This research. The purpose of a literature review

This master’s thesis aim is to contribute to the science by applying a systematic literature review. In order to make a scientific contribution, the gathered information from the literature review and from the review of VR and AR related online sources such as newspaper articles and blogposts will be analysed and evaluated and at the end the outcome of the literature review will be assessed. In this case the current state of the art of immersive systems in specific VR and AR will be displayed in order to answer the research question.

 

The first step of any academic research is the literature review. Reviewing the existing literature to a specific topic is one of the most important steps of the research. The purpose of a literature review is to identify the existing knowledge about the research topic and frame it in a way that it can be regarded as background information which helps to justify the conducting research (Bryman, 2016, p. 90). Furthermore, a literature review should display existing concepts and theories which are crucial to the research area. Including this, the used research methods and research strategies which are applied in those previews studies with the belonging outcomes should be analysed (Bryman & Bell, 2015, p. 101). Mainly, a literature review can be distinguished between a narrative review and systematic review.  A narrative review is more the traditional kind of literature review. By conducting a narrative literature review the already gathered knowledge about the specific research area are displayed which helps to introduce the new research. To sum up, a narrative literature review is an examination of existing theories and conducted researches which relate to the field of research and interest. The second kind of a literature review is the systematic review. A systematic review is defined as “a replicable, scientific, and transparent process … that aims to minimize bias through exhaustive literature searches of published and unpublished studies and by providing an audit trail of the reviewer’s decisions, procedures and conclusions” (Transfield et al., 2003, p. 209). This is often seen as a contrast to the traditional narrative review. The difference between the two differentiations are that a systematic review is more suitable for generating unbiased and comprehensive basis of the literature. Especially, in fields in which is important to evaluate whether a specific intercession has a benefit or not. Furthermore, a systematic review can either use only quantitative studies or qualitative studies for summarizing the existing literature. In case only quantitative studies are used it is called a meta-analysis and if only qualitative studies are used it is called meta-ethnography. In the former years, the meta-analysis was the predominant approach. However, in the recent years the usage of qualitative studies for the literature review gained more attention (Bryman, 2016, p. 99).

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Yet, according to Bryman (2016) both have a similar approach of the following steps when it comes to do a review. The first step is the definition of the purpose and the scope of the review. The definition of the purpose in any literature review needs a precise statement which is needed to justify in a coherent way what kind of research the researcher looks for and to which extend the conducted research should link to the kinds of samples. Within this step, it is crucial to formulate a proper research question(s) as precise as possible which helps to define the purpose of the research and provides a more effective basis for the keyword search which represents a crucial element in the second step. The second step is about the identification of all relevant studies which fit to the purpose and scope of the review. In order to find studies which are relevant for the research question it is suggested to use a keyword search. All defined keywords should represent terms which relate to the topic of the research. Moreover, the author underlines the fact that is crucial to design the search strategy as transparent as possible in order to make it replicable. The researcher has to decide which studies should be considered and taken into account. Bryman (2016) argues that relying solely on peer-reviewed journal articles would lead to ignoring other relevant and important articles which did not appeared in academic journals. Even though, peer-reviewed journal articles are easy to find, the researcher should also look for studies which were published in other sources e.g. in non-peer-reviewed journal articles and books. Also, the consideration of grey literature e.g. conference papers and reports are tremendously recommended. The following step is the assessment of the examined studies for their relevance to the research question(s).

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