How long should a literature review be in a dissertation proposal?

We’re answering the question: How long should a literature review be in a dissertation proposal? There is no one-size-fits-all approach, but there are two basic considerations. In this post, we tackle both of them.

The first is what the institution requests. Each institution has its own guidelines you need to adhere to. Check that and see what the expectations and requirements are.

Once you have that figured out, it boils down to filling the space with valuable information. It’s not about conducting a literature review to fill up space or show how well you know the literature. Instead, you need to connect what you want to do with the current literature. That’s the only goal. If you can do this within the space allotted for your proposal, that’s great.

More often than not, you may feel you don’t have enough space, which is common for dissertation proposals. Supervisors don’t want to read pages of proposals; they want you to come to the point, communicating what you want to do and how it connects to existing literature. Try to move to a different level of presentation, making it more abstract or concrete, depending on the circumstances, but focus on showing the value of your intended research and its connection to the current literature. There will be some discussion based on this.