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Review Research as Scientific Inquiry

An article co-authored by Sven Kunisch, David Denyer, Jean Bartunek, GSEM Professor Markus Menz, and Laura Cardinal, takes an inclusive and diverse perspective on review articles as a distinct and credible form of scientific inquiry and provides the criteria to assess the rigor and impact of review research.

Review research is a class of scientific inquiries that analyzes and synthesizes prior research in a way that is distinct from other conceptual and empirical inquiries. By building on the foundations of review research outside of and within management, this article highlights the importance of alignment between review purpose and review methods to produce rigorous and impactful contributions through review research. This work is published in the Organizational Research Methods journal.



This article and the related Feature Topic at Organizational Research Methods were motivated by the concern that despite the bourgeoning number and diversity of review articles, there was a lack of guidance on how to produce rigorous and impactful literature reviews. 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.

The study is available open access: Review Research as Scientific Inquiry

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September 14, 2023
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