Current Situation: Information necessary to understand the topic or focus of the literature review.
When writing your thesis imagine you’re telling a story. You start with the background and general area of the study and slowly progress towards the specific questions you are going to address. You then explain your methods, continually referring back to how these methods will answer the questions you want to address. In your results, show how your analyses answered your questions. Finally in the discussion show how your results fit within the published literature and then talk more broadly about what they mean for the subject area. Your questions and aims need to be clear throughout so make sure they are linked together.
Writing a thesis allows students to pursue an individualized course of study and create a lasting work of scholarship, acquiring new research and communication skills en route. A thesis is not required for all Literature majors, but is highly recommended for those considering graduate-level study in the humanities. The thesis is also appropriate for self-directed majors who wish to pursue a more specific topic in more depth than is possible through classwork alone. Students who undertake a thesis should be prepared to work independently and intensively on the project throughout the academic year. They receive substantial direction and rigorous criticism from their faculty readers, and present their work to the Literature community at the end of the process. A thesis demonstrates its author’s commitment and mastery of literary study.
Literature at MIT | Writing a Thesis in Literature
The length of the literature review is generally in direct proportion to the complexityof the research question and outcomes as they are represented in thepublished literature. How do you gauge this? Let the title be yourguide!The introduction to a research report accomplishes two goals: • the reader by providinginformation from the research literature necessary to understanding theproject; • the reader that the researchquestion is valid by providing the gap in the literature.A literature review can be just a simple summary of the sources, but it usually has an organizational pattern and combines both summary and synthesis. A summary is a recap of the important information of the source, but a synthesis is a re-organization, or a reshuffling, of that information. It might give a new interpretation of old material or combine new with old interpretations. Or it might trace the intellectual progression of the field, including major debates. And depending on the situation, the literature review may evaluate the sources and advise the reader on the most pertinent or relevant.The main focus of an academic research paper is to develop a new argument, and a research paper will contain a literature review as one of its parts. In a research paper, you use the literature as a foundation and as support for a new insight that you contribute. The focus of a literature review, however, is to summarize and synthesize the arguments and ideas of others without adding new contributions.