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Based on personal observations, comments by students, and the criticisms of thesis assessors, the literature review is often the hardest part of a thesis to write well. That this is so is quite understandable given the fact that writing a literature review is a bit like putting the pieces of a large and complex jigsaw puzzle together without the benefit of a “picture on the box” to indicate where the pieces might or should go!

Another cause of difficulty are the questions of what exactly needs reviewing and what should go where because there are a considerable range of choices.

To help you write effective literature reviews, this section looks at:

Downloadable resources

Printable notes on writing a literature review for research students (PDF 1713kb)

Mind map template of likely focus questions for a literature review (PDF 291kb)