Systematic Literature Review Infrastructure


Project Description


The Systematic Literature Review (SLR) proecess is a method for performing a literature review that strives to eliminate some of the subjectivity of the standard scientific literature review. If SLRs are done well and on topics of particular interest, these reviews can be of value to the community and published as their own research products. There are two aspects of my work in this area:
  • Conducting SLRs
  • Researching the SLR process and building tool support

Recent Activities


To better understand the barriers and tooling needs of researchers conducing SLRs, we have conducted a survey and two community workshops. In addition, I (along with various co-authors) have conducted a number of SLRs on various topics (some of which are published).

Key Results

The results of our fist community workshop (conducted during ESEM 2013), aimed at identifying barriers in the SLR process, indicated the following primary barriers:
  • Barriers Associated with the SLR Process
    • The SLR protocol prescribes a sequential process rather than an iterative process
    • Meta-analysis is difficult
    • Researchers lack methods for result interpretation, generalization and framing
  • Barriers Associated with Primary Studies
    • Terminology and its use are not standardized
    • Titles and abstracts are often misleading or irrelevant
  • Barriers Associated with the Practitioner Community
    • Researchers have difficulty relating to industry needs
    • Researchers have difficulty conveying the value of a structured process
  • Barriers Associated with Tooling
    • Electronic database lack adequate search and retrieval facilities
    • Tools to support data extraction and management are inadequate or nonexistent
The results of our second community workshop (conducted during EASE 2014), aimed at identifyig tooling needs for SLR authors, found the following top 10 tool features requested by SLR authors:
  • Integrated search
  • Support for collaboration and conflict resoultion
  • Traceability
  • Tool support for inclusion of primary studies
  • Data maintenance
  • Quality assessment support
  • Automated analysis
  • Text mining (semantic search)
  • Storage of primary studies
  • Coding: Methods, data
  • Visualization

Funding Support

Related Publications


Refereed Journals

Refereed Conferences


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Last Updated on August 3, 2015 by Jeffrey Carver