University of Oulu

Mari Juntunen & Mirjam Lehenkari (2021) A narrative literature review process for an academic business research thesis, Studies in Higher Education, 46:2, 330-342, DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2019.1630813

A narrative literature review process for an academic business research thesis

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Author: Juntunen, Mari1; Lehenkari, Mirjam2
Organizations: 1Department of Marketing, Management and International Business, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Economics, Accounting and Finance, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Informa, 2021
Publish Date: 2020-12-13


Research on the systematic literature review process is extensive, but a justified explanation of how a narrative literature review process progresses remains absent from the existing literature. The purpose of this study is to increase understanding about the narrative literature review process. By building on process theory and the literature on systematic literature reviews and by empirically examining the literature review processes for bachelor’s theses in a European business school, we reveal that a narrative literature process is iterative, non-structured and multi-layered; contains several cumulative written outcomes; and is embedded in a social context wherein various official and non-official actors guide and support the beginning researcher. This study is a fresh attempt to explain the progress of a literature review process with help of process theory, thereby offering novel insights into the research on literature reviews in general and on narrative literature reviews across various fields of human sciences specifically.

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Series: Studies in higher education
ISSN: 0307-5079
ISSN-E: 1470-174X
ISSN-L: 0307-5079
Volume: 46
Issue: 2
Pages: 330 - 342
DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2019.1630813
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 512 Business and management
516 Educational sciences
Copyright information: © 2019 Society for Research into Higher Education. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Studies in higher education on 13 Jun 2019, available online: