What is a literature review?

A literature review basically involves developing a well-informed update on a particular topic, where you present a balanced (that is, the strengths and weaknesses, or omissions) evaluation of the different research and theory in the area. This is not merely a summary of the research into an area: it is directed at a particular purpose and conclusion. That conclusion will depend on the task and the discipline.

What strategies have you used to write a literature review? Share your reflections and examples in an email to iDEas@calt.monash.edu.au.

What is a thesis and how do I write a thesis?

Thesis can mean two things, generally: a position statement or argument and a long piece of work.

Some people refer to the argument you are presenting in your writing as the thesis; that is, the main point or position you are taking.

The other meaning of thesis: it's like an essay but much longer, more complex and better informed! It also takes much, much longer to undertake and prepare.

Support for writing a thesis is well-catered for in Language and Learning for Higher Degree Research. Guiding you through each stage of your research journey, from the set-up through to writing for publication, this site also helps you develop your thinking, writing and communication skills to 'climb the thesis mountain'. One great feature of this site is the thesis tracker, an interactive program that allows you to assess the progress of your thesis and to guide you through each crucial stage of your 'climb'.

You may also wish to choose a recommended resource from the Library for thesis preparation.

Also, check editing your thesis for guidance on finetuning your writing style and organising your writing.