Eight Problems With Literature Reviews and How To Fix Them
article written by MRI
02.03.21 | 05:03

Last week marked the first event in the MRI Anniversary Lecture Series, celebrating 20 years since the MRI Coordination Office was founded in 2001. This series aims to showcase MRI synthesis workshop research and build capacity in the mountain research community.

Invited speaker Neal Haddaway is a Senior Research Fellow at the Stockholm Environment Institute and a Humboldt Experienced Research Fellow at the Mercator Research Institute in Berlin. He works on various projects involving evidence synthesis in environmental and development topics. His research interest focuses on the provision of reliable evidence for policy and practice decision-making and increasing transparency in environmental management.

Literature reviews vary in their rigour, from those that select a few well-known papers, to ‘systematic reviews’ that should be conducted according to best practices and minimum standards and aim to minimise the risk of bias and maximise accuracy. In this presentation, Neal introduces different types of literature reviews and how the chosen methods affect the rigour of the outputs. Eight major problems with traditional approaches to literature reviews are summarised (plus a bonus one!) and Neal explains ways to fix them. The presentation is relevant to anyone wanting to have a reliable overview of a topic or answer to a specific question across an evidence base.

View the lecture below:


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Download the presentation slides here. Read Haddaway and others’ (2020) Nature Ecology & Evolution Perspective article here

Now Available: greylitsearcher

To aid the harvesting of information from grey literature to support systemic reviews, Neal Haddaway has created greylitsearcher.  greylitsearcher is a web-based tool for performing systematic and transparent searches of organisational websites.

Cover image by Steen Jepsen