Undertaking a structured literature review or structuring a literature review: tales from the field

Armitage, Andrew M. D. and Keeble-Allen, Diane (2008) Undertaking a structured literature review or structuring a literature review: tales from the field. Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, 6 (2). pp. 103-114. ISSN 1477-7029

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Official URL: http://www.ejbrm.com/volume6/issue2/p141


The diversity of sources of literature within the management disciplines has resulted in a growing need for a systematic methodology to map the territory of its associated theories and models. As such, when scoping out a doctoral or policy based study the Structured Literature Review (SLR) can be considered as a means by which critical literature central to and underpinning the research can be rigorously and systematically mapped out. However, there is little guidance, or evidence, of this being the case when undertaking small scale projects for example undergraduate or masters degree dissertations. This paper reports four case studies using semi-structured interviews of masters degree students following management programmes who undertook a Structured Literature Review based dissertation and the issues and problems they had to encounter during their journey. The findings from the case studies suggest that the approach to SLRs, whilst suited to doctoral level and policy based research is not appropriate when dealing with undergraduate and masters dissertations and projects. The case study findings identified that these students conducting a SLR had to deal with a new set of conceptual, methodological and data collection problems relating to this ‘unorthodox’ approach to conducting a postgraduate research dissertation. The findings show that students had to confront new paradigms of enquiry that are not normally taught or found in ‘traditional’ research texts and research methods courses that are taught on degree programmes. However, the findings do reveal that students gained a greater depth and insight into the subject they were researching through a more rigorous and structured approach. The paper then presents alternative remedies by way of the Rapid Structured Literature Review (RSLR) research strategy which is argued as an appropriate approach in conducting small scale literature based research projects when used with undergraduate and masters degree students rather than the SLR, which is better suited for other types of research such as doctoral and policy based activities.

Item Type: Journal Article
Faculty: ARCHIVED Lord Ashcroft International Business School (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Repository Admin
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2011 09:50
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 19:03
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/142734

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