notes on Systematic Literature Review

Okoli, C., Schabram, K. (2010). “A Guide to Conducting a Systematic Literature Review of Information Systems Research,” . Sprouts: Working Papers on Information Systems, 10(26).

Systematic Literature Review


A rigorous stand-alone literature review, according to Fink’s (2005) definition,

  • must be systematic in following a methodological approach,
  • explicit in explaining the procedures by which it was conducted,
  • comprehensive in its scope of including all relevant material, and hence
  • reproducible by others who would follow the same approach in reviewing the topic.
  • comprehensive accumulation, transparent analysis, and reflective interpretation of all empirical studies pertinent to a specific question

3 kinds of ..

 1.      theoretical background: section of a journal article

  • identifying significant people, methods or information in the field
  • introducing material that is less readily available
  • offering a scholarly critique of theo

2.      thesis literature review

  • synthesizes the understanding
  • a testament to the student’s rigorous research dedication
  • justifies future research
  • welcomes the student into scholarly tradition and etiquette
  • authors are expected to present themselves as experts on the subject

3.      stand-alone literature review

  • describe available knowledge for professional practice
  • identify effective research projects and techniques
  • identify experts within a given field
  • identify unpublished sources
  • much cited piece of work
  • identify gaps in current research
  • provide a framework for positioning research endeavors

Eight-Step Guide

  1. Purpose of the literature review: clearly identify the purpose and intended goals of the review. be explicit to its readers.
  2. Protocol and training: IF more than one reviewer, detailed protocol document
  3. Searching for the literature: describe the details of the literature search, explain and justify how the comprehensiveness of the search was assured.
  4. Practical screen: screening for inclusion, be explicit about what studies were considered, and which ones were eliminated. For excluded studies, practical reasons were for their non-consideration, and justify how the resulting review can still be comprehensive.
  5. Quality appraisal: screening for exclusion, spell out the criteria for judging which articles are of insufficient quality to be included in the review synthesis. All included articles need be scored for their quality.
  6. Data extraction: After all the studies included been identified, systematically extract the applicable information.
  7. Synthesis of studies: analysis, combining the facts extracted from the studies using appropriate techniques, whether quantitative, qualitative, or both.
  8. Writing the review: sufficient detail , the results can be independently reproduced.

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