Systematic review methodology in higher education

Margaret Bearman*, Calvin D. Smith, Angela Carbone, Susan Slade, Chi Baik, Marnie Hughes-Warrington, David L. Neumann

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    142 Citations (Scopus)


    Systematic review methodology can be distinguished from narrative reviews of the literature through its emphasis on transparent, structured and comprehensive approaches to searching the literature and its requirement for formal synthesis of research findings. There appears to be relatively little use of the systematic review methodology within the higher education sector. This paper outlines the systematic review methodology, including variations, explores debates regarding systematic reviews from the educational literature and describes particular issues for its application within higher education. We conclude that thoughtful use of the systematic review methodology may be of benefit to the sector.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)625-640
    Number of pages16
    JournalHigher Education Research and Development
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


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