MET9012 Doing the Systematic Literature Review

13-15 December 2021

​​ECTS credits: 5 ECTS
Level of course: PhD
Course type: Elective
Study location: Digital
Course coordinator: Giuseppe Grossi (Nord University) and Maria Francesca Sicilia (Bergamo University)
Teaching language: English
Duration: 3 days
Study period: 13-15 December 2021
Costs: No tuition fees.
Course evaluation: Evaluation using final survey sent to the participants.

Course description

The number of academic publications is steadily increasing at a rapid pace and it is becoming increasingly unfeasible to remain current with everything that is being published. Moreover, the emphasis on empirical contributions has resulted in voluminous and fragmented research streams. In this context, literature reviews are increasingly assuming a crucial role in synthesizing past research findings. Several approaches to review the literature exist, ranging from rapid review to systematic literature review. This course aims at provide guidance on systematic literature review, with a focus on bibliometric approach, which has the potential to introduce a transparent, and reproducible review process based on the statistical measurement of science, scientists, or scientific activity. In the course the statistical package developed in the R language, Bibliometrix, will be presented to participants. The course is made up of formal lectures and practical sessions during which participants will learn how to use Bibliometrix.

First Day (10-13 and 14-17): Introduction to Systematic literature review

  • Developing systematic literature review

  • Write a literature review protocol

  • Define the research questions

  • Search and selection of the documents

  • Analysing the documents, and research synthesis

  • Class assignments​

Second Day (10-13 and 14-17): Bibliometric approaches

  • Introduction to bibliometric methods

  • Workflow for conducting science mapping with bibliometric methods

  • Laboratories on bibliometric package “bibliometrix"

Third Day (10-13 and 14-17): Bibliometric approaches

  • Laboratories on bibliometric package “bibliometrix"

  • Class assignments ​

Learning outcomes:

Knowledge, Skills and General competence.


The candidate ...

– is in the early stage of his PhD and is starting to work on the literature review for his thesis

- can know in comprehensive and systematic way the existing knowledge and intellectual structure of a particular field

- can offer a critique of the field as result of in-depth analysis of existing literature

- can contribute to the advancement of knowledge by recommending some new direction for future research and by addressing some of them in the empirical section of the thesis



The candidate ...

–can design and plan a literature review

- can search the literature using alternative approaches based on keywords

– can handle both qualitative and quantitative approaches to understand and organize the selected literature

– can do a bibliometric analysis and handle the bibliometric package “bibliometrix" (


General competence

 The candidate ...

– can identify where future research is needed

- can learn how to search for literature in the major scientific databases

– can develop critical thinking skills

– can participate in debates in the field in international forums



Must fulfil the requirements for admission to the PhD program.


Mode of delivery:

Distance learning


Learning activities and teaching methods:

Lectures and practice sessions with the bibliometrix software.



Paper (maximum 5.000 words) based on a systematic literature to be submitted in three months after the conclusion of the course, which is graded pass/not pass.


Course literature and recommended reading

Anessi-Pessina E., Barbera C., Sicilia M., Steccolini I, (2016),"Public sector budgeting: a European review of accounting and public management journals", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 29 No. 3 pp. 491 – 519.

Aria, M., & Cuccurullo, C. (2017). Bibliometrix: An R-tool for comprehensive science mapping analysis. Journal of Informetrics, 11(4).

Tranfield, D., Denyer, D. and Smart, P. (2003), “Towards a methodology for developing evidenceinformed management knowledge by means of systematic review", British Journal of Management, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 207-222.

Massaro M., Dumay J., Guthrie J., (2016) "On the shoulders of giants: undertaking a structured literature review in accounting", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 29 Issue: 5, pp.767-801.

Mauro, S., Cinquini, L. and Grossi, G. (2017), “Insights into Performance-Based Budgeting: A literature review and a research agenda", Public Management Review, Vol. 19, No. 7-8, pp. 911-931

Moher, D., Liberati, A., Tetzlaff, J., Altman, D. G., & Prisma Group. (2009). Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: the PRISMA statement. PLoS medicine, 6(7), e1000097.

Santis, S., Grossi, G., and Bisogno, M. (2018), “Public sector consolidated financial statements: A structured literature review“, Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management, Vol. 30, No. 2, pp. 230-251.

Zupic, I., & Čater, T. (2015). Bibliometric Methods in Management and Organization. Organizational research methods, Vol. 18 Issue 3, 429–472.


Overlapping courses:

MET9003 Literature review for academic writing in business and innovation management – 2 ECTS credits

Practical information

The city of Bodø

Bodø is home to around 50,000 people and is one of the fastest growing cities in the country, with a lively urban scene.


Photo: David Grandorge

Getting to Bodø

  • Bodø is the hub of Nordland and can be reached by plane, train and boat. 
  • Bodø's airport is located in the city itself, making it quick and easy to fly in and out. Oslo Gardemoen is a 90 minute flight away.

Photo: Ernst Furuhatt /

Transport in Bodø

  • The main campus is located at Mørkved, about 9 kilometers from the centre of Bodø.
  • It is easy to take the bus from the airport or city center to campus.

Accomodation in Bodø

  • At campus there is a student hotel “Nordavind” which offers short-time rent. For more information. 
  • You may also stay at a hotel in the centre of Bodø.
  • We advise you to book accommodation as early as possible as hotels in Bodø at times are fully booked