Chapter 3: Synthesizing the Literature in Analyzing Research

Analyzing research for the literature review of dissertations is a daunting task for the beginning researcher.  This chapter provides the opportunity to look at comparing, contrasting, and finally synthesizing all of the findings in the literature review for a concise interpretation and analysis.


 primary aspect of writing the literature review is to focus and contextualize the study, which requires the writer to generate information to substantiate the topic and problem as demonstrated in the publication of prior knowledge in scholarly literature (Mertens & McLaughlin, 1995). In writing the literature review for a dissertation study, the researcher needs to place the topic or problem in the broader scholarly literature as well as in an appropriate historical context of the field. Additionally, the doctoral learner should distinguish what research has been done in the field of study as well as what needs to be done. Articulation of important variables and phenomena relevant to the topic should be included and synthesized to demonstrate a new perspective on the literature and prior research on the topic. There will be inconsistencies and tension in the literature, which should be clarified and discussed. The doctoral researcher must illuminate the scope and discuss limitations of the existing literature. Achieving these goals requires a variety of writing and research skills, one of which is synthesis. This chapter of the book presents information related to the skill of synthesis and how it is a critical component of the literature review process.

This publication has been peer reviewed.
Publication Type: 
Book Chapter
D'Urso, P.A.
Year of Publication: 
Journal, Book, Magazine or Other Publication Title: 
. In Grand Canyon University (Ed.), GCU Doctoral Research: Analyzing Research.
Chapter 3
Date Published: 
Monday, August 1, 2016
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