Tips for Doing the Literature Review Right
I have finished and submitted my literature review. it’s been an interesting journey, a combination of varied emotions, stress and a whole lot of procrastination.
After summing up the entire process, I would tell you few most important things that I learnt while working over it:
- Make plans but don’t live with them: It is a good idea to plan but do not stick to your plans that hard that in the process you are not able to adapt to the required change. A literature review is much more than just a couple of thousand words. It’s rather a process that includes reading, exploring, writing and editing in the last. For me, my final Literature Review was completely different from the first few plans that I made for myself and it is not for me but would be the same for you so don’t get attached to your plans.
- Give yourself some leverage on time: I expected from myself and thought I would be done with my review in just a few weeks. But I could hardly stick to my timelines and this not just because I procrastinated but it is because the process is more challenging and was beyond my anticipated difficulty. Believe in the beginning that this is going to take time and quality work would only come when you devote sufficient time to it.
- Be vocal to check your work: This technique has always worked for me while checking my work. Read aloud and you will not miss even the smallest of errors which we may skip if we read in our mind. The sentence framing and other grammatical errors come to light and can be corrected if one reads aloud the content. Sometimes, when I become out of breath while reading a sentence, it becomes clear that it is a very long sentence.
- Give yourself a break before getting onto editing: after finishing the writing part, it is always better to take a break and give you some respite before jumping onto editing straight away. Sometimes even just a day off is of great help as it reprieves and recharges you, thus making the task look much easier.
- Club tasks together to break the monotony: I made a mistake while writing my literature review and that was that I did nothing else alongside it. With so much of it taking over my whole day and week, I started to despise it. Don’t let it happen to you. This feeling leads to further problems such as procrastination being the key one.
- Forever, keep faith in self: keeping your own spirits high is necessary to stay away from more complicated problems such as the imposter syndrome. We all know a lot more than we actually think, remember this and sail through this process and escalate one step further in your journey for PhD.
If I have been able to do it, I am sure even you can do it. If you are trailing through this phase, I hope these tips would be of aid to you. Happy writing!