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However, note that they can also introduce problems of bias when they are used to to make summary claims of the sort found in systematic reviews.– Isaac Newton Once you’ve chosen a topic, and selected a possible research problem or question, it is time to explore what research has already been done on this topic and research problem or question.The purpose is to develop a body of literature that establishes a contrarian viewpoint.
You may even have access to research that is so recent it has not been published yet.
In all these ways, doing a literature review is not only crucial to writing a dissertation, it is also giving you experience with the ongoing process of new knowledge and discovery that is taking place in your field.
Maybe your research fills a gap in the existing research.
Maybe your research will verify previous studies, perhaps using better methodology.
It is entirely possible that, in the process of doing your literature review, you will improve and clarify your understanding of your research question or problem, which may cause you to modify your question or problem, or modify the scope of your research.
Another reason literature review is important is that it makes sure you do not repeat any research that has already been done before.
While you are writing your dissertation, you are engaged in making a genuine contribution to the field of knowledge.
In your dissertation, you will need to demonstrate how your research fits into all that has been done before, and all that is being done right now, on your topic, addressing your problem or question.
You may get useful hints about research design and methodology from the work others have done, to help you when you approach your own research design and methodology.
Doing the literature review will expose you to multiple viewpoints and perspectives on your topic and research problem or question. You may discover that experimental results which are relevant to your question or problem have until now been ambiguous, contradictory, or incomplete.