A tertiary study: Experiences of conducting systematic literature reviews in software engineering

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Conference Proceeding
ACM International Conference Proceeding Series, 2013, pp. 177 - 182
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Context: The use of Systematic Literature Review (SLR) requires expertise and poses many challenges for novice researchers. The experiences of those who have used this research methodology can benefit novice researchers in effectively dealing with these challenges. Objective: The aim of this study is to record the reported experiences of conducting Systematic Literature Reviews, for the benefit of new researchers. Such a review will greatly benefit the researchers wanting to conduct SLR for the very first time. Method: We conducted a tertiary study to gather the experiences published by researchers. Studies that have used the SLR research methodology in software engineering and have implicitly or explicitly reported their experiences are included in this review. Results: Our research has revealed 116 studies relevant to the theme. The data has been extracted by two researchers working independently and conflicts resolved after discussion with third researcher. Findings from these studies highlight Search Strategy, Online Databases, Planning and Data Extraction as the most challenging phases of SLR. Lack of standard terminology in software engineering papers, poor quality of abstracts and problems with search engines are some of the most cited challenges. Conclusion: Further research and guidelines is required to facilitate novice researchers in conducting these phases properly. Copyright 2013 ACM.
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