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Abstract

There has been a flowering of scholarly interest in the literature review as a research method in the information systems discipline. We feel privileged to contribute to this conversation and introduce the work of the authors represented in this special issue. Some of the highlights include three new methods for conducting literature analysis and guidelines, tutorials, and approaches for coping with some of the challenges involved in carrying out a literature review. Of the three “new method” papers, one (ontological meta-analysis and synthesis) is entirely new, and two (stylized facts and critical discourse analysis) are novel in the information systems context. The other four paper address more general issues: the challenges of effective search strategies when confronted with the burgeoning volume of research available, a detailed tool-supported approach for conducting a rigorous review, a detailed tutorial for conducting a qualitative literature review, and a discussion of quality issues. Collectively, the papers place emphasis beyond the traditional “narrative synthesis” on the importance of selecting the appropriate approach for the research context and the importance of attention to quality and transparency at all stages of the process, regardless of which approach is adopted.

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