Length of literature review?

posted
29-Mar-11, 11:33
Avatar for Caterpillar27
posted about 8 years ago
Hi, I am currently 6 months into my first year and hoping to draft a rough literature review over the next few months. I know that each thesis is different, but I was just wondering approximately what length they should/could be in an 80,000 word social science thesis.

Obviously it will need re-drafting in my final year - it would just be handy with my planning if I had an idea of the sort of length I'm aiming for.

Thanks
posted
29-Mar-11, 11:43
edited about 7 seconds later
by sneaks
Avatar for sneaks
posted about 8 years ago
erm, I'm just writing mine (in my 4th year!) - give me til the end of the week and I'll let you know. I'm aiming for about 10-12k though.

It would be interesting to see what others have!
posted
29-Mar-11, 12:15
by Delta
Avatar for Delta
posted about 8 years ago
Mine is 12,000
posted
29-Mar-11, 12:23
edited a moment later
by ady
Avatar for ady
posted about 8 years ago
Mine's 19,000 :-( - supv knows though and seems to think length is not a problem. I hope he's right...
posted
29-Mar-11, 12:54
by Delta
Avatar for Delta
posted about 8 years ago
Ady, Don't worry as I've still to expand on mine and anticipate it being around 22,000 +

The one thing I am confident about is the quantity of my literature review is necessary so that everything is covered but I'm breaking it down into two chapters and haven't even started the other!
posted
29-Mar-11, 12:55
edited about 5 seconds later
Avatar for Keenbean
posted about 8 years ago
Mine was originally around 20,000, but I ended up splitting it into two chapters so I could publish it. So now I have one at 9,600 words and one at 7,600 words. KB
posted
29-Mar-11, 12:56
by sneaks
Avatar for sneaks
posted about 8 years ago
actually yes, I've written an 8,000 methods chapter and you could perhaps say that about 5000 of that is another lit review, just focusing on theoretical approaches rather than the actual findings if that makes sense.
posted
29-Mar-11, 13:08
edited about 21 seconds later
Avatar for Keenbean
posted about 8 years ago
That's like mine, sneaks- my first review is a methods and evidence one (9600 words) and the second is a theoretical framework/methodological review (7600 words). And god, I never want to read that second one ever again! KB
posted
29-Mar-11, 13:09
by emmaki
Avatar for emmaki
posted about 8 years ago
Mine is in two chapters as well.
One (conceptual framework) around 7000 words, and one (main literature review on my subject) around 8000 words.
I'm in the social sciences as well, and my max is 80,000 words
posted
29-Mar-11, 13:19
by sneaks
Avatar for sneaks
posted about 8 years ago
problem is my sup said my methods one was so good it may go before the other one - which I hate the idea of! So she's compromised and I have to lever in the theoretical stuff throughout the 1st chapter lit-review chapter too.

So I have 1st lit review chapter = there are xyz things that influence dog barking (oh and by the way they were researched like this)

and 2nd lit review chapter = these are the main ways dog barking has been researched.
posted
29-Mar-11, 15:31
by ady
Avatar for ady
posted about 8 years ago
Thanks for the reassurance guys, I was getting worried. Thing is I also have a fair chunk of lit review (of grounded theory) in my methodology :$. Am actually going to suggest to supv next Monday that I drop two words from my thesis title which would then mean that I could cut about 6,000 words at one fell swoop from my lit review. It would be akin to losing a kidney but I am now mid analysis and don't feel that I am addressing this area anyhow. If this happens I will slot those 6,000 words into my 'just in case' document which is currently running to about 20,000 words!!

Note to self for Monday: come up with convincing argument to drop key concept from thesis, ie bamboozle supv with strength of my thinking - yea right :-(
posted
29-Mar-11, 15:46
edited about 18 seconds later
by sneaks
Avatar for sneaks
posted about 8 years ago
I've just dropped a load of stuff from mine Ady - I think its how it reads is most important, rahter than proving you've ticked all the boxes.

The stuff I'm dropping (probably riskily) are the theories that aren't really related to what I'm doing, just more generally in the field. My external looks like he will be an expert in that field, so I originally want panicking thinking I should include them, now I can't be bothered :p and when I really thought about adding it in I thought it looked a bit 'shoe-horned' and therefore will detract from the overall read (well that's what I'm telling myself!)
posted
29-Mar-11, 15:56
edited about 3 seconds later
by olivia
Avatar for olivia
posted about 8 years ago
Optimal length of chapters can be sometimes discerned by dividing word count by number of chapters--so that you know in an 80,000 word thesis for example, with six chapters, you would have approximately 13,000 words per chapter.

That can be used as a rough guide--and rough guide only of course. Remember that editing can bring word count down by one-third. As well, for many people the lit review is both the first and last thing that they write. You may find by the time you are wrapping up your research that some of the first literature review is no longer relevant, other parts out of date, other parts need to be added in.

I tried to keep draft chapters in check to around 10-15,000 words as I went, knowing I would and could edit it downwards in writing up.

Different people have different views of course, but my own personal view is/was it is always easier to cut words than to add--so it was no problem when I had to cut words. As said, a briskly applied editing system takes your word count down by a third or so!
posted
29-Mar-11, 16:15
by sneaks
Avatar for sneaks
posted about 8 years ago
I was told throughout the process that whatever I wrote in the 1st 2 years wouldn't be included in my final thesis - although it would help. I'm not sure if that was really useful advice and I wish I had written 'finished' chapters sooner. However, what I did do was write about 45000 words of literature - about 5-7k words on each major topic.

I am now in the process of slimming that down. The reviews I did are amazing though - I am literally cutting and pasting sections and then making them read properly, rather than trawl through journals :-)
posted
29-Mar-11, 16:37
Avatar for DrJeckyll
posted about 8 years ago
Oh my days!

I 've been writing this lit review for almost six months now and it feels for ever! I have worked really hard on that, keeping detailed notes of all the papers and books I read, and I managed to put everything down. I have something like 12.000 words and it almost makes sense, needs so much work still until it is coherent.
My supervisor had a quick look, he said it seems fine. How can something look nice until you read it? Anyway, since he said it looks fine, instead of feeling more motivated to work on that, I feel bored and exhausted, and I spent the last 4 days procrastinating and day dreaming... I need somebody to slap me with a dead fish please, so I get done with this, get some feedback maybe and see if it makes any sense at all. Maybe I am writing rubbish rubbish rubbish.

Postgraduate
Forum

Copyright ©2018
All rights reserved

Postgraduate Forum

Masters Degrees

PhD Opportunities

PostgraduateForum is a trading name of FindAUniversity Ltd
FindAUniversity Ltd, 77 Sidney St, Sheffield, S1 4RG, UK. Tel +44 (0) 114 268 4940 Fax: +44 (0) 114 268 5766