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Systematic Literature Reviews
2019-02-22 (Creation date: 2019-02-22)
Main contributors
Gazley, Beth; Sugimoto, Cassidy R.
Narrative literature reviews, systematic literature reviews, meta reviews, meta analyses, research in context: what should you do when you are asked to provide a review of the literature? What may have served as a fairly routine task in your early years as a student or scholar has been complicated by the growing volume of published research and the interdisciplinarity of many domains. It is becoming common practice to not only meticulously document the methods of your research design, but also to demonstrate the ways in which you searched the literature. Furthermore, there is increased value in the use of reviews to summarize the literature and find evidence across published results. Review articles have high value to the field—as demonstrated through citations—but can also lose their value when authors use ad hoc approaches or fail to acknowledge bias in how the review was assembled or analyzed.       

Systematic literature reviews (SLRs) offer a way of producing less biased and more generalizable findings. SLRs use explicit selection criteria and a rigorous, rules-driven approach to the analysis of prior scholarship. The presenters will walk participants through the process of designing and conducting a systematic literature review using Cochrane-Campbell protocols, discussing bibliometric sources for systematically identifying literature, and providing tips and suggestions based on their own research experience.
IU Workshop in Methods
Workshop in Methods
Social Science Research Commons
Related Item
Accompanying materials on IU ScholarWorks


Beth Gazley is Professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Her scholarship has addressed nonprofit governance, inter-organizational collaboration, the management of membership associations, and volunteerism. Her current research focus is on two areas: civil society and philanthropic behaviors related to climate change adaptation, and governmental reliance on charities to fund public services. A member of the IU faculty since 2004, Gazley has received the Indiana University 2018 W. George Pinnell Award for Service and the 2012 Indiana University Board of Trustees Thomas Ehrlich Award. Gazley is a Co-Principal Investigator on the Grand Challenge Grant “Prepared for Environmental Change”, and a member of the Indiana University Environmental Resilience Institute Steering Committee.

Cassidy R. Sugimoto is Associate Professor in the School of Informatics and Computing. She researches within the domain of scholarly communication and scientometrics, examining the formal and informal ways in which knowledge producers consume and disseminate scholarship. She has written extensively on this topic—with more than four edited monographs and over 100 papers to her name. Her latest book, “Measuring Research: What everyone needs to know” provides an introduction to the topic. Her work has been presented at numerous conferences and has received research funding from the National Science Foundation, Institute for Museum and Library Services, and the Sloan Foundation, among other agencies. She is currently on rotation at the National Science Foundation as the Program Director for the Science of Science and Innovation Policy program.