How to Write a Literature Review

A literature review is an integral part of most theses, of all lengths and across all disciplines. A literature review offers a critical analysis of ‘the literature’ (the body of work) on any particular topic, via identification, classification, comparison, evaluation and synthesis of existing original (or primary) sources, including books and book chapters, journal articles, theses, conference proceedings, government or industry reports and other relevant resources. Because a literature review does not involve novel research or present new findings, it is considered a secondary rather than a primary source. A literature review may have a number of purposes, including: 1. Identify and collate existing research on a topic 2. Build and demonstrate familiarity with and understanding of a topic 3. Evaluate and summarise …

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Writing Essays Well: Introductions, Thesis Statements and Topic Sentences

Introductions For the first paragraph of an essay to actually be a proper introduction (in other words, for it to fulfil the requirements of an effective introduction), it must have two elements: 1) a thesis statement 2) a preview or essay plan for the essay. So, what are these two elements? 1) A thesis statement tells the reader about your position on the topic as the author. It serves to focus your ideas on the topic and to indicate why your essay is worth the reader’s time. When you are given an essay question, the thesis statement is your clear and concise answer to the question. For example, for the essay question ‘What were the causes of the Holocaust in World War …

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Shortened Words and Phrases, and Symbols

Some writers may find the correct usage of shortened forms confusing. This does not need to be the case: Once they understand a few basic rules, they can easily use these correctly and consistently. In academic writing, we use three categories of shortened forms: shortened words, shortened phrases and symbols. Let’s take a look at each. Shortened words can be abbreviations or contractions. Understanding the difference between these two types of shortened words is key to avoiding common errors. An abbreviation contains the first letter of a word and one or more other letters, but not the last letter. It always has a full stop immediately after it. For example, the abbreviated form for ‘Victoria’ is ‘Vic.’ with a full stop. If …

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