The structure of the Literature Review chapter varies from the area of study. In the field of Science and Social Science, it is a very discreet chapter while when we talk of arts and humanities, it is more integrated and gels more thoroughly throughout the thesis. Whatever may be the structure of the document, it is very crucial to the research process. That has to be agreed upon and followed by all researchers.
The complete process of research can be split into three stages, one is the pre writing phase, the second is the writing phase and the third is the post writing phase. It goes without saying that the literature review is the part of the writing phase. Whatever may be area of study, the literature review would fall into the second stage. But the question here is that can we demarcate in these stages very precisely and crisply as there is an over lapping in them and they necessarily may not be chronological so some part of the literature review does fall in the pre writing and post writing phase as well.
In the pre writing phase the research is designed and the thoughts are organised so that it becomes possible to identify and then gather the relevant information to construct the argument that would in later stages help to explain and defend your thesis. One cannot ignore the role of literature review at any of these stages. The reason that the researcher engages in already published work is that it gives an understanding of a deeper level of the area in which the research is building and progressing in line with the initial proposal.
The preliminary study gives the knowledge to fit one’s own research and its contribution in filling the gaps that have been identified. It helps in refining the ideas so that a clear though process can be defined on how to proceed with the research. The more a researcher explores perspective of writers who have previously worked on the topic newer ideas will emerge to deal with your topic in a more seasoned fashion and organised your thoughts in a more structured and coherent manner. Not only this, you also get to figure out the need for new empirical work in your field of study. It is necessary to know what has been said already to further say something new.