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Humanities theses are generally divided into chapters which each deal with an aspect of the research problem.There is usually also a short literature review in the introduction, to situate and justify the study, but often further appropriate research literature is integrated into each chapter.
Rather, it should include the key sources related to the main debates, trends and gaps in your research area.
Even if you’re in the early stages of your research and just beginning to conduct a literature review, it’s useful to consider the eventual role that your review will play within your thesis and the way it functions to orient your readers.
In essence, a literature review identifies, evaluates and synthesises the relevant literature within a particular field of research.
It illuminates how knowledge has evolved within the field, highlighting what has already been done, what is generally accepted, what is emerging and what is the current state of thinking on the topic.
Conducting a literature review is an ongoing, non-linear, and iterative process.“Your literature review will inform your question, theory, and methods, and your question, theory, and methods will help set the parameters of your literature review.
This is a cyclical process.” (O’Leary 2010, p.83)It is usually one of the first tasks that graduate research students undertake, and one of the last to be completed.Literature refers to a collection of published information/materials on a particular area of research or topic, such as books and journal articles of academic value.However, your literature review does not need to be inclusive of every article and book that has been written on your topic because that will be too broad.You can see an example of where literature is dealt with in the annotated humanities example on the Thesis structure page.In disciplines which use footnotes for referencing, some of the literature analysis is carried on in the footnotes, in parallel to the main argument in the text above, as can be seen in the example below, from a history thesis.In particular, scholars have focused on the abstract, speculative aspects of predestination rather than on the body of doctrine and moral instruction that it involved.The study of predestination very much revolves around attempting to define the concept for a modern audience, or defining it narrowly regarding one particular theological viewpoint (such as Aquinas or Calvin).A literature review written in the early stages of research is likely to change because you need to review and revise it from time to time and ensure it is up to date.You will probably find yourself engaging with the literature in different ways at different stages of your research.You will also need to revisit your literature review in the final stages of your research to relate your own findings to what other scholars have previously found in your area.At this stage you may need to explore fields that were not included in your preliminary review.