“Strengthening Your Literature Review”, by Rebecca Reuber of the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, was the most frequently read article in Family Business Review in 2010. Dr. Reuber has provided an additional personal perspective on the article:
I wrote the article, Strengthening Your Literature Review, after conversations with FBR Editor Pramodita Sharma and some of the other Associate Editors, in which we expressed disappointment with some of the literature reviews we were seeing in the papers submitted to the journal. Too many papers suffered from a weak literature review and that tended to have a negative effect on their framing, their research questions, and, ultimately, their likelihood of acceptance. I had two objectives in writing the article: to signal that literature reviews are really important; and to provide some guidelines that people can use when developing theirs.
I wanted people to understand that writing a literature review is much more than a mechanical listing of a bunch of papers in a particular area. It should be a re-interpretation of a prior research in an area, that is both creative and rigorous, and lets other people see this past body of work in a new light. In doing so, a great literature review makes the authors’ contribution stand out as novel and interesting to ongoing conversations in the field, and that is a key element to getting a paper accepted for publication. It’s great that so many people have downloaded the article and we hope that the literature reviews in FBR submissions will be stronger as a result!