I am currently editing and updating my thesis literature review before submitting my thesis next year.

In reviewing the relevant literature, I find that two of my results chapters published as journal articles are within the scope of the literature review and I would normally cite them in a review article on the same topic.

Is it appropriate to cross-reference these two chapters in the thesis literature review and mention the results that are presented later on in the thesis? In other words, is it more important that the review is up-to date and includes all published data (including my own), or should it rather reflect the knowledge in the field prior to my thesis?

2 Answers 2


The literature review of your thesis should set the scene that your own research will be taking place in, and should contribute towards motivating the work you do. However, it sounds like you're considering your literature review to be just that, a review of the literature. You really want the reader to reach the end of your literature review feeling that there's a gap waiting to be filled, which you then do.

There may be a small minority of cases where for some reason it makes sense to cite a paper containing thesis work in the literature review, but generally speaking it should describe the literature without the contribution of your thesis.* If you discuss your work in the literature review, then the reader may not feel there is a gap in the literature to fill (or at least, if there is you won't be filling it in the remainder of the thesis).

It's the later discussion/conclusion sections and chapters where you want to fit your work into the existing literature.

* I worded this carefully because the option you describe, reflecting knowledge in the field prior to your thesis, isn't necessarily correct either. There may be relevant work which follows your own work in time, but not necessarily in substance, which you may also want to describe.


Your question sounds like you might possibly be confusing your literature review chapter in your thesis (what you call "my thesis literature review") with a standalone literature review (that is, a journal article whose main contribution is a review of the literature, what you call "a review article on the same topic"). Here's how I see these two distinct works as related to your thesis:

  • The literature review chapter in your thesis should most certainly not include work that you are about to present later in the thesis. Although it is indeed "important that the review is up-to date and includes all published data (including my own)", the "my own" work does not include new work to be presented in the thesis. It means everything else not in the thesis. The purpose of the thesis lit review is to frame the thesis, especially to frame your new work. It is not meant to stand on its own apart from the thesis. It is always the case that a thesis lit review could be extended by adding the rest of the thesis, but it defeats the purpose of the thesis to do so.

  • After you've completed the thesis and you want to publish your lit review chapter as a standalone literature review journal article, then it is altogether appropriate to then add a summary of your thesis results. That is the "up-to date [review that] includes all published data (including my own)" that you sense the need for. I affirm that this would be very good, but this is distinct from your thesis and comes after its completion.

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