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Review Research as Scientific Inquiry

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  • Sven Kunisch
  • David Denyer, Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University, United Kingdom
  • Jean M. Bartunek, Boston College, United States
  • Markus Menz, University of Geneva, Universitat St. Gallen, Geneva School of Economics and Management, Switzerland
  • Laura B. Cardinal, University of South Carolina, United States
This article and the related Feature Topic at Organizational Research Methods were motivated by the concern that despite the burgeoning number and diversity of review articles - including systematic literature reviews, research syntheses, and meta-analyses - there was a lack of guidance on how to produce rigorous and impactful review papers. In this article, we introduce review research as a class of research inquiries that uses prior research as data sources to develop knowledge contributions for academia, practice and policy. We first trace the evolution of review research, both outside of and within management including the articles published in this Feature Topic, and provide a holistic definition of review research. Then, we argue that in the plurality of forms of review research, the alignment of purpose and methods is crucial for high-quality review research. To accomplish this, we discuss several review purposes and criteria for assessing review research’s rigor and impact, and discuss how these and the review methods need to be aligned with its purpose. Our paper provides guidance for conducting or evaluating review research and helps establish review research as a credible and legitimate scientific endeavor.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
JournalOrganizational Research Methods
Pages (from-to)3-45
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

    Research areas

  • Review research, Systematic literature review (SLR), Meta-analyses, Research syntheses, Methods, Philosophy of science, Rigor, Impact

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