Conducting the Literature Review

One of the first steps to take in the progress of my ph.d. project is to get an overview over what has been published on the topic of my study by accredited scholars and researchers. It’s not an easy task because it involves a great number of decisions and considerations.

First of all I’ll have to consider which review methods my field of study actually has a tradition of conducting. For that I’ve tried to get a grasp of some basic literature, that could guide my choices. So I found an article by Grant & Booth (2009), that gives my a starting point.

In their article aims to provide descriptive insight into the most common types of reviews. In the article Grant & Booth claim that

…the diversity of terminology used means that the full potential of these review types may be lost amongst a confusion of indistinct and misapplied terms.

The method used in the article is SALSA a simple analytical framework—Search, AppraisaL,Synthesis and Analysis, through which the locate 14 different review types.

Although the domain of the article is  ealth information and health care I believe the article can be used generically across domains. A Quick overview over the 14different review types are shortly shown here:

  • Critical review
  • Literature review
  • Mapping review/systematic map
  • Meta-analysis
  • Mixed studies review/ mixed method review
  • Overview
  • Qualitative systematic review/ qualitative evidence synthesis
  • Rapid review
  • Scoping review
  • State-of-the-art review
  • Systematic review
  • Systematic search and review
  • Systematized review
  • Umbrella review

To go into each of the review types here would be to demanding and for that i encourage you to read the article yourself.

For my project it seems that the “Literature review” might be the right way.
Grant and Booth point out that weaknesses of this method is

Literature reviews lack an explicit intent to maximize scope or analyse data collected. Any conclusions they may reach are therefore open to bias from the potential to omit, perhaps inadvertently, significant sections of the literature or by not questioning the validity of statements made. Additionally, authors may only select literature that supports their world view, lending undue credence to a preferred hypothesis. 

So it seem that I will have to cope with this weekness somehow.

Luckily I’m not alone in the progress. But that is another topic for another post.

References:

Grant, M. J., & Booth, A. (2009). A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies: A typology of reviews, Maria J. Grant & Andrew Booth. Health Information & Libraries Journal, 26(2), 91–108. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-1842.2009.00848.x

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