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How to write literature review for dissertation

how to write a literature review in dissertation

Literature review chapters in dissertations tend to account for around 10 to 15% of these types of papers. In certain dissertations, however, this chapter can take up a significantly larger amount of the paper. For example, papers about nursing and medicine can have quite long literature reviews. Writing a literature review is the writer’s opportunity to showcase how deeply they have read up on their subject and to show how their work is supported by the opinions of existing experts and how it builds on the work done by other scholars and experts.

However, you should not think of a literature review as merely repeating the words and opinions of other people. Certainly, it is not nearly enough to simply list the names of up to twenty articles and/or books and to restate what the author of each has said. Instead, your task is to analyze what has been written and connect this to your dissertation’s question in a direct and exacting manner (as your dissertation progresses, the questions may change – in subtle ways – so you need to leave time at the end to review the introduction you have written).

What should you include in your literature review chapter?

When reviewing the literature and writing about your findings, you should demonstrate that you fully understand how existing written materials in the field your study concerns are related to your own work and how you are building on these materials. Regardless of what you think, you are not working blindly. Neither, however, is your work likely to be absolutely new and unique. Hence, a literature review provides a type of foundation in which you can base and ground your research work and put it in its context in the wider sphere of academic writing. Doing things this way gives you the opportunity to examine and review any existing scholarly debates concerning your subject.

You should not blatantly say the thinking or views of another scholar or subject matter expert are wrong. This is arrogant, not very polite, and not an academic approach, particularly at the undergraduate stage of education. The piece you are writing is relatively short and the experts you are referring to have probably devoted many years to studying and researching this particular subject. It is, however, acceptable to say that one author thinks another author is wrong and that your work supports the view of one or other (while avoiding using the first person perspective). Accordingly, you can use articles and books from your literature review to advance your argument(s) and beliefs and to counter any arguments you are not convinced by. Nonetheless, drawing on the opinions of other people (using quotes and references) you can take the personal element out of an argument and thereby ensure your work complies with best practice in the field of academic writing. And, most likely, you will reap your reward for this approach.

How to quote different authors or sources in your literature review chapter

When you are writing a literature review there is no need to remark or comment on each and every text you examined or to provide quotes from each article or book you refer to. Nonetheless, the person marking your paper needs to see you really did read the texts you mention or comment on. Students do not usually get top marks for literature review chapters with sentences that are merely comprised of lengthy lists of the names of the authors of texts they have read e.g. “Author A recommends ABC, but authors B, C, D, E, and F do not agree.” Sentences like these suggest the writer has not read much or absorbed much from the texts in question and that they have simply copied authors’ names. Essentially, it would seem they did not engage to any great extent with the texts they have read or referred to.

On the other hand, where a sentence in this type of review states something along the lines of, “Author A recommends ABC while Author C agrees and additionally recommends that (add quotation),” the writer can expect a higher mark by virtue of referencing expert opinion and including a quotation. A sentence such as the following would be even better: Author A recommends ABC; Author C agrees with A and additionally suggests that (include quotation and fully cite the work). In the context of this study, this is essential because the experiments described later on in this paper prove the previous claims of both these authors.

The last example showcases the highest standards in dissertation writing in that it directly connects the literature you have reviewed to your own particular dissertation and demonstrates how your efforts will contribute to and broaden existing knowledge. Furthermore, each sentence is clear and easy to follow, and including a direct quotation shows your marker you have properly read (the relevant section at least) of the article or book you made reference to. Paying careful attention to every detail is what helps to bring high marks for the literature review in a dissertation.

Check an example of literature overview from “What challenges are faced by consumers of online banking?” dissertation. Find more parts of this paper in our blog.

Dissertation Literature Review Example

According to Howe (2012), the Internet was introduced in 1960 as a way of allowing scientists and military personnel to share information. During this time, the Internet was primarily controlled by the government. In 1989, Tim Bernes-Lee introduced the World Wide Web, which made the Internet a public resource. However, home banking is one of the oldest forms of banking. It was introduced even before there were normal banks, let alone the computers. However, the touch-tone telephone, which was mainly used for home banking, lacked a visual interface, which made the banking process cumbersome and unreliable. Therefore, when the Internet was introduced in the 1990s, banks embraced the technology, and most of the customers considered it as the quickest way to make transactions.

Howe asserts that the Internet was commercialized in the early 1990s (Howe 2012). He also adds that the definition of online banking varies from time to time because of the diverse activities through which customers can request for information or carry out retail banking services using the computer, mobile phone, and other electronic devices. For instance, one definition of online banking refers to the connection between a customer and his bank in order to manage or control his financial resources. Another definition proposed by David & Amy (2002) goes that online banking refers to all banking transactions where the customer does not physically visit the bank. Therefore, any electronic transaction qualifies to be a way of online banking (Schneider 2011). One common concept in all definitions is that online banking is electronic and does not necessarily require a physical visit to the bank.

In addition, David & Amy (2002) allege that home banking existed before the Internet technology. For instance, in the 1970s, the touch-tone telephone was used for banking needs. Unfortunately, this technology was not reliable because it did not have a visual interface. Therefore, when the Internet technology was introduced, consumers quickly switched from touch-tone telephone banking.

Nonetheless, Internet banking has also improved by leaps and bounds. For instance, according to Online Banking Security Information (2006), online banking in the late 1990s was restricted to logging into a customer’s bank account and checking the balance. During this time, actual withdrawal, depositing, or transfer of funds had to be conducted by the bank staff. As much as these services were considered to be transformational during that period, they had some restrictions to the customers. However, technology has improved, and consumers can transfer money from one account to another, apply for loans, or pay bills online. This improvement in technology has benefited both the financial institutions and the customers. In general, online banking can be conducted in several ways. The figure 1 below gives a glimpse of different online banking services.

However, as the technology improves, so do the security threats. According to Nilsson et al. (2005), cyber-crime was introduced in the early 2000s. It prompted banks to invest in security measures to protect their clientele and themselves. Thus, the cost of operation of financial institutions in the UK has increased tremendously. A research conducted by Aladwani (2001) about the adoption of online banking is based on security and trust.

The most common methods used by cyber criminals include “looking over the shoulder.” Cybercriminals start by obtaining the log-in details of the user account, and later they use this information to access the account and transfer money to an alternative account. To achieve this, the criminals have come up with a number of methods. The first one is referred to as “over the shoulder looking” method. It is the process of observing the victim keying in the online account details in cyber cafes. Once they have acquired the necessary information, they access the victim’s account and transfer the money to a different account.

Another method is “phishing.” This is when criminals use fake websites and emails in order to impersonate the financial organizations. Therefore, they are able to obtain the victim’s details using lies such as “for security reasons.” Since the victims are not likely to recognize that the emails are not from genuine financial institutions, they quickly respond to them and, therefore, share their important account information. Another method is the “Trojan horse” scheme. It is a complicated computer virus that takes note of every keystroke that a victim makes on his computer. Immediately, the virus recognizes that a banking page has been opened; it captures all the information entered by the user and transfers it to the criminal. As much as banks are trying hard to find the antivirus that can counter this scheme, the criminals get smarter by day and create more sophisticated viruses.

Not every customer is aware of the precautions that should be considered when using online banking. Even those who might know still end up being defrauded by cybercriminals (Tatnall, 2007). Likewise, financial institutions are quickly adopting online banking for retail banking services. However, the idea of introducing online banking does not have to come from the managers.

There has been keen attention on online banking in academic studies.  A number of banking journals have discussed the topic. According to Pew (2003), there are two main reasons why online banking has developed so fast. The first reason is that banks are able to save costs and time. The second reason is that customers are able to access banking services without having to visit the bank premises. Despite the stated advantages, not all customers have embraced online banking in totality.

Kolodinsky, Hogarth and Shue (2002) assert that demographics may determine whether or not people embrace online banking. They argue that customers with higher levels of education and financial assets are more likely to embrace online banking. However, they also found out that customers’ beliefs and attitudes are stronger determinants than demographics. In addition, they argue that gender issues could also determine the use of online banking. This is because women are more concerned about their privacy and ethical standards than men. However, in UK, women and men are considered equals in using online banking.  Such situations raise questions of whether or not gender issues can determine the use of internet banking.

A number of studies have also mentioned convenience as an important adoption factor. One of such studies is that Pew (2003), who found that many customers who did not use online banking argued that they were not concerned with high convenience levels. For them, accessibility was more important than convenience. However, he argues that accessibility justifies convenience.

Technical self-efficiency and adaptability of online technology have also been found to be key determinants of adoption of internet banking. The information banks provide on their website on how to use their online services may influence customers’ decisions. If the banks can explain the benefits of their online services, this could induce customers to see the need to use the services. However, security and risk concerns cannot be overlooked. Most customers, if not all of them, would want to use a service that guarantees the safety of their money. In 2005, it was found that 80% of the cyber-attacks were committed on banking services. In their study, Chung and Paynter (2002) found out that most customers were afraid to use online banking because of security threats. Trust is mainly related to consumers’ judgment on privacy and security issues.

Reference List

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October 27, 2017
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