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Developing an evidence-based approach to management knowledge using systematic review

Опубликовано на портале: 25-12-2002
Undertaking a review of the literature is an important part of any research project. The researcher both maps and assesses the relevant intellectual territory, in order to specify a research question, which will further develop the knowledge base. However, traditional 'narrative' reviews often lack rigour, and in many cases are not undertaken as genuine pieces of investigatory science. Consequently they can lack a means for making sense of what the collection of studies is saying. These reviews can be biased by the researcher and often lack rigour. Further, the use of reviews of the available evidence to provide insights and guidance for intervention into the operational needs of practitioners and policy-makers has largely been of secondary importance. For practitioners making sense of a mass of often contradictory evidence has become progressively harder. The quality of evidence underpinning decision making and action has been questioned, for inadequate or incomplete evidence seriously impedes policy formulation and implementation. In exploring ways in which evidence-based management reviews might be achieved, the authors evaluate the process of systematic review used in the medical sciences. Over the last 15 years medical science has attempted to improve the review process by synthesising research in a systematic, transparent and reproducible manner with the twin aims of enhancing the knowledge base and informing policy making and practice. This paper evaluates the extent to which the process of systematic review can be applied to the management field in order to produce a reliable knowledge stock and enhanced practice by developing context sensitive research. The paper highlights the challenges in developing an appropriate methodology.

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