Approaches for Research Dissertations

Qualitative or Quantitative?

Approaches for all research, whether qualitative or quantitative, requires interpretation and contextualization by the researcher. Narrative statements or a series of figures will not give the answer to the research question or statement (hypothesis) by themselves.

Therefore it is important to choose a research approach (or approaches) that will give the correct ‘type’ of data to answer your research question.

A number of approaches are available when gathering data, but these don’t have to be used in isolation. For instance a focus group can elicit viewpoints which may need exploring further will a larger research cohort using a closed question survey. For this reason, it is important to plan your approach thoroughly before you start, to ensure your research question can be answered and to let your respondees know what is expected of them.

Don’t forget that whichever research method is chosen, it needs to have a robust ethics form that has been approved before contacting participants and starting to gather data.

Approaches that can be used:

Focus groups

This is where a group of people discuss a particular problem, facilitated by the researcher. The group interaction and the sharing of ideas not only means that rich and meaningful data can be pulled out from the focus group but also during the course of the focus groups, ideas can be co-constructed between participants which can be used to further the depth of research.

Structured interviews

When using structured interviews, the questions are written beforehand and are strictly adhered to regardless of the answer.

Semi-structured interviews

Whilst pre written questions are also used in semi structured interviews, this approach allows for the researcher to spontaneously build on answers given, allowing the base question to be answered but also elaborating on any areas which may impact on the research answer.


Surveys are an excellent way to reach a large number of people. This approach works if there is a clear idea of the questions that will elicit research to support the hypothesis. A mix of qualitative (open text fields) or quantitative (set questions and answers) can be used.

Case study

This approach is valuable when more in depth research is required and allows the researcher to investigate the issues in the place or time that they occur. The researcher will observe the participant and often will have follow up meetings to clarify or build on the information gained.

Narrative enquiry

This method works on the ideology that it is less important what is said, then how it is said. The story a participant will tell may not be entirely factual but it will be their perception of what happened which gives greater in sight. This approach is linked to discourse analysis methodology.

Appreciative enquiry (AI)

AI shifts the traditional focus of looking for the negative impacts of an issue and instead approaches the issue from a positive perspective.


Ethnographical methodology requires the researcher to embed themselves in the participatory groups own setting, for a sustained time in order to observe, talk and learn from participants.

There are a number of branches from the ethnographic methodology:

Auto ethnographic

More than just an autobiographical account, an auto-ethnographic researcher should reflect on events and use these to uncover meanings and feelings that a purely narrative account may miss.

Visual ethnographic

Using video, photos and artefacts as the main source of research data rather than supplementing it.


Researchers using this methodology are involved and participants or ‘lurkers’ in virtual groups and communities. Ethical issues need to be carefully considered with this approach.

Soft Systems Methodology (SSM)

Instead of studying isolated issues, SSM is a holistic way of looking at and solving problems. These are often presented in mind map formats, making this a good research methodology for visual learners.

Questions to ask before choosing a research approach:

  1. Will we learn more about this topic using quantitative or qualitative approaches?
  2. Which approach will produce more useful knowledge?
  3. Which will do more good?


Taken from:  Cousin. Glynis, (2009) Researching Learning in Higher Education. Routledge. UK.

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Standardization versus Adaptation International Marketing

Standardization versus Adaptation Debate in International Marketing

In the international business market field, standardization versus adaptation debate is not new, where thus far researchers have not agreed on which strategy is effective to be adopted in international market. Taking a business into international market and successfully selling its products and services can attract a range of challenges. For many years, many multinational corporations make costly mistakes when trying to sell to the global consumers or audience. Such mistakes are mainly described by a lack of awareness of the role and contributions of adaptation and standardization in international markets. This paper seeks to analyse the issues of adaptation (customization) and standardization (global strategy) within international marketing strategies and proposes specific approaches that can help companies compete efficiently and effectively within these global setting.

Available Evidence

Since the start of the 1980s, globalization issue has developed significantly and critical to modern businesses. Globalization has helped in reducing the differences between countries. Both international of businesses and an increasing level of globalization have had a significant impact on how businesses plan and view their global marketing strategy (Wang & Yang, 2011). As a result, various research studies have been done on whether companies need to standardize or adapt certain behaviours in international market. As these multinational businesses start to market their products and services in foreign markets, one important strategic decision is whether to change the marketing strategies and mix to match the unique aspects of each local market or whether to adopt a standardized marketing mix (people, promotion, place, price, product, process management, and physical evidence) and a single marketing strategy in all international markets (Vrontis & Thrassou, 2007)

One consideration shows that markets are becoming more integrated, increasingly more global and similar and consider that the main element to business survival is its capability to standardize. In contrast, the other consideration identifies the challenges in adopting a standardized strategy, and thus, supports market adaptation or customization. Nevertheless, evidence proposes that following adaptation or standardization strategies depends on the positioning and dimensions present in respective international market.

Standardization versus Adaptation

Based on some studies, followers of standardization consider that there is an integration of cultures with the same customer demand and environmental demands across the world. They also state that trade barriers are being reduced and advancements in technology, where multinational companies reveal global integration in their strategies. Under standardization, providing a single strategy for the international market, along with standardizing the marketing mix components, can enable constancy with customers and also reduce costs. Brei, et al (2011) state that businesses managed effectively have shifted away from customizing their products to serving internationally standardized items that are low priced, reliable, functional, and advanced. Brei, et al (2011) further state that businesses can attain long-term success through focusing on what customers need instead of being afraid of the particulars of what customers think they might need.

In contrast, followers of international adaptation strategy focus on the significance of customization. The key base of the adaptation strategy is that when a business enters an international market, it needs to reflect on all environmental aspects, constraints, and factors, such as societies, cultures, different laws, taste, education, occupations, race, climate, and language (Akgün, et al., 2014). Nonetheless, studies have reported significant source of constraints that may be challenging to measure, for example, customs, manners, attitudes, values, religion, aesthetics, education, and cultural variations originated in history, along with variations in legal systems, economics, wants, and needs. Vrontis and Thrassou (2007) stated that multinational corporations need to realize how they should alter their whole marketing strategy and include how they order, distribute, and sell to match the new international or local market demands. It is also very vital to adjust the marketing strategy and mix to fit local preferences and tastes, customer non-equivalent requirements, and special market needs.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Standardization

Global uniformity and standardization have various benefits. First, customers can anticipate similar quality level of any particular brand in all outlets across the globe. Moreover, Hise and Choi (2013) posit that standardization facilitates positive consumer perceptions towards certain product. If companies that have a strong reputation and brand identity decide to follow the standardized approach, they will certainly gain success. In a global setting, positive word-of-mouth can imply an improvement in sales. Another benefit embraces cost reduction that provides the economies of scale (Hise & Choi, 2013). Selling huge amounts of non-adapted, same product and purchasing certain constituents in bulk may help in reducing the cost-per-unit.

Other benefits linked to economies of scale consist of reduced investment costs, marketing operational costs, and enhanced research and development. Additionally, standardization is a rational strategy in an era in which trade barriers are diminishing. Adopting a standardized approach assists multinational businesses to direct their emphasis on a uniformed marketing mix particularly concentrating on one single product or service, enabling adequate space for quality improvement. By focusing on one single uniformed product, employees will be trained to improve the product quality, which enables manufacturers to make equipment and technological investment that can protect the quality of the standardized product being served.

Nevertheless, standardization poses a range of shortcomings. Aforementioned, different international markets mean different consumer’s preferences. As a result, selling or offering one unified item poses lack of uniqueness. This enables competition to acquire bigger market share through adjusting their products to fit the need of a certain segment or market. Given that different markets have varied tastes and needs, by adopting the standardized strategy, businesses can become more at risk. One company example is Walmart’s failure when it entered international markets (Kim, 2008). Walmart encountered various challenges when it entered foreign markets such as Japan, South Korea, Brazil, and Germany as it realized that its recipe for success in the US (a huge set of merchandise, inventory control, and low prices) did not actually activate the same level of success in foreign markets with shoppers with varied habits and own discount chains. The key problem for the retail giant was that the company tried to inflict its values globally. Particularly, Walmart’s incident is Germany, where the company lost large sum of dollar as of 1998, has become an example or reference point for how not to expand internationally.

Another disadvantage is that it relies mainly on economies of scale. In nature, companies that are global often engage in manufacturing in various countries. This may also pose a great problem because some countries adopt trade barriers such as the EU and the US (Dimitrova & Rosenbloom, 2010). For such a case, adaptation is predetermined. However, even though the standardization strategy is more used, its adoption is not absolute. Standardization approach raises the performance of a firm. Nevertheless, this is only true for businesses where competition occurs in a global range, such as perfumes, luxury goods, fashion, electronics, consumer durables, among others. In such cases, similar product may be sold across all markets. In contrast, there are other sectors where this same action does not apply and thus, this needs to be considered.

standardization versus adaptation of international advertising strategies
standardization versus adaptation of international advertising strategies

Moreover, consumer non-durables, such as food products, are highly responsive to variations in national habits and tastes, making the companies to consider some adjustments to fit different markets. For instance, Unilever realized a greater opportunity among Indian low-income consumers who intended to purchase personal care products and high-end detergents, but might not afford them. To respond to this, Unilever produced a low-cost packaging product and various other alternatives that enabled it to provide radically cheaper alternatives. According to Theodosiou and Leonidou (2003), such a flexibility not only increase a new market for the business, but enabled also it to produce brand loyalty that customers benefit from it when their income increased and might afford higher-end products from similar manufacturer.

There are some questions which most businesses in the international market expansion need to answer: what products do we aim to standardize? And do we standardize distribution channels, pricing, marketing communications, product support and customer service? The answer to such questions need to either all adapted or all standardized.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Adaptation

Customization is also commonly considered an adaptation. Moreover, product adaptation is more applicable in the case in which: (1) there is an intense competition, compelling differentiation of products; (2) there is a considerable variations in consumer wants and needs; and (3) to meet essential host country requirements, including legal, technical, and packaging issues. These are also essential reasons for product adaptation and modification; literacy, customer lifestyle, and consumer’s income level.

The key arguments towards implementing adaptation approach is that it entails the individual approach as it enables the company to be aware of the preferences, wants, and needs of each market or consumer. Followers of adaptation strategy credibly support the idea that there is a considerable variation in consumer’s lifestyle, political system, regulations and rules, economic condition, culture, and consumer belief and values across the globe. Such elements need to be reflected on for the success of the company (Hussain & Khan, 2013). The application of adaptation marketing strategy supports the companies to gain an increased competitive advantage. In addition, the ultimate aim of a business needs not to be the cost reduction using standardization, but the actual long-term corporate profitability through improved sales attributable to the enhanced use of the differing consumer needs globally.

Poturak & Duman( 2014) assert that the followers of standardization does not possess the conventional knowledge of contemporary marketing. Irrespective of various arguments of improved consumer homogeneity, various studies have reported that consumers are becoming progressively more complex or diverse and do not essentially intend to substitute quality over price. Moreover, product modification or adaptation approach will results in a boost in sales volume of the company in international market; by highly meeting the wants and needs of the consumers, but reflecting on the competing companies; and by also retention of the current customers through frequently updating the product.

There are also certain drawbacks of product adaptation or modification of different marketing strategy, including duplication of the practices across the company and additional cost needed for the promotional practices. In this strategy, the company will need extra resources for research and development. The increased costs are attributable to defender fights and developments, which are also more risky. Moreover, companies may lack knowledge and experience regarding the technical elements of the different products and understanding on how to market a product (Hossain & Yazdanifard, 2015). This strategy also promotes decentralization of management.

Most Appropriate Strategy

These two strategies emerge to be coherent, logical, and rational, outlining the benefits that a company intending to expand internationally can acquire through implementing either strategy. When an international company puts forth all its efforts of the extreme side of either strategy, it normally becomes incoherent and unfeasible. The point is that marketing for international companies is not based on either of the two opposite strategies, since both strategies are probably to coexist, even in similar multinational company, brand, and product line (Rocha & Silva, 2011).

Vrontis and Thrassou (2007) stated that standardizing some components of the marketing mix, while adapting other components to differing market conditions is required. Adaptation and standardization should not be considered an ‘all or nothing’ proposal; rather it should be considered a matter of degree. For instance, diversity across various countries and markets does not enable whole standardization. Nevertheless, Schilke, et al. (2009) opines that higher cost associated to adaptation can limit the application of adaptation strategy. Wei and Yazdanifard (2014) focus on three factors to analyse adaptation and standardization practices: transferability of competitive advantage; homogeneity of various consumers’ reponse towards the marketing mix; and similarities in the level of economic freedom.

Schilke, et al. (2009) point out that even in markets or countries with the same cultures, such as across the EU, there are variations in customer wants and needs. In addition, they state that standardization will be effective when the customer response homogeneity and the level of sameness in economic freedom are higher, with easily transferable competitive advantages. Components of both strategies need to be integrated so that it can enable international companies to achieve desirable success. Acquiring the benefits of both strategies needs various firms to not only standardize different components of marketing strategies and marketing mix, but to implement also adaptation when needed with the aim of meeting the evident market needs (Batraga & Pūķe, 2015).

McDonald’s Case Study

An example of a major corporation that has been able to demonstrate the benefits of both adaptation and standardization strategy is McDonald’s. With around 35,000 restaurants in around 120 countries globally, McDonald’s competently manages its franchise system, providing an outstandingly reliable branding and customer experience, while also enabling for locally appropriate service and menu differentiations in segments or markets globally. Moreover, all advertisements are provided in twelve different languages, characterizing the tailored products organized to each region or market (Vignali, 2001). McDonald’s launched the McArabia (a flatbread sandwich product) in 2003, to its outlets in the Middle East. In addition, in India, it launched the McVeggie, while introducing EBI-Fillet-O shrimp in Japanese markets.

The company also selects convenient locations for its franchises, which include local neighbourhoods, airports, and malls. Such marketing strategies have proven to be efficient, showed by the company’s 8% increase in profit margins within the last five years. Nonetheless, McDonald’s has placed various efforts to improve them using the latest marketing practices in regards to the 7Ps. The company has started to modernize its eateries, shifting from a plastic-appearance to a more wood and brick design with the aim of sustaining a modern image (Yeu, et al., 2012). McDonald’s has also chosen to “re-image” its business operations in their advertisements through integrating a hip-hop theme with young generation icons such as Lee Hom and Justin Timberlake in China as a way of attracting young people. Moreover, this company has started to serve healthier foods (e.g. oatmeal), provided consumers are highly health conscious.

Conclusion on Standardization versus Adaptation

The regular topic in international marketing is whether multinational firms need to plan for adapted or standardized marketing strategy is immensely debated in scholarly setting and is a major issue to all multinational firms and marketing individuals. Followers of standardized strategy state that the international market has become homogenized and thus, these firms can market their commodities similarly across the globe. Using similar approaches will lead to higher margins and reduced costs. On the contrast, followers of the adaptation strategy focus on the evident differences between the markets of various countries and markets, particularly those for consumer goods, and favour adopting global differentiated marketing initiatives

This paper listed some advantages and disadvantages of every strategy, suggesting that the solution to an effective market strategy lies between these two extreme strategies. Firms can promote a strong international marketing strategy with the relevant structure, attitude, and operating behaviours that attain an effective and efficient balance between standardization versus adaptation approaches. Companies intending to expand internationally need not to treat the world as one singular market. Rather, they should initiate market research and establish their customers, and their wants and needs.


Akgün, A. E., Keskin, H., & Ayar, H. 2014. Standardization versus Adaptation of International Marketing Mix Activities: A Case Study. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 150(15), pp.609–618.

Batraga, A., & Pūķe, I. 2015. Integrating Standardization versus Adaptation in International Marketing Strategies: Companies in Latvia. Proceedings of the 2015 International Conference, pp.27-36.

Brei, V., D’Avila, L., Camargo, L., & Engels, J. 2011. The Influence of Adaptation and Standardization of the Marketing Mix on Performance: a Meta-Analysis. BAR, Curitiba, 8(3), pp.266-287.

Dimitrova, B., & Rosenbloom, B. 2010. Standardization Versus Adaptation in Global Markets: Is Channel Strategy Different? Journal of Marketing Channels, 17(2), pp. 157-176.

Hise, R., & Choi, Y.-T. 2013. Are US companies employing standardization versus adaptation strategies in their international markets? Journal of International Business and Cultural Studies, 1-29.

Hossain, A., & Yazdanifard, R. 2015. Which One of Standardization or Customization Works the Best When It Comes to Online Marketing? American Journal of Industrial and Business Management, 5, pp.45-52.

Hussain, A., & Khan, S. 2013. International Marketing Strategy: Standardization versus Adaptation. Management and Administrative Sciences Review, 2(4), pp.353-359.

Kim, R. 2008. Wal-Mart Korea: Challenges of Entering a Foreign Market. Journal of Asia-Pacific Business, 9(4), pp.344-357.

Poturak, M., & Duman, T. 2014. The Role of Marketing Standardization versus Adaptation Strategies on Managers’ Satisfaction with Export Performance: Proposal of a Conceptual Framework. European Journal of Economic Studies, 10(4), pp. 252-262.

Rocha, T. V., & Silva, S. C. 2011. The Standardization versus Adaptation Dilemma: The Case of an American Company in Brazil. Internext – Revista Eletrônica de Negócios Internacionais da ESPM, 6(1), pp.63-83.

Schilke, O., Reimann, M., & Thomas, J. 2009. When Does International Marketing Standardization Matter to Firm Performance? Journal of International Marketing, 17(4), pp. 24–46.

Theodosiou, M., & Leonidou, L. 2003. Standardization versus adaptation of international marketing strategy: an integrative assessment of the empirical research. International Business Review, 12, pp.141–171.

Vignali, C. 2001. McDonald’s: “think global, act local” – the marketing mix. British Food Journal, 103(2), pp.97 -111.

Vrontis, D., & Thrassou, A. 2007. Adaptation versus standardization in international marketing – the country-of-origin effect. Innovative Marketing, 2(3), pp.7-20.

Wang, X., & Yang, Z. 2011. Standardization or Adaptation in International Advertising Strategies: The Roles of Brand Personality and Country-Of-Origin Image. Asian Journal of Business Research, 1(2), pp.25-36.

Wei, S., & Yazdanifard, R. 2014. Comparison on the Impact of Standardization and Adaptation on International Marketing. Journal of Research in Marketing, 3(1), pp. 250-259.

Yeu, C., Leong, K., & Tong, L. 2012. A Comparative Study on International Marketing Mix in China and India: The Case of McDonald’s. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 65, pp.1054–1059.

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Currency Crisis Cause and Resolution

Currency Crisis

Currency crises are rapid and unpredictable decline in the value of the currency of a nation. The crises are often more severe if the country involved uses a fixed exchange rate than if the country has a flexible exchange rate since the monetary authority will be forced to abandon the fixed rate. Currency crises usually increase by selling pressure of a currency and can only be remedied through devaluation or establishing a new exchange rate at a sufficiently depreciated level. Several countries have experienced currency crises which are caused by different factors. One of the most severe currency crisis occurred in Mexico between 1994 and 1995. The crises led to huge massive economic crises that forced the Mexican government to seek assistance from the United States and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) (Carbaugh, 2016). The essay herein will, therefore, examine the sources of currency crises in Mexico and the specific resolution and also including some other countries that have experienced currency crisis such as Russia and Turkey.

Mexico Currency Crisis (1994-1995)

Before the 1994 Mexico currency crises, the central bank of Mexico maintained the value of peso within a depreciated band of four percent every year against the U.S. dollar. In 1994, the Central bank decided to issue debt that is linked to the US dollar as a way to reduce interest rates on debts. The debts kept rising until it exceeded the central bank’s falling foreign exchange reserves which led to the currency crises. Despite the government responding by devaluing the currency by 15 percent, the crises continued until 1995. The continued selling pressure on the currency forced the monetary authorities to withdraw support in foreign exchange markets as foreign reserves of the Bank of Mexico fell. Although the severity of the Mexican currency crisis in 1994 was unprecedented, Mexico’s history on exchange rate policy has been characterized by the duration of both fixed exchange rate and flexible exchange rates (Ötker et al., 1995). The devaluation registered by Mexico is the largest depreciation of the currency of a country within one year.

When the currency crises occurred, there was little information about the possibility of its occurrence. The crises were somehow similar to the debt crisis that occurred between 1982 and 1983. Several assessments have been conducted to establish the main cause of the situation, and most of them reveal that it was contributed by the exchange rate policy of Mexican monetary authorities. The other cause identified through the assessment is the excessive use of short maturity tesobonos for deficit financing. Tesobonos is a peso-dominated bond which is issued by the government of Mexico and the coupons associated with it are indexed to the United States dollar. The Mexican government issued the tesobonos as a way to convince the international investors to buy Mexican debt that is exempted from risks associated with currency exchange. The investors are therefore immune to the effects of changes in the dollar value of the peso between the period of purchase and redemption. The risk associated with the change of currency is therefore carried by the Mexican government and not the investors. For instance, if the value of peso depreciated during the period of purchase and redemption, the Mexican government and the taxpayers would be liable for the losses.

According to the international economic statistics that were available before the crises, the Mexican government had the chance to evade the crises if the monetary authorities had information about the actual state of Mexican reserves. At the beginning of 1994, the Mexican reserves were at around $25 billion, but towards the ends of the year, the reserves had reduced to about $5 billion (Tavlas, 1997). The existing reserves were insufficient to meet the existing financial obligations. Furthermore, a default was considered to be a perilous move for the stability of the international financial markets. The deficit, therefore, led to the currency crisis. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) failed to provide the Mexican authorities with information about the decline in the reserves. Following the crisis, the IMF has resolved to closely monitor the financial reserves of developing countries to avert the occurrence of a currency crisis. The IMF has also resorted to providing early warning indicators to avoid the occurrence of a currency crisis in any nation.

Currency Crisis
Currency Crisis

Mexico has a great deal of the forms of direct capital investment in 1994, but it was not sufficient. The government was receiving massive amounts of money through stock-brokers who were motivated by the quick returns which were about 20 percent annually. The investment bankers and the stock-brokers were ready to exit Mexico as soon as the crisis begun thereby increasing the magnitude of economic damage. The troubles of Mexico extended from insufficient reserves, inability to service the debts, and incapability to generate profits on the equity capital. The crises also contributed to other social and political problems such as the Chiaspas rebellion at the beginning of 1994 (Tavlas, 1997). The political issues made the foreign investors take their money out of Mexico thereby broadening the implications of the crisis. The implications of the crises forced the Mexican government to seek assistance from the International Monetary Fund and the United States government.

According to Gil-Diaz (1998), the currency crisis in Mexico was contributed by the execution of the privation of the public enterprises and the deregulation of the Mexican banking sector. He concluded that the confiscation of the banking sector followed by subsequent privatization in 1991-1992 is the cause of the currency crisis. The Mexican monetary authorities made the deregulation of the banking sector without due consideration about the implications that it would have on the federal reserves. The decision later resulted in an increase in unpaid debts to the banks. The currency was then triggered by the Mexican government in 1994 because of the economic decisions. The crisis was determined by the fragility of the banking system and not the macroeconomic factors as indicators by other researchers. Three years before the crisis, the Mexican peso was overvalued which also resulted in economic pressure. The monetary policy that was passed by the Mexican authorities was inappropriate because the Federal Reserve was raising the interest rate while the Bank of Mexico maintained the existing rates. It, therefore, made the investors leave increasing pressure on the reserves.

The Mexican currency crisis had a regional effect through a contagion in various markets such as Brazil, Argentina, Asia, and Thailand; the effect was referred to as the “Tequila effect.” The crisis affected both the stock market and the foreign exchange market. Only the countries that had high economic fundamentals were exempted from the effects of the crisis. The Mexican government responded to the adverse situation by requesting for loans from different countries and international bodies among them being the United States, the International Monetary Fund, and the Bank for International Settlements. In the end, Mexican government managed to secure a loan totaling to $50billion that was used to meet the financial obligations. However, the move by the government to ask for loans received criticism from some of the European authorities that considered the move to be a moral hazard.

The Mexican government continued to resolve the crisis by implementing a severe adjustment program. Some of the strategies in the program included reducing the public spending, increasing the value added tax from 10 percent to 15 percent, and raising the prices of all the public goods and services. The program worsened the situation in Mexico as the Gross Domestic Product dropped by 6.5 percent and inflation increased by 50 percent. Furthermore, the banking system collapsed thereby forcing the government to use public funds in the rescue. The government also changed the exchange rate from fixed to flexible. Later, a law was passed that would only allow the government budget to be approved if the deficit is zero to prevent further lending. The initiative had positive implications in the GDP because of the increased exports of products to the United States. Through the Banking Fund for the Protection of Savings, the government was able to bail out the banking system that had collapsed.  Years later, the government decided to sell the Mexican banks to the international financial groups. Presently, there is only one Mexican bank as foreign investors own the rest.

One of the international institutions that played a role in rescuing Mexico was the International Monetary Fund. The IMF is responsible for providing loans to nations that are in financial deficit. The loans are usually issued following an agreement between the nation and IMF. The IMF responded to the crisis by providing a loan to the Mexican government through the U.S Treasury as a way to protect the foreign banks and other existing financial institutions. The various government also played a vital role in rescuing the currency crisis among them being the United States and Canada. The U.S. has had a long outstanding relationship with Mexico, and it is also the largest trading partner. Although the Federal Service Bank contributed to the crisis by increasing the interest rate, the United States assisted the Mexican government with loans to end the crisis. On the other hand, Canadian government through the North American Framework Agreement (NAFA) contributed funds beyond what had been collected at the time of occurrence of the crisis.

Russia Currency Crisis (1998)

Russia was severely hit by a currency crisis in 1998 that left both the economic and financial system in crisis. According to Gerry & Li (2002), the financial crisis begun in August 1997 when the Russian government defaulted on its domestic financial and economic systems. The duration was characterized by an increase in inflation, high levels of unemployment, and shanking of the economy. Although the crisis lasted for a short period, Russian who was living in the urban areas were severely hit. Globalization and uncontrolled speculation in the financial markets is one of the leading contributors to a currency crisis in the developing countries. The rise in the amount of capital that is flowing in the international financial systems as a result of globalization has had negative impacts on the economies of different countries. The crisis is caused by failures of certain sectors of the economy in the countries involved which later spreads to other countries through contagion and spill-over effects. For instance, the Asian currency crisis spread through contagion and spillovers to other countries such as Thailand in 1997 and later to Russia in 1998. Therefore, Asia is one of the causes of the Russian crisis although research shows that there is a little linkage between the crises that hit the two countries.

The Russian crisis can also be attributed to both political and economic factors. The Russian government triggered the crisis by selling the GKOs and OFZs which denominated debt instruments and coupon bonds after the fall of USSR. The Russian government then started experiencing problems that had negative implications on both the financial and the economic systems. The Russian government responded by converting the Ruble dominated instruments into US dollar-dominated Eurobonds to alleviate the risks involved. The Russian government continued borrowing from external sources that later raised concerns of its default exposure as foreign investors decided to cut their connection with the Russian debt, equity, and commodity market because of lack of confidence. The withdrawal of investors from Russia economy reduced the government capability to finance the debts thereby causing a currency crisis. According to the reports provided by the Economic Intelligence Unit (1998) in 1998, 30 percent of the Russian expenditure was used to service the short-term debts that the government had secured from other governments and international institutions. Therefore, high levels of debts are one of the causes of a currency crisis in Russia.

Russian Currency crisis was also caused nu the fall in the value of the Rule, weak banking system, and the reduction in the level of the foreign reserves. The Russian government tried to remedy the situation through the Central Bank by pegging the Russian Ruble to the US dollar with a narrow band. Several other studies have been conducted to establish the causes of the Russian financial crisis which had serious consequences to the economic and financial systems of other countries such as Turkey, Ukraine, and Moldova. The devaluation of the Russian Ruble also had negative implications on the Russia banks regarding assets and liabilities. There was also a reduction in the foreign exchange contracts because of the increase in the value of liabilities. Furthermore, the Russian government debts such as bonds and treasury bills that were used assets were reduced to worthless assets because of the defaults. As a result, most banks were closed which made a majority of the Russians to lose their savings. Lastly, the crisis caused political fallouts and frequent demonstrations of workers who were demanding a pay rise (Margolin, 2000).

The Russian currency crisis was resolved after intervention by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which has the mandate of monitoring the economic and development policies enacted by various nations. The other responsibilities of the international body are to lend money to countries that are experiencing financial challenges and provision of technical assistance regarding research and training to countries that are in need. The IMF intervened in the Russian crisis by lending money that would help the government to escape the financial collapse. Despite the IMF lending money to the Russian government, the situation was already out of control since the money could only be used to take care of the short-term debts but not offer a permanent solution to the difficult situation.

For a country to survive a financial crisis, it requires a plan for the aid to be used in a manner that will help escape the situation. It is an excellent idea for the international body to issue financial aid, but the Russian government was not prepared to use the funds to evade the crisis. The government had lost control of the situation, and therefore it required more than financial aid to help the situations. The Russian government responded by coming up with a plan that would ensure the crisis does not happen again. The funds issued by the IMF were used in rescuing the banking system which plays a vital role in maintaining economic growth in a nation.


A currency crisis is one of the challenges that has been experienced by several countries especially the developing countries. Among the countries that have been affected by currency crisis include Mexico between 1994 and 1995, Russia in 1998, and Thailand in 1997. The crisis has severe implications on the economic and financial systems of an economy. The causes of the crisis vary from one nation to another, for instance, the crisis in Mexico was caused by reducing the level of Federal Reserve while excessive borrowing caused the Russian crisis. Once the countries are caught in such difficult situations, it the responsibility of the international bodies and other government to assist in escaping the situation. International Monetary Fund played a vital role in helping the above-discussed countries escape the harsh implication of currency crisis. The United States and Canada through the North American Framework Agreement (NAFA) assisted Mexico financial aid in helping rescue the situation.


Carbaugh, R. (2016). International Economics. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Economist Intelligence Unit (1998). Russia: Country Report. London. pp. 42.

Gery, C. J. & Li, C. A. 2002. Vulnerability to welfare change during economic shocks: evidence from the 1998 Russian Crisis. Working Paper. University of Essex, Department of Economics, Discussion Papers.

Gil-Díaz, F. (1998). The Origin of Mexico’s 1994 Financial Crisis. Cato Journal, 17 (3), pp. 303-313.

Margolin, R. (2000). The Russian Financial Crisis: from craze to crash. The Stern Journal, New York University.

Ötker, I., Pazarbaşioğlu, C., International Monetary Fund, & International Monetary Fund. (1995). Speculative attacks and currency crisis: The Mexican experience. Washington, D.C.: International Monetary Fund, Treasurer’s Dept. and Monetary and Exchange Affairs Dept.

Tavlas, G. S. (1997). The Collapse of Exchange Rate Regimes: Causes, Consequences and Policy Responses. Boston, MA: Springer US.

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Brand Management Reputation Marketing

Reputation and Brand Management

Title: Reputation and Brand Management. In the recent years, some companies have been paying little attention to managing their reputations. Although the image of some companies is at risk, they do not see the risk posed by the loss of reputation (Issacharoff & Rave 2013). The BP oil spill accident was one of the largest environmental crises to happen in the recent times because it affected both the marine life and the human sector (Issacharoff & Rave 2013). Although this accident may not have affected the company directly in terms of financial performance, it lost part of its reputation. The company spent a lot of money on restoring the undermined image, although its efforts were not largely successful. The reputation of BP was made even worse by the responses given by the CEO Tony Hayward (Economist, 2018). In particular, the CEO tried to shift blame to other parties without taking full responsibility and making the necessary efforts to curb the situation.

Despite some of the bad remarks made by Hayward, when the accident happened, the company tried as much possible to curb the situation. Even James Ross, the Chairman of BP in the U.S., decided to go to the scene and estimate the level of the accident in order to see how the damage can be minimized. In just two hours after the accident had occurred, BP opted to send skimming team to the accident scene (Du, 2012). In addition, after 24 hours, BP had had already sent about 36 specialists to the site, which was a crucial step due to the fact that it reduced damage which has been caused to the company’s reputation. The measures taken succeeded in one way or the other. The company should have focused further on how to deal with the situation instead of spending a lot of money on PR exercise.

Volkswagen Company in 2015 was involved in emission scandal, whereby EPA issued a statement stating the company had greatly violated the Air Act (Ewing, 2015). According to the report released by EPA, it is clear that their TDI engines emitted a few poisonous gases after conducting a laboratory test, whereby in the real sense it was not the case because these engines emitted about 40 times more poisonous gases (Benjamin, 2018). The scandal affected the reputation of the company because the diesel emissions from the engines made by Volkswagen are not currently considered suitable due to not being environmentally friendly.

In order to solve the problem, Volkswagen came up with ways of reducing the diesel emissions. First of all, the company acknowledged the fact that they were involved in manipulating the tests conducted to investigate the vehicle emissions. The CEO himself apologized to the customers by admitting that the scandal had completely damaged the public trust and customers as a whole (Zhang et al., 2016). In addition, the company decided to pay the fine as result of damage caused by the diesel emissions, although it was costly to the whole organization. The effort made by the company to compensate for the damage caused by the pollution proved to be important because after some time, Volkswagen started to regain its lost customers sales, brand management and Reputation.

Brand Management Reputation Marketing

Also, Wells Fargo scandal was one of the biggest financial crimes committed ever, whereby the bank intentionally created more than 2 million fake accounts (Corkery, 2013). According to the report conducted in 2016, it was clear that this scandal inflicted a lot of damage to the Company because its reputation was largely damaged. For example, negative perception towards the bank increased from 15% to 52% after the criminal activity was revealed, which means that the bank had to witness decreased loyalty and the number of customers as result of the scandal (Corkery, 2013). Most of the customers started leaving the bank because it had already lost its reputation.

Brand Management Dissertation
Brand Management Dissertation

Further, the management of the bank tried as much as possible to restore its image at all cost. For example, after the occurrence of the scandal, it decided to pay compensations to some victims. The bank wasted significant costs on settling the damage done to its reputation by the scandal. For example, it had to pay $ 185 million in order to settle the charges resulting from the manipulation (Mims, 2017). In addition, the bank paid 570,000 customers, whom the company claimed to have taken car loans without their permission (Mims, 2017). After making efforts to compensate the affected customers, the bank’s activity started to alleviate the situation. For example, it managed to win back the faith of some of the loyal customers. In addition, the reputation of the company started to improve to some extent because it made efforts to rectify the fault.


Corkery, M. Wells Fargo Struggling in the aftermath of Fraud Scandal. The New York Times, 2013.

Du, S., & Vieira, E. T. Striving for Legitimacy through Corporate Social Responsibility and Brand Management: Insights From Oil Companies. Journal of Business Ethics, 110 (4), 2012: 413-427.

Economist. “A year on, Wells Fargo cannot shake off its mis-selling scandal”, 2018.

Ewing, J. Volkswagen says 11 Million Cars Worldwide are Affected in Diesel Deception. The New York Times, 2015.

Issacharoff, S., & Rave, D. T. The BP Oil Spill Settlement and the Paradox of Public Litigation. Louisiana Law Review 74(2) 2013: 397.

Kervyn, N., Chan, E., Malone, C., Korpusik, A., & Ybarra, O. Not All Disasters are Equal in the Public’s Eye: The Negativity Effect on Warmth in Brand Management Perception. Social Cognition 32(3) 2014: 256-275.

Mims, J. H. The Wells Fargo Scandal and Efforts to Reform Incentive-Based Compensation in Financial Institutions. NC Banking Institute 2(1) 2017: 429.

Preston, Benjamin. “Volkswagen Scandal Tarnishes Hard-Won US Reputation as Green Company.” The Guardian, 2018.

Zhang, B., Veijalainen, J., & Kotkov, D. (2016). Volkswagen Emission Crisis: Managing Stakeholder Relations on the Web. In Webist 2016: Proceedings of the 12th International conference on web information systems and technologies. Volume 1. Scitepress, 2016

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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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Did you find any useful knowledge relating to a dissertation literature review in this post? What are the key facts that grabbed your attention? Let us know in the comments. Thank you.