Blog of the GREITM resarch group, with a focus on generation and dissemination of knowledge in Innovation, IT Management and Entrepreneurship. 

11 February 2020 | Posted by Editorial Team GREITM

Why do we need systematic literature reviews?

One of our GREITM's researchers, Montserrat Peñarroya is conducting a systematic literature review about Business Innovation and Business Adaptation, here she shares some insights from her investigation's methodology.

What is a systematic literature review?

The systematic literature review is one of the two approaches a review can partake in scientific investigation articles. Unlike the narrative literature review, the systematic review enables the definition of a methodological approach that will allow the answer to specific research questions.


This approach carries an explicit methodology that would facilitate a system to identify, select, and evaluate the result of previous studies from a subject’s literature. By conducting a comprehensive search of all relevant previous studies, developing a rigorous and reproducible system, this procedure will funnel the inclusion and quality of the existing literature. Since it purposely seeks to solve a research question, although a systematic literature review uses the already available investigation on a subject, it is considered original work and utterly necessary for the scientific community.


Even though the systematic literature review originated on medical research, in management research, this approach is currently being a tool to gather the available knowledge on a phenomenon, categorizing it and further, setting a common language regarding the subject to finally outline routes of investigation within the topic. This kind of work will declutter the landscape of the same things called a different way and will help correct misinterpretations on different concepts called the same.


There are three methods that can be used in a systematic literature review: aggregative, integrative and interpretive.


Integrative and aggregative methods are focused on summarizing the findings of multiple qualitative research studies. Aggregative methods produce effect sizes or percentages across studies (such as meta-summary). Integrative methods create taxonomies from conceptual findings and provide the foundation for the development of global descriptions of phenomena across studies. 


On the other hand, interpretive methods consider findings across studies to generate a new inductive understanding of the phenomena, experiences, and events. Unlike the aggregative and integrative methods, which rely on predetermined questions to guide the analysis, interpretive methods use an iterative process to explore information that might be displayed in similar situations to understand how certain concepts connect and interact.


Currently, at the GREITM research group, Montserrat Peñarroya the director of the Digital Business and innovation undergraduate program at La Salle BCN is conducting a systematic literature review on Business model innovation and Business model adaptation, her interest is to describe the differences and similarities between both terms, as well as to suggest the best scenarios to use one or the other. Using the meta-synthesis method, she has been able to detect mixed conceptions, homonyms, and the hierarchy of concepts that should construct these two phenomena.

If you're interested in following her investigation, don’t hesitate to contact her:



Fisch, C. & Block, J. Manag Rev Q (2018) 68: 103.

Ansari, R. , Dixon, J. and Browning, C. (2015) Systematic Review of Diabetes Self-Management: Focusing on the Middle-Aged Population of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, 5, 47-60. doi: 10.4236/ojpm.2015.52006.

Noblit, G. W., & Hare, R. D. (1988). Qualitative Research Methods: Meta-ethnography. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi: 10.4135/9781412985000

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