Levy, Y. & Ellis, T.J. 2006. A systems approach to conduct an effective literature review in support of information systems research

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Informing Science Journal. Vol. 9. pp. 181–212. ISSN 1547-9684.

This is not an HCI article, but an article useful in conducting research on any field. Levy and Ellis emphasize that academic research should rely on well made literature review that lays ground for the problems identifiable from the literature and also shows how the proposed research connects to the work already done in the research field. This also gives means to connect the forthcoming results to the “body of knowledge” in the research field, and ways to assess their value to the research community.

A very important requisite for a good literature review, in Levy&Ellis’ mind is the quality of material used in the review. Therefore, “literature from leading, peer-reviewed journals should serve as the major base of literature review” leaving practitioners-oriented and not peer-reviewed work to only little attention. The quality of the sources can be justified by using lists of highly ranked journals and conferences, such as those that we have looked through in STRATUS strategic seminars. The depth and broadness of the review is ensured by using multiple literature databases, and using effective search techniques, such as keyword search, and backward and forward searches. One must of course also document these things and report them in the output of the review.

Although the article did not include anything amazingly new on literature review, it gave a very practical process for conducting a literature review, and very detailed instructions for each step. Therefore, I highly recommend everyone planning to do a literature review at least to browse through this article.

Posted by Sirpa

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