, a great deal of research has focussed on the unreliability of eyewitness testimony (refs.).”

3. Establishes research niche. (Briefly reviews what has been found, and then identifies a gap. Discusses what has been found, but points out inconsistency of results.)

3. “The current thesis examines the third way that postevent misinformation may be encountered: through other witnesses. This area has been surprisingly neglected until recently, as the majority of the literature on eyewitness testimony has focussed on the effect of questions and media reports containing misleading information.”

4. Motivates next part of literature review.

4. “Yarmey and Morris (1998) suggest that, ‘The capricious results among these investigations are probably due to methodological differences and variability in subject matter’ (p. 1638). To appreciate the effects of co-witness information on eyewitness reports, we must examine, in detail, the different methodologies that have been used to investigate this topic.”

5. Further justifies the need to investigate the impact of social influences on memory.

5. “Traditionally, researchers in memory have aimed to keep procedures free from contamination, such as other people’s memories (ref.). However, such a narrow focus may not fully explain how people remember (ref.). Because such ‘contamination’ is common to memory, understanding its effects enables greater knowledge of memory itself (ref.). … Therefore, instead of intentionally avoiding the social aspects of memory, they should be explored in their own right.”

6. Reviews the chronological development of research in this area (an approach that is useful at times, but not always the best). Discusses one key paper at a time by describing its methods and key findings, but then identifies weaknesses in the method and/or limitations in the findings. Then discusses how the next researchers tried to address these problems.

6. “While the above studies provide valuable information regarding the social aspects of memory, caution needs to be exercised before applying these results to the judicial area. One should not assume the results obtained from studies using stories and word lists as stimuli can be generalised to forensic contexts.” … “That is, the differences found between individuals and groups could simply be due to the participants giving their reports for a second time …” … “A limitation of this research on collaborative memory is that the memory of groups is compared with that of individuals. … group performance should not be compared with individual performance but rather with ‘nominal groups’ comprised of pooled, non-redundant data from the same number of people tested individually.”

7. Repeats 6 for another sub-topic.


8. Overall conclusion / summary which indicated why she was going to use a particular methodological approach to her research.

8. “… Most research involving the Experimentally Induced Information methodology seeks to identify the influence of misinformation presented by one witness to another, and therefore the assumption is made that discussion between witnesses is a detrimental process. It may therefore be advantageous to also investigate the effects of co-witness information using Natural Discussion Groups as this methodology has high ecological validity. However, few studies have used this methodology, and those that have, have yielded mixed findings. Therefore, future investigation using the Natural Discussion Group methodology would be helpful to better understand the effects of discussion on memory.”

Ch. 2. Theoretical Explanations of Memory Conformity

1. Establishes a reason for this chapter and states the purpose.

1. “While the misinformation effect is a well-established phenomenon, ‘what remains in dispute is the nature of a satisfactory theoretical explanation’ (ref.). … Therefore, in order to understand why memory conformity occurs, we must draw from both cognitive research on memory and...

How to write a literature Review - Starting a literature
How to write a literature Review - Starting a literature ...
How To Write a Literature Review - Part 2 - Am I Done?
How To Write a Literature Review - Part 2 - Am I Done?
How to write a literature review Part 3
How to write a literature review Part 3
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