For some topics and in some circumstances the traditional collecting of data (quantitative or qualitative) can be difficult. Because of this below we outline and approach to developing a literature review based Research Project Report called a “Systematic Literature Review”. Below is a quick guide to what a systematic literature review is and some of the requirements (artefacts, processes, activities) of producing a systematic literature review – this is not to be used in place of reading Research Methods books or resources.
All of the articles you use must be read carefully and coded using a code book or table that you developed by assessing key aspects of the previous literature, this will normally be improved during the actual coding of the sources.
A pilot coding with the supervisor is recommended.
General characteristics of the reviewed articles should be provided. For example, publication years, context of the study, journal the article was published in.
A discussion on the methodologies that the reviewed articles used can show a higher level scholarship.
Findings need to be presented so that they address (answer) the research questions.
Quantitative findings can be used to report basic descriptive statistics or qualitative tables can be created to group the articles.
A final conceptual framework, which proposes a contribution to the literature, can show a higher level scholarship.
Set out your overall plan (your review question, aim of the work and key questions) – you need to explain how you are planning to use SLR:
·Why do you want to use SLR?
·Do you want to explore or explain?
·Do you want to show something distinctive that others did not show?
·Do you want to do a factor oriented analysis?
·What is your purpose for applying the SLR method specific to the context?
·Is something not clear when you look at a specific section of the literature?
You need to explain your "search plan". What is the sources and the process you are following to collect data. You need to explain the following:
·Citation based snowballing.
·Target group of authors.
Simply, how are you searching for the results that you mention in PRISMA process?
For instance, you can have a set of search words such as “product development” AND “textile industry” because you want to examine the product development processes in textile industry. The selected keywords can be much more comprehensive but you need to have set of words to eliminate unnecessary sources and keep relevant ones in the search results.
Evaluation plan - you need to have inclusion and exclusion steps; e.g. why some articles were included in your study and why some articles were not. A scholarly approach would be to have a qualitative and quantitative elimination method. For quantitative, you can have a minimum citation rule, peer-reviewed articles or publication date related limitations to exclude studies. In qualitative, you can review studies reading the title and the abstract and select studies based on the relevance to your study.
You must explain the statistics when you explain the selection steps e.g. At the stage 1, there were 3000 studies that were reduced to 1000 articles then reduced to 200 articles based on quantitative assessments then 40 studies based on qualitative assessment. You need to make clear how you reduced the numbers from a quantitative approach to a qualitative final assessment approach.
You need to group studies based on common theories, themes, methods, authors, years etc.
Extracting information and coding data:
·How are you examining the collected articles?
·What isthe protocol (process) that you follow?