The Methodology: Systematic Literature Review

The Methodology: Systematic Literature Review

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4984-0.ch002

Abstract

This chapter provides a brief description of the methodology used in this book by the following chapters (i.e. “Brand Attachment” [Chapter 3] and “Product Attachment” [Chapter 4]). Applied to address the criticism that literature reviews are naturally liable to subjective choices by the author(s), systematic reviews are based on a methodological protocol intended to minimize subjective biases, while increasing transparency and replicability. After reporting the principles of systematic literature review, the chapter presents how the method has been applied in the research presented throughput the pages of this book.
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The Principles Of Systematic Literature Review

A systematic literature review can be defined as a reliable, scientific overview of extant research on a subject area or topic (Petticrew, 2006) aimed at identifying, synthesizing and increasing the intelligibility of research on a specific topic or field of interest using a transparent, replicable process (Tranfield et al., 2003).

Protocols for the literature search, definition of the criteria used to admit and/or exclude articles, and analytical processes are explicated to provide an audit trail of the processes followed (Jones et al., 2011: 634). The ultimate aim of a systematic literature review is to provide a clear picture of the current state of the art on a specific research topic or research question and to make suggestions for further research (Frank and Hatak, 2014). The value of a systematic literature review consists in its ability to provide a systematic examination of all sources used and to describe and justify what has been done in previous studies, while purposefully avoiding partiality and subjectivity in the selection of studies analyzed (Fink, 2005; Frank and Hatak, 2014). Although general (non-systematic) literature reviews are of great value, they are naturally biased by subjectivity because the researcher can subjectively choose to include some papers while excluding others, often on the basis of self-defined criteria.

According to Thorpe et al. (2005), the basic principles underpinning a systematic literature review are the following:

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