What Is A Literature Review

What Is A Literature Review?

This post involves looking at the concept of a literature review in its entirety. A scholarly evaluation of journals and other sources of information in the name of literature is important in the process of research. The main objective is to find ways in which literature review broadens the knowledge of a researcher in his field of interest. The essay will also look at types of literature reviews, characteristics of good quality reviews, steps in conducting a review process, how to write a good review, the functions in research and why they are important in any study. Essentially at the end of this paper, there would be substantial evidence to support the reasons as to why a literature review is a staple element in most research papers in school and outside the confines of an educational institution.

A literature review is fundamental in the writing of a research paper for both students and researchers. It essentially involves going through available research and published work on a particular topic and giving an outline or synopsis after analyzing it (Rider University). Its intent is to answer questions posed by the researcher on the topic of interest. Moreover, allows the researcher to offer criticism and detect loopholes in research providing potential ideas for future research (Rewhorn, 2018).  Therefore, literature review connects the dots of previous research to current research and provides a foundation or reference for future research. Literature review has been said to be of significance in expanding knowledge attained by researchers and students on a topic (Rewhorn, 2018). In academic writing students are able to build critic, analysis and argumentative skills that are useful in future careers in research. This paper will look at ways and role in which literature review plays in broadening knowledge in the field of research.

Literature can be sourced from either the internet, books or peer reviewed journals. Books are said to be an advantage in literature review because they are of superior quality and information is comprehensive and integrated into one. The only downside to this source of information is out-of-date research that might not be relevant in current research. This can be attributed to the fact that books take a long time to publish (Woodley, 2018). Library catalogues are extremely helpful when it comes to reviewing literature in books. Having an average of 15 books is a good starting point as well as checking the references to each book.

Journals are important coz they provide the most current research. Even though it takes three years before a particular research is published, it is still more up-to-date than research found in books. It is pertinent to look for and store hardcopies of these journals (Woodley, 2018). Electronic databases are useful for softcopies. It is important to photocopy or summarize articles of interests as you skim through the latest issues. Looking through journal abstracts, citations and indices can make search results better. Due to immense technological advancement, the internet has become such a necessary tool in research. It is the fastest way to gain access to both books and journal articles for literature review. With the ease of using search engines it has fast becoming the most used tool for getting information. Using platforms such as Google one can easily search for published research using key words.

When beginning this process, researchers usually analyze research from journals of interest and peers in the discipline of study. These previous works usually highlight the main topic points focused on and enable one to provide an overview of the topic. Areas of contention or argument in published work provide platforms for more discussion (Mudavanhu, 2017). Generally, a good literature review sheds more light on available research through a critical summary. Bolderston (2008) reports that there are different types of classifications of literature review. A systematic review is one that analyzes studies that collect secondary data using organized methods. They then provide a comprehensive summary of the available research in a thesis (Bolderston, 2008). A narrative or traditional review uses critically chosen material collect and evaluate information that can be used to answer current and relevant questions or develop new ones. Systematic and narrative literature reviews differ in the way both reviews search and synthesize information; narrative literature review is more susceptible to bias than the former. A scoping review is a less rigid systematic review in that they are similar in every way except a scoping review is less selecting on research used. However, a scoping review requires a little more structure to eliminate any inconsistencies or gaps in search results (Bolderston, 2008).

Steps in Conducting Literature Review

There are four known courses of action involved in the literature review process. Firstly, one needs search through available sources of information; books, journals and the internet. This process should be meticulously conducted because the relevancy and authenticity of the research has a great impact on the research paper (Mudavanhu, 2017). Before embarking on this process, a researcher needs to have posed the research problem and questions hoping to be partially addressed by existing literature. Secondly, one needs to assess the available literature; first beginning with the broad scope and eventually narrowing it down. Further critical inspection is done in this stage to select what is applicable and relevant to a researcher’s problem question. In this stage, one can also establish the theoretical framework for the study. The central theme of the paper offers a clear guideline on what research work is relevant and which is not.

There are various factors one should consider as they inspect various forms of literature. The literature informing the theoretical framework should be valid and factual (Rocco & Plakhotnik, 2009). A researcher should also consider the methodologies, theories and concepts posited by other researchers through their work. Moreover, one has to determine how to transfer the findings of these studies to their current scope of study. Additionally, it is important to note varying arguments from researchers’ work and be able to give a concrete reasoning behind these differences. The next stage in conducting literature review is to develop a theoretical framework. The process of developing a theoretical framework involves identifying relevant theories in your topic of interest.

Being able to weave out unnecessary information to create the main theme and concepts is also very important in the process. Factors that affect the process of literature review will impact the process of theoretical framework (Rocco & Plakhotnik, 2009). The theoretical framework has a dependent complex relationship with the process of literature review; both process affect and depend on the other. Finally, the last step in this process is developing a conceptual framework. The foundation of the research problem is the conceptual framework. The difference between theoretical framework and conceptual framework is the former focuses on theories and themes that explain the research while the latter discusses elements of theoretical framework and centers attention on them in the study (Taylor, 2010). In a nutshell, the conceptual framework focuses on narrowing the research problem and is contained under the wing of the theoretical framework.

Writing a Good Literature Review

Over the years, literature reviews have become a significant staple in scientific publications. Pautasso (2013) posits that there are ten rules to writing a good literature review in research. One has to first out a lot of thought and consideration into the topic of interest. A well-defined and important topic makes it easier to spend considerable time finding relevant research on it without it being tiresome. One can decide on the topic of interest through posing questions that they want the research to answer (Pautasso, 2013). The article goes on to stress that finding a topic is not enough, one has to find their target audience for the research. Secondly, scoping and delving into relevant literature is important. Whatever research papers you use, one has to record them so as to replicate them in the future. One should take a systemized and organized approach in this process to ensure they can trace back any paper, document or file needed (Pautasso, 2013). Even when there are literature reviews available on a particular topic of interest, there is always a different new angle to analyze research. The clear guidelines to a good review are for a researcher to be exhaustive and expansive in his reading.

When conducting literature review, the third step would be note taking (Pautasso, 2013).  As human beings are susceptible to errors and short memories it is of utmost importance to jot down short notes while looking into various sources of literature. Essentially it is so that one can write down anything of interest and come up with a draft of the review that will have to be revised to produce the final output. The rough draft does not have to be coherent but should be referenced and paraphrased where applicable. With changing times, there are different requirements in the writing of research papers. Some journals require a short require while others a lengthy one. Identifying what is required of you and how to deliver will be the next step in the process (Pautasso, 2013). The purpose of a mini-review is to catch the attention of people who do not have a lot of time in their hands. The problem with this review is that there is a danger of leaving out some important information and material. A full review allows for length exploitation of material and coverage but can be bypassed by busy individuals with no time.

Dissertation Literature Review
Dissertation Literature Review

Pautasso (2013) also posits that after writing down notes, one might be called upon to decide whether to write a descriptive or integrative review. A descriptive literature review will center on what methods were used to collect data, findings and the analysis and discussions of each study while an integrative review attempts to find similar findings and concepts from the material reviewed (Pautasso, 2013). The article further states that the decision on what type of literature review to be use; systematic versus narrative, integrative versus descriptive and mini versus full depends on the publishing journal requirements, available time for writing the review, number of authors in the paper as well as the available research on the chosen topic.

There is a delicate balance to achieve in making of a good literature review. The review should be able to attract a target audience from related areas of interest but also maintain specificity to the topic (Pautasso, 2013). A review that is too broad might end up losing its readers and too narrow might close off potential interested readers. It might be especially problematic for an interdisciplinary review that is aimed to integrate two areas of study. Researchers may need to focus on topics that surround the two disciplines to ensure none of them feels left out. Pautasso (2013) notes that making a summary of literature is not all what it takes to write a good review. An expository evaluative analysis of the methodologies is key as well as the ability to point out discontinuities in the research that begs for more future research (Pautasso, 2013). A literature review should highlight significant headways and accomplishments in the area of study, showcase questions that stem from relevant research and reveal major areas of contention. To make sure that a review includes the three factors, a researcher might have to partner with other peers who have different abilities and talents to make varying contributions for the overall success of the review.

Apart from being consistent, a good review must have a good structure (Pautasso, 2013). It generally includes an introduction, the main ideas and a conclusion. The structure needs to provide a consistent flow for the reader. Systematic reviews might differ in a small way because they require that the researcher include search results, key words used and even the source or data base (Pautasso, 2013). Before literature reviews are published in journals a researcher can incorporate peer reviewers to provide objective feedback that should be taken into account. Varying accounts of feedback shed more light on the topic being researched on. This will greatly improve the draft review. One is also required to re-read and correct any form of errors in the review to improve the quality.

To improve an understanding in the topic and eliminate bias, a researcher should also conduct their research separately before embarking on extensive literature review. Some published work might contain bias from either the researcher being too harsh on themselves or too easy (Pautasso, 2013). Publications these days are required to contain literature reviews that contain recent and up-to-date research so that they do not become obsolete before being released themselves. However, this does not mean that research work published a long time back should be completely sidelined. Since a literature review should not point out gaps in research that have been addressed in recent research, a researcher needs to keep abreast for new developments and publications in journals to avoid that complication (Pautasso, 2013). Although a researcher can outrightly state the period of review coverage, the publication process still takes a long time. After publication, new literature review will be published and a researcher might be required to update their review (Pautasso, 2013).

Scholars use literature reviews by rearranging important information in a specific way depending on how they plan to tackle a research problem to make a contribution in a specific field of study. Scholars can give a new understanding of old research through a literature review. On behalf of readers, scholars can map out how far research into a topic has gone, what has been done and what is yet to be accomplished. Scholars can also use literature reviews to address readers’ questions and offer guidance on important and suitable research. They are also able to evaluate so many sources and identify solutions to the problem at hand.

Functions of a Literature Review

A literature review performs many functions. One key function is to highlight important and influential research in a field of interest. A leading piece of research is one that brings forth new concepts and information in a particular field (Gray & Malins, 2004). These new ideas revolutionize our scope of thinking and understanding prompting new research and approaches. Therefore a researcher can pick and choose what types of research to go in detail, what to mention and what to skip. Leading research is given prominence because of its heavy impact in a specific field. As literature review involves a skimming process to determine what literature is relevant to a particular study and which is not a researching can be able to compare different concepts and arguments from reviewed literature (Mattern, 2010). There are usually different arguments posed in different papers and the literature review explores a wide range of them to form a conclusive well-represented summary. Getting a full understanding of all concepts pertinent to a topic enables one to also understand the research topic in general.

Harris (1985) posits that a literature review also purposes to show the evolution of ideas from history to current research trends. It essentially helps to present data chronologically to give more clarity of thought. Aside from offering a historical perspective, a literature review also serves to give an overview of new developing knowledge in a field. There is constant publication of new research and studies and a researcher needs to keep abreast of most of these new developments (Harris, 1985). Within reasonable capacity, a researcher should evaluate and summarize new research and try to see how the research problem fits into the whole grand scheme of things. Other disciplines might require a researcher to look into studies from other countries in other languages because researchers from non-English speaking countries have also made tremendous contribution in the field of research.

Gaps in research will always be identified when conducting literature review. Sometimes researchers may omit some material from studies because they are less appealing to the public or even the researchers themselves. Some research problems also do not attract as much funding as others and researchers may opt out of those studies. Some research topics make it difficult to collect data on. As much as new research may be developed to fill in gaps, sometimes well-structured and developed research can be done on existing research areas. It is evident to see that research undertaking has many drivers and that consequently determines what gaps are left in the publications.

Literature review can be used point out new emerging trends in research. The objective of the study enables a research to find new developments in research. A researcher would need to start from a wider scope of study before narrowing it down in order to look for new trends in that field of interest. One major function of a literature review is to summarize the main ideas in a particular topic of study. When writing a literature review, the researcher may impose their subjective opinions on the ideas presented from reviewed literature; causing bias. Before beginning the summary process, it is important to check credibility of the sources as well as writers. A scholar needs to have developed critical analytical skills to assess key ideas that fit into his work of study from relevant material. A research is also able to create a new idea or merge existing concepts during the evaluation process.

Importance of Literature Reviews

Firstly, the literature review serves to clearly define a research problem. As much as a research question is what directs and structures literature review, it works from the opposite direction as well. What a researcher learns from evaluating different literature one learns a lot of things. A scholar will find out what has been studied, gaps in the available literature and further suggestions for research. All these information goes in to shape the research problem further. It enables provide a clear direction of the research. Highlighting the gaps in areas of study focuses a researcher and enables them to gain greater perception and comprehension of the material.

When one goes through various literature and research, they are equipped with tools of conducting research. One is further educated on different methodologies of conducting research. A researcher will be in a position to compare and contrast methods that have been used and what has been proposed to ensure a smoother and efficient process. By comparing and contrasting, one can weigh the pros and cons to different procedures and pick the most effective methodology. Sometimes methodologies picked fail to address the research problem and that is where literature review can help. It allows one to justify what procedure they have used in their research.

Literature review also serves to broaden knowledge of a researcher in their field of study. As one reads extensively and broadly they encounter a lot of what other researchers have written and published. A literature review serves to familiarize one with most knowledge that has been disseminated and questions raised from a particular research problem. Conducting research for an advanced degree calls into question a researcher’s knowledge and expertise. Therefore, a literature review will serve to meet this requirement. Additionally, a literature review will enable a researcher to figure what their contribution is to the current knowledge. After conducting your study, getting finds and interpreting those findings, a literature review aids one in making comparisons between findings to make a conclusion. In essence it facilitates contextualization of findings within the existing body of knowledge.

A literature review can help a researcher seem confident and well-prepared to the target audience. It is a clear indication that one has done a lot of reading and fact-finding before embarking on tackling the research problem (Smith, 2012). Therefore, the audience easily trusts one’s results, conclusions and recommendations. Finding a lot of credible and leading research as well as posing good arguments shows one level of expertise and knowledge in their field of study which can come in handy especially for PhD students who are hoping to have their dissertations accepted. A researcher therefore needs to critically discern and evaluate what articles to include in their literature review and what number. Also, one needs to stay close to the main theme as synthesize all the information available from the relevant sources.

It also follows that a good well-defined and researched literature review prevents a scholar or researcher from committing plagiarism (Smith, 2012). Research papers need to produce a creative and original idea in their specific fields of study. Repetitions are not tolerated. Each new published work needs to contribute something different or broaden knowledge in a particular topic. Unless there is need to repeat some research, ones credibility might be in question if such a scenario occurred. Because most research are dependent on funds and time, a researcher needs due diligence to avoid wasting such resources. In case one finds out at the literature review stage that their research problem was already addressed by previous research, then they can modify the topic and choose to address an original idea. In a way, it streamlines your research focus and makes clear the problem being addressed. The selection process in literature review is meticulous and rigorous and therefore one starts from with a broad focus and eventually narrows it down. Apart from showing the researcher’s competencies and preparedness throughout the entire literature review process, it shows the linkage between past, current and future research.

Literature Reviews and the Broadening of Knowledge

One of the main objectives of conducting a literature review is to broaden the knowledge of the researcher in his area of study. This happens in two ways; one through extensive reading of numerous sources to find ones pertinent to the research problem and two finding gaps in research and attempting to recommend future research to fill the research gaps.  A standard literature review is usually well-researched, synthesized, structured and of high quality containing credible authors. A research gap is a research problem or question left unaddressed by a particular study that begs for further clarification (Moeini, 2014). Having a research gap in your study does not discredit your competency because it shows originality at tackling problems in a particular field left to be tackled. Furthermore a research gap is indicative of great knowledge in that area of study and a well-carried out research (Moeini, 2014).

Sometimes identification of a gap can lead to the development of a research problem. Therefore it shows that identification of a research gap builds ones knowledge as a researcher is required to have a deep set of understanding in the field for that to occur (Fink, 2005). Gap finding leads to categorization of researchers in the field. There are types of researchers when it comes to this area of research. First class researchers are those that are well skilled and knowledgeable in their respective fields. Attaining this particular class takes a lot of time and experience and knowledge (Moeini, 2014). The second class researchers mostly get recommendations from professors in school and therefore do not necessarily invest time and effort into finding a research problem. The third group is the third class which is mostly influenced by the environment when it comes to choosing a research topic (Moeini, 2014).

Finding a research topic or gap therefore calls one to actively and extensively read broadly on material related to their interest. A researcher will go through countless sources and even sometimes read other systematic literature reviews to gain understanding of what is required of him and find a clear direction for his research paper (Fink, 2005). Looking for trends and new research requires previous background knowledge in a particular discipline. Every new paper poses a different argument, theories, methodologies and themes fully equipping the researcher with a wide range of choices on what is applicable in his study. In this process, one is required to delve into citation reports and analysis of content further broadening their knowledge spectrum (Moeini, 2014). A new researcher in the field would widen their scope by looking at the research of more seasoned and experienced researchers in the field. These leading researchers are those who have made an important in the body of knowledge and have their research widely published and distributed. Through the literature review process, one can learn the tricks of conducting a good quality research paper and how to meaningfully make a lasting contribution as a researcher.

As new trends are constantly emerging and old ones shifting, a literature review broadens a researcher’s knowledge by always keeping them on their toes and ensuring they read extensively to avoid duplications. It is also evident that to conduct and formulate a good quality literature review one must go through a number of resources (Ridley, 2012). Simply reading and noting down relevant material to make a summary contributes profoundly to a researcher’s wealth of knowledge. Furthermore, discussions among peers that stem from the research process when looking for feedback or suggestions serves to illuminate on new concepts and ideas. When addressing contrasting arguments in different research papers on a particular topic, a researcher has to either form an opinion from their own wealth of knowledge or embark on further reading to draw conclusions; consequently one continues to build their knowledge in the area (Torracro, 2005). Any researcher needs critical thinking, analytical and organization skills that come in handy in the research process. The steps to conducting and formulating a literature review serve to build these skills in budding researchers who lack them.

When forming the theoretical and conceptual framework, a researcher has to critically analyze various theories before forming a conclusion (Torracro, 2005). One would require an in depth understanding of the origin of the theories and how they govern the relationships in the problem matter. A researcher would have to fully comprehend theories pertinent to the problem area and concepts that fall within the theory under the specific subject matter. This entire process further illuminates on more information in the field of interest for the researcher (Ridley, 2012).


A literature review is an important aspect in many research papers because of its many benefits and functions especially of importance is the function of broadening knowledge of a researcher in their field of interest. Apart from giving focus to the research problem, a well written literature review shows the deep understanding of the content being studied and researched on. There are various types of literature reviews. The selection of the appropriate one depends on factors like funding, publishing journal and time allocated for research. The process consists of going through various sources of information to pick relevant topic material, making notes to form a draft review, allowing feedback of the review and finally structuring it.

A good review bridges old knowledge with new one by identifying research gaps and areas that might prompt future research. It is a necessary part of a dissertation, thesis or any research paper because it shows the competencies of a researcher and enables a researcher to avoid any problems of duplication and plagiarism. It also develops critical thinking and analytical skills as they skills important to the process of research. This process of literature review is an ever ending process that seeks to offer a theoretical background to a study and help a researcher understand how their research will fit in the existing body of knowledge; their contribution. Adherence to a good structure and theme is importance in the overall process of literature review.


Cooper, Harris M., A Taxanomy of Literature Review, Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (69th, Chicago, IL, March 31-April, 1985)

Taylor, D. (2010). The literature review: A few tips on conducting it.

Mattern, S. (2010). Literature Review Tips.

Bolderston, A. (2008). Writing an Effective Literature Review. Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences, 86–92.

Moeini, S. (2014, September 12). 6 (very useful!) Approaches to identify research gaps and generate research questions.

Mudavanhu, Y. (2017). Quality of literature review and discussion of findings in selected papers on integration of ICT in teaching,role of mentors, and teaching science through science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Academic Journals, 189-201.

Pautasso, M. (2013). Ten Simple Rules for Writing a Literature Review. PCBI, 1.

Plakhotnik, T. S. (2009). Literature Reviews, Conceptual Frameworks, and Theoretical Frameworks: Terms, Functions, and Distinctions. Sage Journals, 120-130.

Carole Gray and Julian Malins, Visualizing Research: A Guide to the Research Process in Art and Design (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2004). p. 43.

Rewhorn, S. (2017). Writing your successful literature review. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 143-147.

Woodley, M. (2018, March 22). The Three Types of Sources.

Fink, A. (2005). Conduction Research Literature reviews: From Internet to Paper 2nd Edition. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage.

Ridley, D. (2012). A step by Step Guide for students 2nd Edition. Los Angeles: Sage.

Smith, N. (2012, January 17). Purpose of a Literature Review.

Torracro, R. (2005). “Writing Integrative Literature Reviews: Guidelines and Examples. Human Resource Development Review 4, 356-367.

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Dissertation Research Proposal For University Students

Writing A Research Proposal

This collective article is designed to provide you with a realistic and relevant learning opportunity which will help prepare you for the dissertation. You are asked to prepare a research proposal similar to one that could be submitted to an ethics committee. This proposal could be linked to your proposed dissertation topic, if you have already identified one. If not, it could be associated with a current area of interest. Please see your handbook for information on writing and marking.

You are required to:

  1. Identify a research question/problem
  2. Justify the research, research design and methods
  3. Consider resources & constraints

The main objectives of research ethics committees are to protect both prospective participants in research studies and researchers. To achieve this, ethics committees need specific information regarding proposed studies to be able to make informed decisions about the ethical implications of these studies, considering the proposal from the participants’ perspective. The main ethical issues focus on the validity of the research (is the research question important and do-able?) and the welfare of the participants (what will participation involve, are there any acceptable risks, how will informed consent be sought, how will confidentiality be respected?). Therefore, these issues need to be addressed in your proposal.

Identifying a Research Question/Problem

Your research question should be both:

  • Useful (extending knowledge relevant to health care that might contribute to changes in practice)
  • Do-able (feasible given resource constraints)

This can be achieved by identifying a practice related problem, considering complaints, policy initiatives and service delivery changes, or by reading articles in journals.

Justify the Research, Research Design and Methods

What is the current state of knowledge in your topic area? Has your research question already been answered? If not, what are the typical methods used to address research questions similar to yours? What other methods might be appropriate? You will need to provide a brief critical review of relevant literature and state how your study will contribute to this field of study.

Given your research question, what types of data will be collected to answer this (e.g. quantitative and/or qualitative)? What is the most appropriate research strategy (e.g. experiment, survey, case study, action research etc) and what methods will you use (e.g. observation, questionnaire, interviews etc)?

Resources and Constraints

What factors should you take into account?

  • Time – do you have enough to prepare, conduct, analyse and write up the study?
  • Expertise – do you have knowledge and skills in the particular topic & method(s)?
  • Participants – can you secure access to the necessary participants (e.g. patients, relatives, work colleagues) within the ethical guidelines and in the relevant time frame?
  • Financial resources – will you need to consider acquiring extra staff and/or equipment, how will you cover the costs of conducting the research (photocopying, postage, travel etc), can this be approved by your manager or do you need to secure funding?

Writing a Research Proposal

A research proposal is a detailed statement identifying what you intend to do; why; how; and with whom. It indicates your ability to conduct the study and provides an opportunity:

  • For you – to clarify your thoughts
  • For others – to examine these (importance, feasibility, ethics, funding etc)

Components of an Research Proposal

  • Title of the proposed project
  • Name of the student/researcher
  • Brief summary and problem statement
    Aims & objectives
  • Rationale/justification (why the research is important and should be conducted)
  • Brief literature review (scientific background)
  • Brief description of research design (approach, strategy, methods, analysis)
  • Ethical considerations (consent of participants, other clinicians, participant information sheet)
  • Timescale/plan
  • Any resource implications (how costs will be met, any funding required/secured)
  • Proposed outputs (dissemination, feedback to participants)

Research Proposals – Questions to Ask

Is it realistic?

  • Have I the necessary skills & time to carry it out?
  • Is it ethical?
  • Have I considered how my sample will be selected, how informed consent will be achieved, how data will be collected, stored (and destroyed) and disseminated whilst maintaining confidentiality and complying with the Data Protection Act?

Is it clear?

  • Have I used simple language & not jargon?
  • Have I explained technical terms?
  • Have I included an indication of the kinds of questions I will be asking, or observations I will be recording?

Can I anticipate any problems?

  • Have I covered each section thoroughly?
  • Are there any weaknesses?
Research Proposal
Research Proposal

In this article we have identified what is generally required of researchers when they submit proposals for ethical approval. The assignment for this module involves preparing a similar proposal.

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If you enjoyed reading this post on how to write a research proposal, I would be very grateful if you could help spread this knowledge by emailing this post to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you.

Best University Dissertation Examples

Dissertation Examples

We believe that reading and examining others work is the best way to complete your own work perfectly, so before starting dissertation writing, students must remember and take care of analyzing others work first. This is where dissertation examples come into their element. Writing a dissertation is not difficult if you have searched for existing dissertations that will help you in writing your own dissertation. This would cover what structure and format you should follow up until the point of submission. Below are some guidelines to ensure that you will get the best dissertation examples and ideas:

University Libraries

If you are looking for dissertation examples then look at what your university library has to offer. This is the best possible place where you can find credible work from previous graduates and your university has elected to keep the dissertation examples on file for future use for other university students. Browsing a university library is the most authentic method when choosing a title or topic for your own dissertation.


The most accessible source where you can find dissertation examples is the internet. You will instantly gain access to a plethora dissertations across a wide variety of subjects. Be mindful that the dissertations you are viewing have no doubt already been submitted to universities and the contents have been used by many students in the same way you wish to use the contents. Don’t be tempted to cut and paste any online content from any dissertation examples you encounter as you will fail your degree unless you reference appropriately in accordance with your university guidelines.

Evaluating Relevant Material

Here you will be utilising existing material you have already written during your university studies. Take a step back and look at the work you have produced in the first and second year of your degree, it is safe to say you will find material that you can add to your dissertation. In some cases students formulate a dissertation topic on previous research carried out. This is something I did during my undergraduate degree, I wrote a dissertation on entrepreneurial behaviour as previous modules in this subject area stirred my imagination and interest in this field of study.

University Dissertation Examples
University Dissertation Examples

You need to pick a project topic that is feasible, which means ‘do-able’ in the short time that you have. What is ‘feasible’? Many student project proposals are initially over- ambitious. They are often very wide-ranging in their focus and could present significant problems for students in collecting primary data. The best projects are those where:

  • The topic is of particular interest to you
  • You can easily collect information – the information is readily available, or you can collect and analyse it easily, and within a short time period
  • The aim of the project is focused on a particular aspect of a chosen topic

Business Dissertation Examples

The likely reason for you to examine business dissertation examples is to get a clear understanding on how to structure your own dissertation. Writing your own dissertation is usually carried out in accordance with accepted guidelines set out by at your university. This is designated to help the reader or examiner to understand exactly what message is to be conveyed in the dissertation. The best way to learn on how to best structure your business dissertation is to assess previously submitted business dissertation examples. Be sure to analyze any dissertation examples carefully and make sure your reference any material accordingly. Below is a list of business dissertation examples for you to look into, this also includes a vast collection of MBA dissertation examples.

Business Dissertation Examples | MBA Dissertation Titles

Marketing Dissertation Examples

There will be a period of time during your marketing degree when you need to start planning in advance to your final year. I do suggest to students to start investigating and formulating a dissertation topic and dissertation title during the second year of a degree. You do not want to leave this task until the last year or final semester of the last year as you will be at a disadvantage. Students should start looking at marketing dissertation examples as soon as possible especially if there is a break in the studies. Always do the ground work well in advance, I knew the dissertation topic I wanted to write part way through my second year. Soon after, I carefully analyzed dissertation examples in this field of study.

Students should obtain a good set of undergraduate and postgraduate marketing dissertation examples. As mentioned above, these can be obtained from university libraries, the internet and research material you have already written. Below are links that will take you to a large quantity of marketing dissertation examples. I’m sure you will find marketing dissertation topics that are relevant to your field of study.

Marketing Dissertation Examples | Marketing Dissertation Titles

Construction Dissertation Examples

There are a number of techniques where you can access existing construction dissertation examples and use them as a foundation for your own work, thus trying to understand the specifics of the thesis or dissertation you have to produce. As previously mentioned, do try to see if the university library has dissertation topics and titles for you to analyse, if not, search the internet for research material and construction related forums and blogs. We do offer construction dissertation examples and we often visit related blogs such as The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), Constructionomics and BDCnetwork all of which will help you with your own research dissertation as the material on offer is first class, current and expansive. The link provided below will illustrate the vast amount of construction dissertation examples we have to offer.

Construction Dissertation Examples

HRM Dissertation Examples

This post sets out to help students select the most appropriate topic for their HRM dissertation and to provide practical advice on how a HRM dissertation should be structured in order to achieve the best possible grade. You may have already looked at the HRM dissertation titles we have on offer and we appreciate that there is a wide variety of topics in this subject area, so it may be prudent to seek out and analyse HRM dissertation examples available at your university library or internet.

Below are links to access an extensive list of quality HRM Dissertation examples. Students may use them to meet the requirements of their own HRM dissertation, or view the titles in order to gain some inspiration. Either way, ensure you reference all material accordingly as you do not want fall foul of plagiarism.

HRM Dissertation Examples

Finance Dissertation Examples

Finance and accounting is often perceived as a difficult subject area especially when it comes to writing a dissertation. When you choose your finance dissertation topic try to keep in mind that the topic chosen should current and up to date. Don’t write a finance dissertation on stock performance from the last decade or on failed banks as that is too predictable. Have a look at what is happening now in the world of finance, or try to write a finance dissertation that predicts the outcome of a seismic event such as Brexit or potential collapse of the Euro currency. That is why looking at current finance dissertation examples is a must as you will be kept abreast of any new theories in this field of research.

When writing your finance dissertation you have to make decisions regarding the content, area of study and formulate the topic. Below are finance dissertation examples that will help you in your studies. We urge you to take a look and reference any material accordingly.

Finance Dissertation Examples

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Best HRM Dissertation Topics For University Students

Best University Dissertations
Best University Dissertations

Dissertation topics chosen will be wide ranging and students are encouraged to work in areas of particular personal interest, providing they are relevant to the objectives of the pathway. There is no doubt that student will be required to complete the Research Methods module to provide the underpinning skills and knowledge required to undertake a dissertation.

Dissertation Writing Outcomes

To enable students to undertake a substantial piece of empirical research within a topic area of their own choosing relevant to the objectives of the pathway

  • To allow students to demonstrate their ability to undertake a piece of work requiring an element of original inquiry
  • To enable students to identify a specific research question, review the literature in that area, select and justify using a particular research methodology to collect, analyse and interpret secondary and primary data, the balance of which will vary depending on the individual project
  • To allow students to display their initiative and develop their time management skills
  • To develop students ability for critical thought and evaluation

Once you have completed your own dissertation you will be able to:

  • Produce clearly stated analytical framework for the study including aims and objectives
  • Systematically develop an empirical investigation, using a research methodology to gather data for analysis and critical interpretation
  • Present firm conclusions and recommendations (as appropriate) demonstrating that the objectives set have been achieved
  • Write a formal research report to professional standards
  • Provide evidence on the use of initiative, time management and self expression

Start writing your dissertation early. Write a section at a time as you complete them; don’t try writing the report all at once. Give yourself plenty of time for revision, correcting and for formatting the document – this can be very time-consuming. Discuss and agree with your supervisor arrangements for sending and returning completed text to each other. Don’t forget to reference dissertation examples accordingly.

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Trend Forecasting Steps For Analysis

Trend Forecasting Steps

Fashion forecasting is generally a career that involves focusing on upcoming trends in the fashion industry. Fashion and trend forecasting is the future determination of mood, behavior and purchasing habits of consumer at a given time of season. It does not only involve determination of markets, consumers in terms of age, their locations and income but also inquire deeply to get to know what they purchase depending on their culture, beliefs, moods as well as geographical location.  Fashion and trend forecasting is more reliant on fashion cycle and plays a significant role in introductory stage of consistent fashion cycles.

Fashion and trend forecasting involves a series of activities in each of the area it is dealing with. For example it looks at the; season, target market, consumer, colors, fabrics, silhouette, texture and usage. Therefore, comprehending fashion and trend  forecast is not only crucial in determining the success of the ultimate object of the designer but also enhances the continuous repetition of sales in future seasons as well as promoting the fashion cycles.

Unlike in the past when trend forecasting was done manually, current trend forecasting is done using technological forecasting methods although they have been criticized for reducing creativity by most designers. Most trend forecasting are determined by the forecasting method applied by the ultimate user and it is therefore crucial to determine the most appropriate method of trend forecasting in any individuals business model. Generally, any trend forecasting methods involve the following steps (Hines, 2007);

The first step is Problem definition. Although this is the hardest section of forecasting, it is the most important. This step requires keen analysis of how the forecasts will be used, who needs the forecasts as well as how the forecasting technique suits within the firm needs the forecasts. A forecaster should therefore use enough time to every individual who will take part in data collection, keeping the data as well as applying the forecast for future planning. Then gathering of information follows whereby in most cases, statistical or quantitative data and qualitative data are the ones required. Therefore, the collectors of the data should be expertise who can be able to receive the qualitative information from the respondents who are usually the customers if there is no adequate quantitative information (Wong, 2010).

The third step is preliminary analysis, also called exploratory analysis. In this step, the forecaster should consider whether or not there are consistent pattern that lead to significant trend, whether or not there is evidence of business cycles, the presence of outliers in the information that need explanation as well as the extent of relationship between variables present for analysis.

The fourth step is choosing and fitting models. The best method of trend forecasting should depend on the historical data present, the application of the forecasts as well as the extent relationship between the forecasts available and explanatory variables. Some of the methods that can be arrived at includes; exponential smoothing model, ARIMA model, vector autogression, neural networks among others (Wong, 2010).

The last step involves the use and evaluation of the forecasting model. The success of the model can only be determined after the data for the forecast time has been present after which various methods are applied to assess the success of the model.

Research Methodologies

As earlier stated, the main data required in trend forecasting is qualitative, quantitative and mostly commonly, a combination of the two.

The quantitative research methodology start right from the bottom, where agencies and even the manufacturers either inquires directly from the customers on their purchasing preferences or the organization may record the consumers buying habit in a duration of a given time. The consumer’s response is recorded and used to determine preference for some specific garments, accessories or any other product on research, colors, and sizes among other factors of a product. Surveys through mail, customer response or phones are carried through publication as well as contracting market research organizations for manufacturers and as well as retailers.

The survey questions usually relate to life style, income, shopping habits as well as fashion preference. The customers who participate in these surveys are selected by the research company although they should suit with manufacturers or retailers requirements. Informal discussion with consumer enable researchers get information through asking questions to customers about what they would prefer to purchase, the types they prefer to purchase which is currently present as well as the change in products they require and are not available or they cannot reach. Most researchers use small scale retailers because of their contact and conversation with the customers.

Trend Forecasting Steps
Trend Forecasting Steps

The quantitative methodology entails the use of statistical data or information to determine the trend in customer demands and hence forecast on producing what the consumers purchase the most. Statistical data for fashion sector is easily obtainable without necessarily going to the field because it is available in manufacturers or retailers sales records (Hines, 2007).

From such records, the manufacturers can determine which garments, color of the product, size as well as the fashion preference of the consumer. After that, the manufacturer should be able to determine which fashion product should be produced more depending on sales experienced at each season of the year. It is valuable noting that a well-balanced combination of the qualitative and quantitative research methodologies is bound to boost the success of the model selected for trend forecasting.


This paper has attempted to show that the fashion industry has one main purpose; to offer desirable as well as appealing product to not only satisfy the customer needs, demands and aspire to have them but to also keep the product selling in the subsequent business cycles with a similar season. Every successful trend forecast must commence with the consumer through determination of the consumer’s needs to the market as well as the ability to make the consumer adjust the marketplace to his preferences and lifestyles. The paper has also expounded on the two critical methodologies used in forecast research i.e.  the qualitative and quantitative methodologies. It has also emphasized on the need to combine the two methods in order to attain the best results of the model of forecast selected.


Hines, T., & Bruce, M. (Eds.). (2007). Fashion marketing: contemporary issues. Routledge.

Wong, W. K., & Guo, Z. X. (2010). A hybrid intelligent model for medium-term sales forecasting in fashion retail supply chains using extreme learning machine and harmony search algorithm. International Journal of Production Economics, 128(2), 614-624.

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Mixed Method Research Design

The Mixed Method in Research Design

The mixed method approach to evaluating research data may be applicable to studies that are designed to gather both qualitative and quantitative information. This technique is often used in disciplines such as psychology, sociology or certain types of medicine. The continued development of these fields may depend on data that is derived from standardized scales or rating systems in addition to that gleaned from interviews, ‘focus group’ sessions and other similar tools. Therefore, the mixed method may be appropriate in a new project on a complex issue or situation that generates complex and highly individualized answers to research questions. Examples of these may include the societal impact of homelessness or the treatment of a lost or diminished sense. The data here may need to cover detailed and varied feedback (or ‘self-reports’) on the effect(s) of these target variables, as well as scores from formal quantitative tools typically used within the research community in question. One data type does not give a complete ‘picture’ of the outcome(s) without the other. Therefore, a methodology that incorporates both to analyse the data set as a whole is necessary.

The mixed method may combine and synthesize this data through a process called triangulation. This may involve the conversion of qualitative data into quantitative data. Such a form of triangulation is most applicable to data resulting from the administration of structured interviews or surveys, provided that data is sufficiently standard or homogeneous across respondents to be coded or scored effectively (i.e. without bias or other forms or statistical inadequacy). In this way, it may be converted to quantitative data, and compared or analysed in accordance with the requirements of the study design (e.g. subjected to a form of analysis such as a paired t-test). On the other hand, the qualitative data may be too individualized and/or complex to be coded. In this case, a thematic analytical technique may be used, incorporating findings such as significant differences among the quantitative data points as a theme or concept.

Mixed Method Research Design
Mixed Method Research Design

The aim of triangulation is the full integration of both data types to generate contiguous concepts or conclusions. This leads to another advantage of the mixed method: i.e. that it can address research aims that do not stem from standard null hypotheses. Questions, in other words, along the lines of ‘Does this novel treatment result in an improvement in the life quality of patients with hearing loss?’ rather than statements such as ‘This treatment improves hearing loss [in comparison to an existing alternative]’ to be confirmed or denied.

The mixed method is not, however, without disadvantages or detractors. Critics of this methodology often cite the risk of the ‘incompatibility paradox’; the probability that one data type will be inadequately analysed compared to the other. A prominent example of this risk is known as ‘pragmatism’, or the perception that researchers who use the mixed method value ‘experiential data’ (i.e. self-reports recorded from respondents) at the expense of quantitative data. The use of the mixed method may also be subject to preconceptions, judgement or other forms of observer bias that a researcher may impose on qualitative data in the course of its collection. These risks can be ameliorated, mainly through the skill and training of the individual researcher. Under these conditions, the mixed-method technique can be applied to generating full, comprehensive conclusions for non-standard research questions.

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Brown RA, Kennedy DP, Tucker JS, Golinelli D, Wenzel SL. Monogamy on the Street: A Mixed Methods Study of Homeless Men. Journal of Mixed Methods Research. 2013;7(4):328-346

Windsor LC. Using Concept Mapping in Community-Based Participatory Research A Mixed Methods Approach. Journal of mixed methods research. 2013;7(3):274-293

Robson C. Real World Research. 2 ed. Oxford: Blackwell; 2002

Mertens DM, Hesse-Biber S. Triangulation and Mixed Methods Research: Provocative Positions. Journal of Mixed Methods Research. 2012;6(2):75-79

Lieber E, Weisner TS. Meeting the practical challenges of mixed methods research. SAGE handbook of mixed methods in social and behavioral research. 2010;2:559-579

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