Systematic literature reviews are usually undertaken by a group of researchers and usually have a timeframe of several months but it is useful to have information about the principles involved in undertaking this type of literature review.
A systematic literature review (SLR) identifies, selects and critically appraises research in order to answer a clearly formulated question (Dewey, A. & Drahota, A. 2016). The systematic review should follow a clearly defined protocol or plan where the criteria is clearly stated before the review is conducted. It is a comprehensive, transparent search conducted over multiple databases and grey literature that can be replicated and reproduced by other researchers. It involves planning a well thought out search strategy which has a specific focus or answers a defined question. The review identifies the type of information searched, critiqued and reported within known timeframes. The search terms, search strategies (including database names, platforms, dates of search) and limits all need to be included in the review.
Pittway (2008) outlines seven key principles behind systematic literature reviews
Systematic literature reviews originated in medicine and are linked to evidence based practice. According to Grant & Booth (p 91, 2009) "the expansion in evidence-based practice has lead to an increasing variety of review types". They compare and contrast 14 review types, listing the strengths and weaknesses of each review.
Tranfield et al (2003) discusses the origins of the evidence-based approach to undertaking a literature review and its application to other disciplines including management and science.
References and additional resources
Gough, David A., David Gough, Sandy Oliver, and James Thomas. An Introduction to Systematic Reviews. Systematic Reviews. London: SAGE, 2012.
Grant, M. J. & Booth, A. (2009) A typology of reviews: An analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Health Information & Libraries Journal 26(2), 91-108
Pittway, L. (2008) Systematic literature reviews. In Thorpe, R. & Holt, R. The SAGE dictionary of qualitative management research. SAGE Publications Ltd doi:10.4135/9780857020109
Tranfield, D., Denyer, D & Smart, P. (2003) Towards a methodology for developing evidence-informed management knowledge by means of systematic review. British Journal of Management 14(3), 207-222
Evidence based practice - an introduction is a library guide produced at CSU Library for undergraduates. The information contained in the guide is also relevant for post graduate study and will help you to understand the types of research and levels of evidence required to conduct evidence based research.
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