Systematic literature reviews: an introduction

DS 94: Proceedings of the Design Society: 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19)

Year: 2019
Editor: Wartzack, Sandro; Schleich, Benjamin; Gon
Author: Lame, Guillaume
Series: ICED
Institution: University of Cambridge
Section: Design methods and tools
DOI number:
ISSN: 2220-4342


Systematic literature reviews (SRs) are a way of synthesising scientific evidence to answer a particular research question in a way that is transparent and reproducible, while seeking to include all published evidence on the topic and appraising the quality of this evidence. SRs have become a major methodology in disciplines such as public policy research and health sciences. Some have advocated that design research should adopt the method. However, little guidance is available. This paper provides an overview of the SR method, based on the literature in health sciences. Then, the rationale for SRs in design research is explored, and four recent examples of SRs in design research are analysed to illustrate current practice. Foreseen challenges in taking forward the SR method in design research are highlighted, and directions for developing a SR method for design research are proposed. It is concluded that SRs hold potential for design research and could help us in addressing some important issues, but work is needed to define what review methods are appropriate for each type of research question in design research, and to adapt guidance to our own needs and specificities.

Keywords: Research methodologies and methods, Evaluation, Design methodology, Systematic reviews, Design Research


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