How Long is a literature review dissertation?


A literature review is an essential component of any academic dissertation, serving as a critical analysis of existing scholarly works related to the research topic. As part of an 8000-word dissertation, the literature review plays a pivotal role in establishing the context, identifying gaps in current knowledge, and justifying the need for the research. The appropriate length of a literature review in an 8000-word dissertation can significantly impact the overall quality and effectiveness of the research. There is no specific time to get an idea of How long does it take to write a 7000 word dissertation or an 8000-word dissertation. It depends on many factors such as the complexity of the topic. w

Ideal Length of Literature Review in an 8000-word Dissertation

This article explores the considerations and guidelines to determine the optimal length of a literature review in an 8000-word dissertation.

Understanding the Purpose of the Literature Review

Before delving into the length of the literature review, it is crucial to grasp its primary purpose. The literature review aims to showcase the depth of your knowledge about the subject, your ability to critically evaluate existing research, and your capacity to identify relevant studies that contribute to your research objectives. It also helps to contextualize your study and highlight the gaps or unresolved questions that your research seeks to address.

Proportionality within the Dissertation

In an 8000-word or 10,000-word dissertation structure, it is essential to allocate the appropriate proportion of the word count to each section. While there is no rigid rule, a general guideline is that the literature review typically accounts for about 15-25% of the total word count. Therefore, for an 8000-word dissertation, the literature review should ideally be around 1200-2000 words. However, this can vary depending on the specific requirements of your academic institution or supervisor.

Scope and Complexity of the Research Topic

The length of the literature review should also be determined by the scope and complexity of your research topic. If your research area is relatively narrow and well-defined, a concise literature review may suffice. Conversely, if your topic is broad and has an extensive body of relevant literature, a more comprehensive and in-depth literature review will be necessary. In such cases, you may need to allocate a larger portion of the word count to adequately cover the relevant literature.

Scope refers to the range of issues, concepts, variables, or phenomena that a research project will encompass. It defines the boundaries of the study, specifying what will and will not be included. A well-defined scope is essential to maintain focus and relevance, preventing the research from becoming too broad or too narrow.

Complexity, on the other hand, pertains to the intricacy and multifaceted nature of the research topic. Complex topics often involve numerous variables, interrelationships, and layers of analysis. Researchers must grapple with intricate theories, methodologies, and data to unravel the subject’s nuances fully.

Balancing scope and complexity is crucial. Too much complexity without a well-defined scope can lead to confusion and inconclusive results. Conversely, a narrow scope may overlook critical aspects of a topic. Researchers must carefully assess the available resources, time constraints, and the overarching goals of their study to strike the right balance.

In summary, understanding and managing the scope and complexity of a research topic is essential for producing meaningful and impactful research. Researchers should meticulously define their scope while acknowledging and addressing the inherent complexities, ensuring that their work contributes valuable insights to the academic field.

Inclusion of Key Studies and Concepts

A high-quality literature review should include key studies and seminal works that are directly related to your research topic. Additionally, you should highlight the most relevant theories, concepts, and methodologies that are vital to understanding your research. Ensure that you present a balanced representation of existing literature, considering both supportive and contrasting viewpoints. However, avoid excessive details or unnecessary summaries that could inflate the length without adding substantial value.

Avoiding Repetition and Irrelevant Information

While it is essential to include relevant studies, it is equally important to avoid repetition and unnecessary information. Each study or concept discussed in the literature review should contribute something unique to the understanding of your research topic. Carefully organize the literature review to maintain a logical flow and coherence throughout.

Repetition in writing can be a distracting and frustrating experience for readers. It occurs when the same ideas or phrases are reiterated unnecessarily. This redundancy not only dilutes the impact of your message but also consumes valuable space. Writers can overcome repetition by employing synonyms, rephrasing, or simply omitting redundant content. This enhances the overall flow and readability of the text.

Similarly, including irrelevant information can derail the reader’s understanding and engagement. Irrelevant details can detract from the main message, causing confusion or disinterest. Effective writing demands a keen focus on relevance; every piece of information should serve a purpose in advancing the central theme or argument. Rigorous editing and a clear sense of the intended audience are essential to sift out extraneous content.

Focusing on Recent and Credible Sources

As a general rule, prioritize recent and credible sources in your literature review. While older studies may be relevant for historical context, newer research reflects the current state of knowledge and developments in the field. Emphasizing recent sources also demonstrates that you are up-to-date with the latest advancements.

Moreover, credibility is the bedrock of academic integrity. Credible sources are those that have undergone rigorous peer-review processes, ensuring the accuracy and authenticity of the information they provide. Utilizing such sources lends authority and legitimacy to research, fostering trust among peers and readers.

Furthermore, the academic community values originality and innovation. Staying current with the latest research allows scholars to identify gaps in existing knowledge and contribute meaningfully to their field. It also ensures that their work remains relevant and impactful.


In conclusion, the length of the literature review in an 8000-word dissertation should be carefully determined based on the purpose, scope, and complexity of the research topic. Strive for a balanced and comprehensive review that includes key studies, concepts, and methodologies while avoiding unnecessary details and repetition. Following these guidelines will ensure that your literature review effectively sets the stage for your research and makes a significant contribution to the overall dissertation.

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