Critiques of systematic reviews

The paper by Martyn Hammersley (2001) captures some of the challenges and criticism. A later paper by Maggie MacLure (2005) is a full on attack on the logic and politics of the approach. There is a useful overview of these critiques in the chapter by Mary Dixon-Woods (2016).

When using any approach to research, simply following the protocols blindly is a recipe for problem making. It is important to know about and understand the basis of the critiques of SR if you plan to use it.

Dixon-Woods, M. (2016). Systematic Reviews and Qualitative Studies. In D. Silverman (Ed.), Qualitative research (4th ed., pp. 379-394). London; Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Hammersley, M. (2001). On 'systematic' reviews of research literatures: A 'narrative' response to Evans & Benefield. British Educational Research Journal, 27(5), 542-554. doi:10.1080/01411920120095726

MacLure, M. (2005). ‘Clarity bordering on stupidity’: where’s the quality in systematic review? Journal of Education Policy, 20(4), 393-416. doi:10.1080/02680930500131801

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