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Thesis Preparation: Literature Review

The library helps students to refine their research topic, source material for a thesis and provides tools to manage your bibliography. Consult the library's thesis writing books as you prepare to work on your thesis.

Conducting your literature review

Your literature review is 

  • an in-depth evaluation of research already undertaken on a specific topic
  • the part of your thesis where you demonstrate your ability to identify relevant information and to synthesise existing knowledge
  • the chapter where you identify the gap in the research that your work will address
  • the part of your thesis where you describe and defend the rationale for your own research.

You should use the library's collections of books and academic journals, past theses or conference proceedings when looking for material for your literature review. Primary source material in UL's Special Collections and Archives is also an option to consider depending on your research topic. Within niche research areas it may sometimes be necessary to go beyond UL's collections to source material for your thesis. The library can arrange for borrowing of books and sourcing of articles from other libraries too, please visit the Inter Library Loan webpage for information on how to access this service https://www.ul.ie/library/use-library/visiting-other-libraries/borrowing-other-libraries 

When you have defined your topic you will need to begin searching for and evaluating the information you find. The information on this page will guide you as you develop your research question and begin to familiarise your with the resources the library provides for your literature searching. Recorded lectures from our librarians, links to videos from SAGE Research Methods and some advice on effective searching are all useful resources for you when preparing  your literature review. If you need to talk to a librarian in order to advance your literature review, please email libinfo@ul.ie to make an appointment. 

The Library Search allows you to search for physical items in the Library but also searches most of the library's electronic resources as well as publications in the ULIR.

Developing your research question

Smarter Search techniques

Finding Information for your thesis

Conducting your literature review

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