Doing literature review – I

Students have questions about the best strategy to adopt to make a good review of the literature to support their research. So I will describe about my own literature review strategy.

For this research we have mainly chosen to focus on research work that explicitly use the terms open innovation, crowdsourcing and risk management in the title, abstract, topics or keywords. We have also restricted our search to the social sciences, which in the searched databases also includes technology and engineering. Also we have not included industry reports or editorial material. First, we perform an in-depth review of Open Innovation (OI) papers published in quoted scientific journals. We searched the two major databases of management journals and an additional innovation journal not covered by the databases: ISI Web of Knowledge database (Social Sciences Citation Index-SSCI) and Scopus Database, complemented by Scholar Google Current Contents as database.

Since Open Innovation and crowdsourcing concepts are recent, we chose to perform an exhaustive review of the scientific papers published in quoted journals since 2000. Thus, we looked in SSCI and Scopus for any paper containing the following expressions in Social Sciences database, in title, abstract, topic or keywords: open innovation, external innovation, innovation licensing, technology licensing, technology in-licensing, technology out-licensing and crowdsourcing. Then we repeated the same procedures for keywords related to risk management and innovation or risk management and personal values. There are, of course, many researchers that investigate issues closely related to these subjects without using these terms, so we come to their articles through the citations made in the texts obtained by the search engine above and asking for others titles to my thesis supervisors. We have found 58 records for the first search keywords, including 14 book reviews and three proceedings papers , and 3 articles for the keywords “risk management and innovation”. There weren´t any records for the keywords “risk management and personal values”.

Furthermore, a search for books with “open innovation” and “risk management and innovation” in the title was made on the site of to identify books published in the field.  We found 20 books about open innovation, including one book review and some short books, and two other books about risk management and innovation (one of them written in German). All books are included in the literature overview.

Using the current method we have a comprehensive analysis of the journal articles published in the databases in the specified time period and about their content. Papers in trade journals and in journals that only refer to original papers were removed. Editorial material was also removed. Book reviews have been listed but are not included in the literature analysis.

I hope that the report of my strategy  may be useful to your future works.


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