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Systematic reviews and Meta-analysis in Business/Management

This guide is available for researchers and students undertaking systematic reviews or meta-analysis on Management or Business-related topics. It highlights best practices to improve reproducibility.

There are many types of reviews. The choice of review type should be based on the review question as well as resource-related factors. Of the following types, the most commonly used in Management research are systematic reviews and meta-analyses. 

Systematic review - Also called a Systematic Literature Review. This starts with a clearly defined question, and uses explicit and systematic methods to collect, appraise and synthesize data from all relevant studies.

Meta-analysis - This type of review uses statistical methods to analyze the results of relevant studies. It should be based on systematic methods to collect and appraise all relevant studies before conducting the meta-analysis step of the process.

Realist review - This type of review aims to answer the question of what works for whom and under what conditions. 

Scoping review - This review type addresses a broader question and may be done to identify gaps in the field. It uses methods similar to that of a systematic review, but does not require critical appraisal.

Rapid review - This review type often varies in scope and methodology. Depending on the constraints, certain steps may be skipped or may not be conducted as thoroughly, however transparency is still maintained by the completeness of the reporting.

Evidence and gap map - This is similar to a scoping review in purpose, but includes a visual representation of the evidence in the field. It incorporates synthesis reviews and primary studies located using rigorous systematic searching and selection methods.

  • Grant, M. J., & Booth, A. (2009). A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Health Information & Libraries Journal, 26(2), 91-108.
  • Sutton, A., Clowes, M., Preston, L., & Booth, A. (2019). Meeting the review family: exploring review types and associated information retrieval requirements. Health Information & Libraries Journal, 36(3), 202-222.
  • Munn, Z., Peters, M. D., Stern, C., Tufanaru, C., McArthur, A., & Aromataris, E. (2018). Systematic review or scoping review? Guidance for authors when choosing between a systematic or scoping review approach. BMC medical research methodology, 18(1), 143. 
  • Arksey, H., & O'Malley, L. (2005). Scoping studies: towards a methodological framework. International journal of social research methodology, 8(1), 19-32.
  • Khangura, S., Polisena, J., Clifford, T. J., Farrah, K., & Kamel, C. (2014). Rapid review: an emerging approach to evidence synthesis in health technology assessment. International journal of technology assessment in health care, 30(1), 20-27.

Methodology and guidance documents

Guidelines and best practices may differ across disciplines. Below is a list of guidance documents for conducting a systematic review or meta-analysis:

One of the most commonly cited scholarly articles on systematic reviews in Management and organizational research is Tranfield & Denyer (2003). It provides higher level discussions and considerations that are relevant to management researchers, but may not be sufficient as a step-by-step guide. 

Tranfield, D., Denyer, D., & Smart, P. (2003). Towards a methodology for developing evidence‐informed management knowledge by means of systematic review. British journal of management, 14(3), 207-222. 

Reporting standards

Reporting standards help you identify the minimum amount of detail that needs to be reported during publication; it helps your work remain transparent and reproducible. Some journals may require that a specific reporting standard be followed. The most common reporting standards are shown below.