Understanding Frameworks and Reviews : A Commentary to Assist us in Moving Our Field Forward by Analyzing Our Past

  • Schwarz A
  • Mehta M
  • Johnson N
 et al. 
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Abstract

Review and framework articles, which are commonly used to synthesize the research literature on a topic area can be important tools for advancing the state of knowledge in a field of inquiry. However, the appraisal of, and the distinction between, survey review and framework articles are often difficult because of the common focus on analyzing a substantial volume of literature. As more review and framework articles are produced with the concomitant increase in outlets for publication, such as MISQ Review and JAIS, it seems this is an opportune time for a reflexive pause regarding what are appropriate criteria for authors and reviewers to have in assessing such articles and recognizing their salient features. By assessing a representative sample of North American journals and IS researchers currently working in U.S. institutions, we present a set of criteria for the assessment of survey review and framework articles and identify the most salient features of these types of articles. Our findings suggest that, among other things, a “good” framework article should offer a clear guideline (indicating possible problems that can be examined within the stated framework), consist of a parsimonious set of elements, and have a clearly defined boundary. On the other hand, a good review article should advance the field as a result of consolidating prior research, identify and propose testable hypotheses, and focus on simplifying past results. We also found that both framework and review articles can be characterized according to their stated objective, comprehensiveness, relationship to research boundaries, temporal focus, and content focus. As our effort focuses primarily on our colleagues working in U.S. institutions, we invite our colleagues from other regions and academic traditions to make similar assessments of work from their perspectives.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Assessment Critieria
  • Framework Articles
  • Frameworks
  • Literature Review
  • Research Purpose
  • Review Articles
  • Survey Reviews
  • Triangulation

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Authors

  • Andrew Schwarz

  • Manjari Mehta

  • Norman Johnson

  • Wynne W Chin

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