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Looking back, Going forward: the role and nature of systematic literature reviews in digital marketing: a meta-analysis

Rowley, J and Keegan, B (2017) Looking back, Going forward: the role and nature of systematic literature reviews in digital marketing: a meta-analysis. In: Academy of Marketing 2017, 03 July 2017 - 06 July 2017, Hull Business School. (In Press)

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Abstract

Systematic literature reviews adopt a specified and transparent approach and hence have particular value in scoping the literature in a field or sub-field. However, there has been little critical comment on their purpose and processes. This paper seeks to address this gap, by undertaking a meta-analysis of systematic literature reviews in the field of social media marketing. Social media marketing has spawned a number of recent literature reviews that act as a useful basis for the meta-analysis. This analysis suggests that the espoused purposes of authors of systematic literature reviews include: making sense (of research in a field), developing a concept matrix/taxonomy, and supporting both research and practice. The systematic literature review process typically commences with research aims or questions, proceeds to the planning and execution of search strategies, before refining the dataset by applying exclusion criteria. Most authors then conduct a bibliographic analysis of this final dataset, prior to developing a concept matrix to support a thematic analysis of the dataset. This is then used to inform an agenda for further research. This article offers a resource to inform practice and acts as a platform for further critical debate regarding the nature and value of systematic literature reviews.

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