Okoli (2012) A Critical Realist Guide to Developing Theory With Systematic Literature Reviews

Abstract

While there are numerous guides on how to conduct standalone literature reviews, none specifically describes how to develop a review explicitly focused on making a theoretical contribution from a social science perspective. This article adopts a critical realist approach, which attempts to discern the latent theoretical concepts underlying apparently disparate empirical investigations to synthesize diverse yet commensurable primary studies. We describe a rigorous methodology of eight steps to conducting a systematic review (also called a systematic literature review) with a specific goal of theory landscaping, theory building or theory testing. Based on a critical realist understanding of theory, we present the distillation of theory in eight steps: specifying the purpose of the review; writing the study protocol and training the reviewers; the practical screen; the literature search; data extraction; quality appraisal; synthesis of the included studies; and writing the discussion and conclusions. This methodology is particularly tailored for information systems research, but is sufficiently general to be valuable for a wide range of social sciences

Citation Chitu Okoli (2012). A Critical Realist Guide to Developing Theory With Systematic Literature Reviews. Available at SSRN 2115818 no. October, pp. 1–62. URL

BibTex entry for this article:

BibTex entry for this article:

@article{okoli2012critical,
author = {Okoli, Chitu},
doi = {10.2139/ssrn.2115818},
issn = {1556-5068},
journal = {Available at SSRN 2115818},
number = {October},
pages = {1--62},
title = {{A Critical Realist Guide to Developing Theory With Systematic Literature Reviews}},
url = {http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2115818\nhttp://ssrn.com/abstract=2115818},
year = {2012}
}

Key ideas

Keywords:

Critical Realism, INF6001W, critical realism, information systems research, literature, reviews, systematic reviews, theory building, theory development, theory testing

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