A Guide to Conducting a Systematic Literature Review of Information Systems Research
Concordia University, Quebec - John Molson School of Business
May 5, 2010
Levy and Ellis (2006) and Webster and Watson (2002) lament the fact that information systems (IS) scholars tend to be unaware of the need for structure in literature reviews. Even today, the rigorous, standardized methodology for conducting a systematic literature review (SLR) that has developed from the health sciences and other fields is virtually unknown in IS research. In this paper, we adapt Fink's (2005, p. 3) definition of a research literature review as our operative definition of a systematic literature review: "a systematic, explicit, [comprehensive, (p. 17)] and reproducible method for identifying, evaluating, and synthesizing the existing body of completed and recorded work produced by researchers, scholars, and practitioners." Although there exists an abundance of guides to conducting such reviews in other research fields, none entirely meet the unique needs of IS researchers. In response to this shortage of guides, we present here the features and value of a systematic literature review, and adapt the methodology to the particular context of IS research.
A later extension of this methodology that focuses on building theory using systematic reviews is also available at SSRN: Okoli, Chitu, A Critical Realist Guide to Developing Theory with Systematic Literature Reviews (October 25, 2012), available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2115818.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 49
Keywords: Systematic literature reviews, literature reviews, information systems research, research methodology, doctoral studiesworking papers series
Date posted: November 5, 2011 ; Last revised: July 7, 2013
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