A Critical Realist Guide to Developing Theory with Systematic Literature Reviews
2 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2012 Last revised: 9 Dec 2015
Date Written: December 13, 2012
This working paper has been thoroughly revised and superseded by two distinct articles, both available at SSRN. The first focuses on developing theory with literature reviews: Okoli, Chitu. The View from Giants’ Shoulders: Developing Theory with Theory-Mining Systematic Literature Reviews. SSRN Working Paper Series, December 8, 2015. This article identifies theory-mining reviews, which are literature reviews that extract and synthesize theoretical concepts from the source primary studies. The article demonstrates by citation analysis that, in information systems research, this kind of literature review is more highly cited than other kinds of literature review. The article provides detailed guidelines to writing a high-quality theory-mining review. The second subsequent article offers various comments on literature reviews from a critical realist perspective: Okoli, Chitu. Critical Realist Considerations for Literature Reviews. SSRN Working Paper Series, December 8, 2015. Using the systematic review framework, it offers various comments from a critical realist lense on uncovering real mechanisms underlying theoretical phenomena. It also offers other general comments on the literature reviewing practice beyond theory-building.
Keywords: theory building, theory testing, systematic reviews, literature reviews, critical realism, information systems research
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