Skip to Main Content

The Literature Review: For Dissertations

For graduate students interested in first steps to consider when starting a literature review for their dissertation.

Getting Started

At the start of your process, it may be helpful to create an outline of steps that you will take, and to consider available resources and services that might help you complete every step. Here, we provided a general flow chart in the right box, a list of questions you may ask, and resources may help you answer these quesitons below.

Before getting started, familiarize yourself with two essential resources provided by the Rackham Graduate School:

If possible, talk to your academic advisor and look for answers to the following questions:

What is my research question?


What kind of literature review is appropriate for my research question?


How much literature should I use?


How will I make sure that I find all appropriate information that informs my research?


How will I evaluate the literature to include trustworthy information and eliminate unnecessary or untrustworthy information?


How should I organize my literature? What citation management program is best for me?


What steps should I take to ensure academic integrity?


Where can I find writing and editing help?


Where can I find I find formatting standards? Technical support?


What citation style should I use?

Additional Web Guides for Writing Literature Reviews

Steps to write a literature review