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i SGS Thesis/Dissertation/Project Handbook UNIVERSITY OF EDUCATION, WINNEBA School of Graduate Studies (SGS) SGS Thesis/Dissertation/Project Handbook: A Guide to the Preparation, Submission and Completion of Degree Requirement

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SGS Thesis/Dissertation/Project Handbook


School of Graduate Studies (SGS)

SGS Thesis/Dissertation/Project Handbook:

A Guide to the Preparation, Submission and
Completion of Degree Requirement




March 2018

SGS Thesis/Dissertation/Project Handbook

Copyright © 2018 UEW School of Graduate Studies.

Published on the Authority of the School of Graduate Studies Board
(SGSB) on behalf of Academic Board, UEW.

School of Graduate Studies Board

School of Graduate Studies

University of Education, Winneba

P. O. Box 25

Faculty Block, 3rd Floor, North Campus


Printed in 2018 by UEW Printing Press, Winneba.

Cover Design and Layout by Stephen Osei Akyiaw

President ,GRASAG-UEW(2016-2017)

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored
in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means,
electronically, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without
the prior written permission of the author.

SGS Thesis/Dissertation/Project Handbook


The University of Education, Winneba owes an enormous debt of
gratitude to Professor Mawutor Avoke who initiated the review of the
policy document, and also to the following Review Committee members
who assisted in reviewing the document; Prof. Jonathan O. Ammah, Prof.
Cosmas W. K. Mereku Prof. Augustine Y. Quarshigah, Mr. Viscount B.
Buer, the University Librarian; Prof. George Kankam, Dean, School of
Graduate Studies. Mr. Ben Duadze, and Mr. Kennth Abban, Senior
Assistant Registrar, SGS

We wish also to acknowledge the immeasurable support of Dr. Jim
Weiler, Dr. Frimpong K. Duku, and Mr. Francis Donkor, Dean, Faculty of
Vocational Education.

SGS Thesis/Dissertation/Project Handbook

SGS Thesis/Dissertation/Project Handbook








What Exactly is a Thesis/Dissertation/Project? 1



1.1 Preliminary Pages or Front Matter 2

1.2.0 Briefs on Preliminaries or Front Matter 3

1.2.1 Cover of the Thesis/Dissertation/Project 3

1.2.2 Fly Leaf 6

1.2.3 Title Page 6

1.2.4 Declaration Information 9

1.2.5 Dedication 10

1.2.6 Acknowledgement(s) 10

1.2.7 Table of Contents 10

1.2.8 List of Tables 11

1.2.9 List of Figures/Plates 11

1.2.10 Glossary/Abbreviations 11

1.2.11 Abstract 11

1.3.0 Typical Thesis/Dissertation/Project Structure 13

1.3.1 Studies Using Quantitative Methodology 13

1.3.2 Studies Using Qualitative Methodology 14

1.3.3 Model-Building Studies 15

1.3.4 Case Studies 15

1.4.0 Briefs on Main Body Components 16

1.4.1 The Dissertation Title 16

1.4.2 Chapter One: Introduction 16

1.4.3 Chapter Two: Literature Review 17

1.4.4 Chapter Three: Research Methodology / Materials and Methods 17

1.4.5 Chapter Four: Results/Findings 17

1.4.6 Chapter Five: Discussion 18

1.4.7 Chapter Six: Summary of Findings, Conclusions and Recommendations 18

SGS Thesis/Dissertation/Project Handbook

1.4.8 References 18

1.5.0 Appendices and Supplemental Materials 18

1.5.1 Appendices 19

1.5.2 Supplemental Materials 20

1.5.3 UEW Link to Online Sources 21



2.1 Paper Quality and Size 23

2.2 Font Type and Size 23

2.3 Page Margins 23

2.4 Paragraph Style 23

2.5.0 Heading Levels 24

2.5.1 Chapter Titles 24

2.5.2 Chapter Headings or Labels 24

2.5.3 Sectional Headings 24

2.5.4 Sub-sectional Headings 25

2.5.5 Sub-sub-sectional Headings 25

2.5.6 Numbering Headings 25

2.6.0 Pagination 26

2.6.1 Preliminary Pages 26

2.6.2 Main Body and Appendices 26



3.1 The Soft Bound Copy of the Thesis 27

3.2 Front Cover Inscriptions 27

3.3 Number of Copies Required for Submission 27

3.4 Submission for PARO’s Format Review 28

3.5 The Hard Bound Copy of the Thesis 28

3.5.1 Colour of Cover for Degree Categories 28

3.5.2 Front Cover Inscriptions 29

3.5.3 The Spine Title Inscription 29

3.6 Binding Musical Composition 31



4.1 Necessity 32

4.2 Relation of Tables or Figures and Text 32

4.3 Documentation 33

SGS Thesis/Dissertation/Project Handbook

4.4 Integrity and Independence 33

4.5 Organization, Consistency and Coherence 33

4.6 Tables Checklist 33

4.7 Examples of Table 34

4.8 Specific Types of Tables 35 Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) Tables 35 Regression 36 Notes in Tables 37 Tables from Other Sources 38

4.2.0 FIGURES 39

4.2.1 Figure Checklist 39

4.2.2 Types of Figures 39

4.2.3 Musical Scores and Excerpts 44

4.2.4 Preparing Figures / Examples 45

4.2.5 Captions and Legends 45



5.1 Overview 46

5.2 Details of a Reference List 48

5.3 Typical Example of a Reference List: 49

5.4 In-text citation 51

5.5 Referencing sources within the text 51

5.6 Electronic items 52

5.7 Referencing secondary sources 53

5.8 Different works of the same author name 54

5.9 Books and book chapters 55

5.9.1 Single author 55

5.9.2 Two authors 55

5.9.3 Three to five authors 55

5.9.4 Six or more authors 56

5.9.5 No author 56

5.9.6 Edited book 56

5.9.7 Chapter, article or section in a book 57

5.9.8 Chapter or article in an edited book 57

5.9.9 E-book 57

5.10 Journal articles, newspaper articles and conference papers 58

5.10.1 Journal article (print version) 58

5.10.2 Journal article (full text from electronic database) 58

SGS Thesis/Dissertation/Project Handbook

5.10.3 Non-English journal article translated into English 59

5.11 Newspaper article 59

5.11.1 Available in print 59

5.11.2 Newspaper article (from electronic database) 59

5.12 Article (from the Internet, not available in print version) 59

5.13 Proceedings of meetings and symposiums, conference papers 60

5.14 Systematic reviews 60

5.15 Audio recording 60

5.16 Australian Bureau of Statistics (AusStats) 61

5.17 Brochure 61

5.18 Government report (online) 61

5.19 Image on the Internet 62

5.20 Lecture (unpublished) / personal communication 62

5.21 Podcast (from the Internet) 62

5.22 Thesis 63

5.23 Video Recording, television broadcast or episode in a series 63

5.24 Video (from the Internet) 63

5.25 Web page / document on the internet 64

5.26 Abbreviations in Citations 65



6.1.0 Final Thesis/Dissertation/Project Submission Deadlines 66

6.1.1 Planning to Meet April Congregation 66

6.1.3 Planning to Meet November Congregation 67

6.1.5 Submitting for External/Internal Examiners’ Evaluation 68

6.2.0 The Oral Defense 69

6.2.1 Helpful Hints: Prior to the Oral Defense 69

6.2.2 During the Oral Defense 71

6.2.3 After the Oral Defense 73

6.2.4 A Typical Oral Defense Programme Outline 73

6.3.0 Oral Examination Grade and Report 75

6.3.1 Oral Defense Grading 75

6.3.2 Final Oral Defense Examination Report and Thesis Revisions 75

6.3.3 Clearance to Bind the Final Hard Bound Copy 76

6.3.4 Post-Defense Hard Bound Copy Submission 77

6.3.5 Submitting the Thesis/Dissertation/Project to the University Library 77

6.3.6 Thesis/dissertation/project Embargo 78


SGS Thesis/Dissertation/Project Handbook



PARO Forms and Information Sheet 81


Sample Thesis/Dissertation Gantt chart for Masters and Doctoral Programmes 82

SGS Thesis/Dissertation/Project Handbook


Table 1: A Frequency Table Showing the Girl-Child’s Relationship to the
Parent ……………………………………………………………………………… 34

Table 2: Sample ANOVA Table ……………………………………………………… 36

Table 3: Regression Table ……………………………………………………………… 37

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Protected Health Information (PHI): Privacy, Security, and Confidentiality Best Practices

Assessment 2 Instructions: Protected Health Information (PHI): Privacy, Security, and Confidentiality Best Practices


  • Prepare a 2-page interprofessional staff update on HIPAA and appropriate social media use in health care.


As you begin to consider the assessment, it would be an excellent choice to complete the Breach of Protected Health Information (PHI) activity. The activity will support your success with the assessment by creating the opportunity for you to test your knowledge of potential privacy, security, and confidentiality violations of protected health information. The activity is not graded and counts towards course engagement.

Health professionals today are increasingly accountable for the use of protected health information (PHI). Various government and regulatory agencies promote and support privacy and security through a variety of activities. Examples include:

  • Meaningful use of electronic health records (EHR).
  • Provision of EHR incentive programs through Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Enforcement of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) rules.
  • Release of educational resources and tools to help providers and hospitals address privacy, security, and confidentiality risks in their practices.

Technological advances, such as the use of social media platforms and applications for patient progress tracking and communication, have provided more access to health information and improved communication between care providers and patients.

At the same time, advances such as these have resulted in more risk for protecting PHI. Nurses typically receive annual training on protecting patient information in their everyday practice. This training usually emphasizes privacy, security, and confidentiality best practices such as:

  • Keeping passwords secure.
  • Logging out of public computers.
  • Sharing patient information only with those directly providing care or who have been granted permission to receive this information.

Today, one of the major risks associated with privacy and confidentiality of patient identity and data relates to social media. Many nurses and other health care providers place themselves at risk when they use social media or other electronic communication systems inappropriately. For example, a Texas nurse was recently terminated for posting patient vaccination information on Facebook. In another case, a New York nurse was terminated for posting an insensitive emergency department photo on her Instagram account.

Health care providers today must develop their skills in mitigating risks to their patients and themselves related to patient information. At the same time, they need to be able distinguish between effective and ineffective uses of social media in health care.

This assessment will require you to develop a staff update for the interprofessional team to encourage team members to protect the privacy, confidentiality, and security of patient information.


To successfully prepare to complete this assessment, complete the following:

  • Review the infographics on protecting PHI provided in the resources for this assessment, or find other infographics to review. These infographics serve as examples of how to succinctly summarize evidence-based information.
    • Analyze these infographics and distill them into five or six principles of what makes them effective. As you design your interprofessional staff update, apply these principles. Note: In a staff update, you will not have all the images and graphics that an infographic might contain. Instead, focus your analysis on what makes the messaging effective.
  • Select from any of the following options, or a combination of options, the focus of your interprofessional staff update:
    • Social media best practices.
    • What not to do: social media.
    • Social media risks to patient information.
    • Steps to take if a breach occurs.
  • Conduct independent research on the topic you have selected in addition to reviewing the suggested resources for this assessment. This information will serve as the source(s) of the information contained in your interprofessional staff update. Consult the BSN Program Library Research Guide for help in identifying scholarly and/or authoritative sources.


In this assessment, assume you are a nurse in an acute care, community, school, nursing home, or other health care setting. Before your shift begins, you scroll through Facebook and notice that a coworker has posted a photo of herself and a patient on Facebook. The post states, “I am so happy Jane is feeling better. She is just the best patient I’ve ever had, and I am excited that she is on the road to recovery.”

You have recently completed your annual continuing education requirements at work and realize this is a breach of your organization’s social media policy. Your organization requires employees to immediately report such breaches to the privacy officer to ensure the post is removed immediately and that the nurse responsible receives appropriate corrective action.

You follow appropriate organizational protocols and report the breach to the privacy officer. The privacy officer takes swift action to remove the post. Due to the severity of the breach, the organization terminates the nurse.

Based on this incident’s severity, your organization has established a task force with two main goals:

  • Educate staff on HIPAA and appropriate social media use in health care.
  • Prevent confidentiality, security, and privacy breaches.

The task force has been charged with creating a series of interprofessional staff updates on the following topics:

  • Social media best practices.
  • What not to do: Social media.
  • Social media risks to patient information.
  • Steps to take if a breach occurs.

You are asked to select one or more of the topics and create the content for a staff update containing a maximum of two content pages. This assessment is not a traditional essay. It is a staff educational update about PHI. Consider creating a flyer, pamphlet, or PowerPoint slide. Remember it should not be more than two pages (excluding a title and a reference page).

The task force has asked team members assigned to the topics to include the following content in their updates in addition to content on their selected topics:

  • What is protected health information (PHI)?
    • Be sure to include essential HIPAA information.
  • What are privacy, security, and confidentiality?
    • Define and provide examples of privacy, security, and confidentiality concerns related to the use of technology in health care.
    • Explain the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration to safeguard sensitive electronic health information.
  • What evidence relating to social media usage and PHI do interprofessional team members need to be aware of? For example:
    • How many nurses have been terminated for inappropriate social media use in the United States?
    • What types of sanctions have health care organizations imposed on interdisciplinary team members who have violated social media policies?
    • What have been the financial penalties assessed against health care organizations for inappropriate social media use?
    • What evidence-based strategies have health care organizations employed to prevent or reduce confidentiality, privacy, and security breaches, particularly related to social media usage?
  • Your staff update is limited to two double-spaced content pages. Be selective about the content you choose to include in your update so you can meet the page length requirement. Include need-to-know Omit nice-to-know information.
  • Many times people do not read staff updates, do not read them carefully, or do not read them to the end. Ensure your staff update piques staff members’ interest, highlights key points, and is easy to read. Avoid overcrowding the update with too much content.
  • Also, supply a separate reference page that includes two or three peer-reviewed and one or two non-peer-reviewed resources (for a total of 3–5 resources) to support the staff update content.
Additional Requirements
  • Written communication: Ensure the staff update is free from errors that detract from the overall message.
  • Submission length: Maximum of two double-spaced content pages.
  • Font and font size:Use Times New Roman, 12-point.
  • Citations and references: Provide a separate reference page that includes 2–3 current, peer-reviewed and 1–2 current, non-peer-reviewed in-text citations and references (total of 3–5 resources) that support the staff update’s content. Current means no older than 5 years.
  • APA format: Be sure your citations and references adhere to APA format. Consult the Evidence and APA page for an APA refresher.

Competencies Measured

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and scoring guide criteria:

  • Competency 1: Describe nurses’ and the interdisciplinary team’s role in informatics with a focus on electronic health information and patient care technology to support decision making.
    • Describe the security, privacy, and confidentially laws related to protecting sensitive electronic health information that govern the interdisciplinary team.
    • Explain the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration to safeguard sensitive electronic health information.
  • Competency 2: Implement evidence-based strategies to effectively manage protected health information.
    • Identify evidence-based approaches to mitigate risks to patients and health care staff related to sensitive electronic health information.
    • Develop a professional, effective staff update that educates interprofessional team members about protecting the security, privacy, and confidentiality of patient data, particularly as it pertains to social media usage.
  • Competency 5: Apply professional, scholarly communication to facilitate use of health information and patient care technologies.
    • Follow APA style and formatting guidelines for citations and references.
    • Create a clear, concise, well-organized, and professional staff update that is generally free from errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling.


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Managing Health Information and Technology

Welcome to your Capella University online course, NURS-FPX4040 – Managing Health Information and Technology

Nursing informatics (NI) is a growing specialty due to its increasing impact on health care. NI incorporates nursing science with information management and analytics “to identify, define, manage, and communicate data” and information to inform nursing practice as well as organizational and health care policy (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, n.d.). NI’s impact is expansive and can serve to assist health care professionals, patients, and organizations in making decisions that positively impact patient care.

Baccalaureate-prepared nurses leverage technology to effectively and efficiently achieve desired patient, systems, and population outcomes. This course focuses on the development of generalist nursing practice competencies for the management of health information and patient care technologies.

Audiovisual Equipment Setup and Testing

In Assessment 4, you will be asked to prepare a recorded presentation that includes audio and, if you choose, video, using Kaltura or similar software. To create your audio recording, you will need a built-in or external microphone and, for optional video, a webcam or video recording device. It is a good idea to check that your recording equipment and software are working properly and that you know how to record and upload your audio presentation.

Note: If you require assistive technology or alternative communication methods to participate in this activity, please contact to request accommodations.

Your Online ePortfolio

Creating an ePortfolio is not required in the BSN program, but you may find it helpful to create one to attach to your professional resume while job hunting. Online ePortfolios serve two key purposes: 1) to support learning and reflection, and 2) to be used as a showcase tool. Your learning journey can be documented, and ePortfolios contribute to lifelong learning and growth through reflection and sharing. Online ePortfolios can also be shared with employers and peers to present artifacts that demonstrate your accomplishments at Capella.

Using ePortfolio to Build Your Career

As you are preparing to tell your story in the professional world, leverage your ePortfolio artifacts to demonstrate the knowledge and competencies you have gained through your program in professional conversations, performance reviews, and interviews. To do that, reflect on the knowledge and skills you have gained from your courses and the elements you have put in your portfolio, along with how you have already applied these things to your professional life or how you might apply them in the future. Next, create your story or talking points to tell your professional story.

Privacy Statement

Capella complies with privacy laws designed to protect the privacy of personal information. While you may voluntarily share your own information publicly, you are obligated to protect the personal information of others that may be associated with your academic or professional development. Before sharing information and material in any ePortfolio that is set up to be shared externally to your program at Capella, please consider privacy obligations in relation to protected populations who may be included or referenced in your academic or clinical work. Refer to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and/or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) if you have specific questions or concerns about your choices.


Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (n.d.). What is nursing informatics?

Course Competencies

To successfully complete this course, you will be expected to:

  1. Describe nurses’ and the interdisciplinary team’s role in informatics with a focus on electronic health information and patient care technology to support decision making.
  2. Implement evidence-based strategies to effectively manage protected health information.
  3. Evaluate the impact of patient care technologies on desired outcomes.
  4. Recommend the use of a technology to enhance quality and safety standards for patients.
  5. Apply professional, scholarly communication to facilitate use of health information and patient care technologies.


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HRM Capstone Project

What strategies will you develop to address organizational culture as you implement your plan?

Your first component of the capstone project is a literature review. It is suggested that you complete the
following before you begin this assessment:

IMPORTANT: You will need to begin by choosing a topic of research, organization, and problem
or opportunity that addresses improving the organization’s effectiveness and submitting it to
your faculty for approval. If you have any questions, contact your faculty.

To narrow the project scope, start by reading the assessment instructions and scoring guides for
each project component to learn the requirements and ensure that your topic and the problem
or opportunity are appropriate for the capstone project.

Next, think about what topics you have a passion for within HRM. What problems are most
important to solve when you think about HRM within organizations today?

You may also find that reviewing your projects from previous courses and artifacts that you have
collected in your e-portfolio will help you choose a topic and complete the project.

Note: The organization that you choose can be a current or past employer or another
organization that is of interest to you and from which you can gather information to complete
this project successfully.

Library Resources for Research and Writing a Literature Review

To prepare for each of the project components, you’ll need to conduct research in the
You may also search the Internet, but be sure to choose articles that are professional and peer-
reviewed, from trusted sites and researchers. Analyze how, in your effectiveness improvement plan, you
might apply the approach or approaches described in the articles you read.

A Capella University
MS HRM Program Library Guide has been created specifically for you. You are
encouraged to refer to the resources in the library guide to help direct your research for the

In preparation for this assessment, read
Reviewing the Literature and Assignment Types and
for writing a literature review.
HRCI Body of Knowledge and SHRM Code of Ethics

Research and evaluate the definition of the body of knowledge in HR, as explained by the
Certification Institute
and the SHRM. Based on your review, determine whether the body of
knowledge provides additional areas of research and analysis for your course project topic.

Read through the
SHRM Code of Ethics. As you look through the code of ethics, think about how
your organization adheres to the principles. As it relates to the code of ethics and what you see
at this site, do you believe your organization can improve? How?

Some studies in this course will feature additional resources to learn more about the topics covered in
the assessments and the field of HRM in general. If you are just starting out in HRM, the material below
offers specific career-related resources at Capella and on the Internet to help with your transition.

Career Center
o Capella’s Career Center is an excellent resource for career planning tools and current
employment resources. View the Career Center Overview to learn more.

Career Planning Self-Assessment
o Take this self-assessment to help clarify your career goals and develop a plan for your

Career Planning Checklist
o This checklist encourages you to begin thinking about your career goals. This list of
career activities is intended to be neither an exhaustive individualized list of
recommendations nor a guarantee of employment.

HRM Professional Certification

HR Certification Institute (HRCI)
is a nonprofit organization that develops, maintains, and administers
HRM professional certifications. Review the following two outlines of the exams administered to
professionals seeking the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Senior Professional in Human
Resources (SPHR) certifications as you work on your capstone project plan and think about what your
next steps are after graduation.

HR Certification Institute. (2018).
2018 PHR exam content outline [PDF]. Retrieved from

HR Certification Institute. (2018).
2018 SPHR exam content outline [PDF]. Retrieved from

You may also find that the following websites will also help you prepare for and complete your capstone

HR Certification Institute. (2020).
Associate professional in human resources (aPHR). Retrieved

HR Certification Institute. (2017).
Professional in human resources (PHR). Retrieved from

HR Certification Institute. (2017).
Senior professional in human resources (SPHR). Retrieved from

Society for Human Resource Management. (2017).
Assurance of learning: About. Retrieved from

Society for Human Resource Management. (2020). SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-
Retrieved from

Society for Human Resource Management. (2020).
SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-
Retrieved from

The Purpose of a Literature Review

Entering an academic conversation involves many steps. Two of the most fundamental of these steps
involves reading material in the field and forming a perspective on what you read. Academics
demonstrate their perspective on the reading of the field by composing a literature review. A literature
review traces the genealogy of a topic in the field; it notes the history of the topic and the notable
perspectives of others in the field who have addressed the topic. The purpose of a literature review is to
“demonstrate that the writer has insightfully and critically surveyed relevant literature on his or her
topic in order to convince an intended audience that this topic is worth addressing” (Clark, 2007, p.105).
The literature review is not intended to report the literature, but instead to synthesize it.

The literature review appears at many stages of your graduate education. Early in a graduate education,
you will often be required to write a short literature review for a paper in a course to demonstrate
analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of the assigned readings for the course.

The expectations for the literature review increase steadily throughout a doctoral program, finally
culminating in a chapter-length literature review, which functions as the second chapter of the

How do you prepare to write informed reviews of the literature in your field?

First, you must spend considerable time reading the academic literature of the field. Over time, you
explore many topics through reading these academic sources, which include books, journal articles, and
published studies and any other credible materials that work to add to the knowledge of your field. This
‘reading time’ constitutes the majority of your time in graduate school. The more you read, the more
you begin to form an individual identity as a scholar through the choices you make as you read.

At the beginning of your graduate career, you read the materials that your course assignments guide
you to in the library. However, over time, you start to recognize the names of authors with whom you’ve
agreed in the past. You also start to recognize the names of authors with whom you’ve disagreed in the
past. You become familiar with journal names and publisher names, and you can start to research a
topic based on more than the key words listed in the assignment. Through continued reading in your
field, you gain the experience to make informed choices about which authors to align yourself within the
formation of your own academic identity.

Increased knowledge through reading comes through experience with multiple research projects, and
that increasing knowledge also serves to shape your individual perspective on your own field of study.
Over time, you focus your attention on a specific research area, and, ultimately, on a specialty area in
which you will conduct research to complete a dissertation. Making these kinds of decisions about

where you’ll conduct further research and writing marks your entry into the field as an individual scholar
drawn to some topics and not persuaded by others.

Defining the Literature Review

Placement of a Literature Review in Academic Conversation

A graduate education anticipates learners making choices and forming an individual identity as a
scholar. Assignments requiring literature reviews are some of the touchstones in a graduate education
that allow you to identify your individual voice and stance on important topics within a field. A graduate
education culminates in the writing of a dissertation, your official entry into the academic conversation
through the completion of a book-length project that advances the knowledge of the field. In a shorter,
paper-length form, your literature review typically consists of several paragraphs placed early in the text
to explain the history of the problem or issue and to explore what the field has said on the topic. The
literature review establishes a context, a history, and a reason for why you are writing. You will also be
asked to write paper-length literature reviews in which the review is a much more developed
examination of the literature on a particular topic in the field. These literature reviews, short and long,
culminate in a chapter-length literature review that serves to underpin your dissertation research.

At Capella, the disciplines of Business, Education, Human Services, and Psychology structure the
dissertation in the following way:

1. Introduction and problem statement.

2. Literature review.

3. Research and methodology.

4. Data analysis and results.

5. Conclusions and recommendations.

Notice the placement of the literature review. In the context of a dissertation, the literature review
comes immediately after the introduction. In the introduction, you give a picture of what the
dissertation will do and what the dissertation will address, much as the first paragraph of an academic
paper offers an introduction and a thesis statement that will guide the body of the paper. As with all
literature reviews, Chapter 2, the literature review, establishes a context, a history, and a reason for the

This early placement of the literature review is important for several reasons.

The literature review offers a critical look at existing research that’s significant to the writer’s

The literature review demonstrates the writer’s knowledge of the field.

The literature review justifies the writer’s proposed study.

The literature review sets the context for the research

The literature review defines which issues and authors are important to the writer and which are

Thus, the literature review defines you as a writer and a scholar in the field. Readers can learn what you
value and what you don’t by reading your review. In the literature review, you choose to include some
sources while choosing not to include others. These choices offer a lot of information about who you are
as a scholar for an audience familiar with the research in your field. For example, imagine that you are
writing about educational theories. John Dewey serves as your foundational source for your literature
review. You read two scholars who come after Dewey: Paolo Freire and Malcolm Knowles. You speak
favorably about what Knowles adds to Dewey’s ideas, but you note several shortcomings in Freire’s
assumptions. From those statements, readers in your field understand that you are aligned with the
Knowles school of thought and not with the Freirian school of thought. Readers can also place what you
value within the context of their own perspectives and within the larger issues of the field.

In academic writing, the primary audience, readers in the field, works to situate new voices within the
already-existing conversation. This audience will evaluate which sources you use in the context of their
own perspectives-their own established identity in the academic conversation. Just as you have your
individual perspective on the topic for which you are composing a literature review, so will your
audience. That’s why the literature review is so important. In short, your literature review defines where
you stand in the academic conversation of your field within the context of those who came before you
and for those who will come after you.

Crafting the Literature Review: Definitions

For a literature review to be accepted as a credible representation of your understanding of your field, it
must accomplish several goals.

The literature review must be organized around and related directly to research questions that
you are developing.

The literature review must synthesize results into a summary of what’s known and not known.

The literature review must identify areas of controversy in the literature.

The literature review must formulate questions that need further research.

In the following instructional module, you’ll work with three tools to help you craft a literature review
that accomplishes all of these goals. Whether you are writing a short literature review within a paper or
Chapter 2 of your dissertation, these tools will assist you in synthesizing your readings to compose
reviews that give your readers a clear understanding of the issues and scholars that you are reviewing
and will outline your stance on the position.

Three basic tools will help you share your synthesis of the literature you read with your audience:
definitions, examples, and acknowledging your critics.

Definitions bolster your argument by making sure that you and the reader are starting on the same page
and with the same definitions. Definitions can be a derived from multiple sources, from dictionaries to
reference books to seminal works in a field.

For example, if your topic is the color blue, you might rely on a reputable art dictionary to define what
blue means in terms of the color spectrum. You might also rely on a book of literary criticism to enhance
that definition by looking at how the color blue has historically been used to symbolize courage in great
western literature, including Shakespeare. Combining these two definitions gives you a definition of
your own for the color blue in the context of your specific topic–of your unique argument.

When using key words and concepts in the field for your literature review, remember that over time,
terms and concepts gather many meanings. Simply relying on a dictionary definition might not be
enough to define a term for your audience, a group of academics in your field. For example, unconscious
is a term that has many meanings in the field of psychology. That term means different things to, say,
Sigmund Freud than it does to those who come after him, like, for example, Jacques Lacan. Therefore, in
a literature review about psychoanalytic theories with an academic audience, it will be important to talk
about which scholar you follow, which definition of that term you agree with, and how you will apply
that definition to your own theory.

You can also use definitions to define a concept or topic by what it is not. For example, if you follow
Lacan’s definition of the unconscious, you might want to include Freud’s definition to show where it
differs from Lacan’s. You will also want to offer specific reasons to justify why those differences
prompted you to side with Lacan’s definition.

Crafting the Literature Review: Examples

Examples bolster your argument by adding an extra level of explanation for the reader. Examples often
serve to make a concept concrete for the reader. Imagine that you are trying to explain a method for
teaching. After the key terms in the method are defined, take the next step: offering examples of the
method at work.

Notice the pattern of examples in the section you just read above on definitions:

Definitions can be derived from multiple sources, from dictionaries to reference books to seminal
works in a field. For example, if your topic is the color blue, you might rely on a reputable art
dictionary to define what blue means in terms of the color spectrum>

Simply relying on a dictionary definition might not be enough to define a term for your audience,
a group of academics in your field. For example, unconscious is a term that has many meanings
in the field of psychology. That term means different things to, say, Sigmund Freud that it does to
those who come after him, like, for example, Jaques LaCan.

You can also use definitions to define a concept or topic by what it is not. For example, if you
follow LaCan’s definition of the unconscious, you might want to include Freud’s definition to
show where it differs from LaCan’s and why those differences don’t offer a definition that works
within that context of your argument.

In these examples, a statement is made, and that statement is then applied-‘teased out’-by the use of
examples. Examples, either hypothetical or from the literature, bring your synthesis to life by offering
real-life connections to your theories and interpretations. As a Capella scholar-practitioner, connecting
theory to practice underpins your educational journey, and examples are an excellent and primary
method for making that theory-to-practice connection.

Crafting the Literature Review: Critics
While many in your audience will agree with your position on the topic of your literature review, many
will not. An important function of the literature review is to acknowledge what critics of your argument
say. To create an informed perspective about the literature of a field, you must read many perspectives
about key issues and discussions within your field. In an academic conversation, a writer who has looked
at all sides of the argument comes across as an informed and balanced speaker. Just as working to
define something by what it is not is an effective tool, so is presenting a position on a subject and
including the perspectives and arguments that differ from that position.

For example, let’s say that you make the statement that many in your field have conjectured that the
sky is blue. You define blue in terms of meteorology, and you give examples of what you mean by the
color blue. During your research, you discover many speakers who say that the sky is not blue. Some of
these speakers are not credible, so you discard those dissenting positions. But some of those speakers
are credible. They are published in peer-reviewed journals, and they have many followers at universities
across the country. Leaving those credible sources out of your literature review creates a slanted
perspective on the body of literature in the field, while acknowledging those critics shows that you have
considered all perspectives, but for at least one reason, you have decided to reject those critics in favor
of your chosen perspective.

Acknowledging the critics also offers you the chance to create new ways of thinking about your topic
within your field. For example, imagine that you address the way in which two different scholars,
Scholar A and Scholar B, use a shape to discuss a concept in the field. You note that Scholar A and those
after him have conjectured that the term ‘square’ is effective for describing a concept that encompasses
four terms.

You also acknowledge that Scholar B has conjectured that the term ‘square,’ which implies that all four
sides are equal in length, is too limiting, and, thus, must be changed to the term ‘quadrangle.’

While you acknowledge the validity of Scholar B’s purpose in expanding the term, you also note that in
the context of the concept being discussed, all angles in Scholar B’s conception are actually 90 degree
angles. In fact, then, in spite the difference in terms, both scholars are really talking about a similar
concept. In essence, from your perspective, Scholar B supports Scholar A’s assertion, but with a different
definition of square, which, perhaps, you re-label as “rectangle.”

In this example, noting the other side of the argument has led you to a new understanding of the
concept addressed by both Scholars A and B. While acknowledging the critic shows depth of exposure to
the literature of the field, in this case, that acknowledgement has also led to a new interpretation not
yet noted by your field, filling a gap in the field while boosting your credibility as a new voice entering
the field.

Applying the Tools to the Literature Review

Now that you’ve explored the tools, you are ready to apply them to a literature review in your field.

Once you’ve selected your literature review, work to locate the definitions, examples, and
acknowledgement of the critics used by the author. As you read your sample literature review, make
notes in the margins, and locate where the writer has used the tools you’ve learned in this module. You

may also want to highlight each example in a different color. For example, you may mark definitions in
blue, examples in green, and acknowledging the critics in red.

Once you’ve completed this process, ask yourself the following questions.

Which definitions worked well? Why?

Which definitions could have worked better? How?

Which definitions convinced you because they came from credible sources? Why?

Which definitions did not convince you due to lack of credibility of the source? Why?

Which examples worked well? Why?

Which examples could have worked better? How?

Which examples convinced you because they came from credible sources? Why?

Which examples did not convince you due to lack of credibility of the source? Why?

Which acknowledgements of critics worked well? Why?

Which acknowledgements of critics could have worked better? How?

Which acknowledgements of critics convinced you because they came from credible sources?

Which acknowledgements of critics did not convince you due to lack of credibility of the source?

For all three tools, as you identify them and question their effectiveness, work to find methods that you
might want to use in your own literature reviews. Do you see methods of incorporating these tools that
you’d like to model in your own review? Note what you like and what you don’t like in these examples.
You can often learn as much about your own writing process by charting what you don’t like as you can
learn by charting what you like.

The Writing Process for the Literature Review

Like any academic writing process, crafting an effective literature review is not a linear process. As the
writing map below indicates, the literature review writing process is recursive and iterative.


Upon your completion of each draft in this recursive process, remember to compare the following
important outcomes of the literature review to ensure that your review satisfies the expectations of
your audience.

Reviews background of the problem area.

Identifies merits of previous studies (who, what, when, where, why, how).

For the dissertation project:

Helps to select research methods.

Provides required theoretical framework.

Establishes context and rationale for the study.

Establishes that study does not unintentionally duplicate work already published.

Shows how your study contributes to the knowledge base of the field.

Clark, I.L. (2007). Writing the successful thesis and dissertation: Entering that conversation. Upper Saddle
River, NJ: Prentice H

Posted on

ABC Healthcare Corporation

Part 1



This assignment builds on your prior work in the Units 2 and 6 assignments. It is a presentation to your staff describing your analysis, linking what tools you utilized and why you chose those tools. You will use data to support your evidence-base financial decisions. You will also explain your recommendations to maximize stakeholder value, translating those to tactical outcomes to be implemented by your staff.

* Apply the theories, models, and practices of finance to the financial management of an organization.

* Analyze financing strategies to maximize stakeholder value.

* Apply financial analyses to business planning and decision making.

* Use data to support evidence-based financial decisions.


The senior leadership has approved your recommendations to move forward. You are now tasked with operationalizing your recommendations. Meeting with your staff, you will translate recommendations to strategies and corresponding tactical objectives. You will explain how you used financial analysis to develop these recommendations, discussing the financial tools you will use to monitor implementation progress.

Your Role

You are one of the high-performing financial analyst managers at ABC Healthcare Corporation and are under consideration for a promotion to Director of Operations.


Follow these steps to complete this presentation:

* You are presenting to your staff a summary of the reports presented to senior leadership (Units 2 and 6 assignments).

* Start by presenting the overall current financial condition of the company as presented to senior leadership (one to two slides).

* Provide an overview of your analysis, linking what tools (financial statements, ratios, industry trends, capital structure) you utilized and why you chose these tools (two slides).

* Link the data used to support your evidence-based financial decisions, providing justification for the recommendations (two slides).

* State the recommendations focused on maximizing stakeholder value into strategies newly adopted by the company, i.e., expansion to a new geographical market, the development of a new dividend policy, changes in capital expenditures, reduction of workforce (one slide).

* Translate those strategies to tactical objectives to be implemented by your staff, noting evidenced-based academic citations (one to two slides).

* Discuss what financial tools you will use to monitor the progress of these tactics (one slide).

Deliverable Format

* Be sure to use a bullet format in your slides but also include detailed narrative supported by relevant literature citations in the notes section.

* Ensure written communication is free of errors that detract from the overall message and quality.

* Use at least three scholarly resources.

* Length: 8–10 content slides in addition to title and reference slides.

* Use 12 point, Times New Roman.


By successfully completing this assignment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies through corresponding scoring guide criteria:

* Competency 1: Apply the theories, models, and practices of finance to the financial management of an organization.

* Demonstrate an understanding of key financial tools (financial statements, ratios, industry trends, capital structure, competitive analysis) by providing an overview of the analysis used supporting recommendations made in the Units 2 and 6 assignments. Provide a rationale for why tools were utilized.

* Competency 2: Analyze financing strategies to maximize stakeholder value.

* Link the data used to support evidence-based recommendations, translating the recommendations to strategies focused on maximizing stakeholder value.

* Competency 3: Apply financial analyses to business planning and decision making.

* Translate strategies to tactical objectives to be implemented by staff, noting evidenced-based academic citations.

* Competency 4: Use data to support evidence-based financial decisions.

* Evaluate and recommend financial tools to be used to monitor the progress of these tactics.