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Lit review - A peer-reviewed electronic journal...

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A peer-reviewed electronic journal. Copyright   is   retained   by   the   first   or   sole   author ,   who   grants   right   of   first   publication   to   the   Practical   Assessment,   Research &   Evaluation.   Permission   is   granted   to   distribute   this   article   for   nonpr ofit,   educational   purposes   if   it   is   copied   in   its entirety   and   the   journal   is   credited. Volume 14, Number 13, June 2009 ISSN 1531-7714 A   Guide   to   Writing   the   Dissertation   Literature   Review Justus   J.   Randolph Walden   University Writing   a   faulty   literature   review   is   one   of   many   ways   to   derail   a   dissertation.   This   article   summarizes  some   pivotal   information   on   how   to   write   a   high-quali ty   dissertation   literature   review.   It   begins   with   discussion   of   the   purposes   of   a   review,   presents   ta xonomy   of   literature   reviews,   and   then   discusses   the  steps    in    conducting    a    quantitative    or    qualitative    literature    review.    The    article    concludes    with    discussion   of   common   mistakes   and   a   framework   fo r   the   self-evaluation   of   a   literature   review. Writing   a   faulty   literature   revi ew   is   one   of   many   ways   to derail   a   dissertation.   If   the   literature   review   is   flawed,   the remainder    of    the    dissertation    may    also    be    viewed    as  flawed,   because  “a  researcher   cannot   perform   significant  research   without   first   understanding   the   literature   in   the  field”    (Boote    &    Beile,    2005,    p.    3).    Experienced  thesis  examiners    know    this.    In    a    study    of    the  practices    of  Australian    dissertation    examiners,    Mullins  and    Kiley (2002)   found   that, Examiners typically started reviewing dissertation   with   the   expectation   that   it   would  pass;    but    a    poorly    conceptualized    or    written  literature   review   often   indicated   for   them   that  the     rest     of     the     dissertation     might     have  problems.    On    encountering    an    inadequate  literature   review,   examiners   would   proceed   to  look    at    the    methods    of    data    collection,    the  analysis,    and    the    conclusions    more    carefully. (Boote   &   Beile,   2005,   p.   6) Given    the    importance    of    literature    reviews    in    both  dissertations     and     journal     articles,     it     may     be  surprising   that   so   many   of   them   are   faulty.   Boote   and  Beile   (2005)  claim   that   “the   dirty
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