UCL Doctorate In Clinical Psychology


Literature Review

The first section of your thesis is the literature review. You should choose one of the following formats when writing your literature review:

1. Stand-Alone Paper (SAP)

In this type of literature review, a question that is related to the topic of the empirical paper is identified, and then addressed via a systematic search of the literature.

2. Conceptual Introduction (CI)

This type of literature review does not aim to be a stand-alone paper, but rather functions as an introduction to your thesis. This is like the traditional introductory chapter of a PhD thesis. In this format, the idea is to introduce and consider all the key conceptual and methodological underpinnings of your main empirical study, by reviewing and synthesising relevant previous literature. 

General Considerations about the Literature Review

The recommended length for both of these types of literature review is 8000 words (not including tables and the reference list).

You should think through with your research supervisor which of these types of literature review you will do for your thesis. This decision will be influenced by a number of factors, such as your personal preference and the current state of the literature in your field.