Conducting systematic literature reviews

The doctoral course Conducting systematic literature reviews will be organized on February 13-14, 2020 in Linnanmaa Campus, University of Oulu

The course Conducting systematic literature reviews, 2 cr will take place on June 3-4, 2019 at the University of Oulu. The course is organized as a one full-day seminar (3rd of June, 10 am-4 pm) including individual supervision sessions on the 4th of June for each student (the sessions on 4th of June are voluntary). The visiting lecturer in the course is Dr. Naderpajouh from RMIT University Melbourne, Australia.

Background and objectives

The methodology focused course deals with the conduction of systematic literature review.  The substantially increasing trajectory in the volume of academic research is reflected in the range, depth, and fragmentation of the literature. As a result, new research endeavors are more prone to miss significant prior literature, or more broadly challenged to fully engage with a comprehensive picture of the prior research. This emerging challenge is reflected by the surge in the use of multiple approaches to synthesis of prior research, such as a range of scientometric as well as systematic review approaches.  For the systematic reviews to be rigorously designed and conducted, students need to master the procedures and steps related to their conduction and be aware of the potential pitfalls and biases related to their use. The course aims to equip the students with the basic skills and knowledge related to the use and conduction of systematic literature reviews particularly within the area of industrial engineering and management, but the course may offer potential insights also for other students within the Technology and Natural Sciences Doctoral Programme.

The course will cover the purpose and rationale of systematic reviews, different steps in conducting systematic reviews, formulation of answerable research questions, potential pitfalls and challenging in conducting systematic literature reviews, approaches for interpreting results of systematic literature reviews. The focus is primarily on conducting systematic literature reviews within the broad area of topics covered by industrial engineering and management.

The course deepens the students’ knowledge of conducting systematic literature reviews particularly on the following areas

  • Purposes and goals of systematic literature reviews
  • Methods for conducting systematic literature reviews
  • Process of conducting systematic literature reviews
  • Formulation of answerable research questions
  • Potential pitfalls, biases and challenges in conducting systematic literature reviews
  • Transparent reporting of systematic literature reviews

Schedule and practicalities

The course is a seminar type of course that involves both independent work in the form of writing and reading and in-class interactive seminar session that features lecturing and discussions.

A one full-day seminar will be organized on February 13, 2020 at 10 am – 4 pm at Studiem, TF433, at the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management. In addition discussion and supervision slots will be offered for students on tFebruary 14, 2020 at 9 am - 1pm by the teachers to guide the course assignments and independent research work of the students.


Please register to Kirsi Aaltonen, by February 7, 2020.  If you have any questions concerning the course, do not hesitate to contact Kirsi. You will receive more detailed instructions on the course upon registration.

Requirements for passing the course

The course readings entail selected scientific articles on the different themes of systematic literature reviews. To be able to pass the course, a student needs to take part in the seminar on 3rd of June, read the pre-reading materials for the seminar day (delivered one week before the course), participate in seminar discussions, analyze one systematic literature review paper from one’s own field and write a short essay/paper on how systematic literature review as a methodological choice can be utilized in one’s own thesis topic. The format of the essay is free and it can also be a synthesis from the reading materials or an article draft. The key aim is that the writing of the essay supports the student’s doctoral work.

The course participant will receive written feedback on their essays from the teachers of the course and the course will be evaluated on a scale from 1-5.


The course is organized in cooperation with the Technology and Natural Sciences Doctoral Program, UniOGS.


Last updated: 23.1.2020