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Chitu Okoli

Research methodology

Along the course of my research, I have had to research some specific research methodologies to enhance the quality of my other studies. Specifically, I have studied the Delphi methodology and systematic literature reviews.


Okoli, Chitu and Kira Schabram (2010). A Guide to Conducting a Systematic Literature Review of Information Systems Research. SSRN Working Paper Series, May 5, 2010 (

Levy and Ellis (2006) and Webster and Watson (2002) lament the fact that information systems (IS) scholars tend to be unaware of the need for structure in literature reviews. Even today, the rigorous, standardized methodology for conducting a systematic literature review (SLR) that has developed from the health sciences and other fields is virtually unknown in IS research. In this paper, we adapt Fink’s (2005, p. 3) definition of a research literature review as our operative definition of a systematic literature review: “a systematic, explicit, [comprehensive, (p. 17)] and reproducible method for identifying, evaluating, and synthesizing the existing body of completed and recorded work produced by researchers, scholars, and practitioners.” Although there exists an abundance of guides to conducting such reviews in other research fields, none entirely meet the unique needs of IS researchers. In response to this shortage of guides, we present here the features and value of a systematic literature review, and adapt the methodology to the particular context of IS research.


Okoli, Chitu, and Suzanne D. Pawlowski. 2004. The Delphi method as a research tool: an example, design considerations and applications. Information & Management 42, no. 1 (December): 15-29. doi:10.1016/

The Delphi method has proven a popular tool in information systems research for identifying and prioritizing issues for managerial decision-making. However, many past studies have not adopted a systematic approach to conduct a Delphi study. This article provides rigorous guidelines for the process of selecting appropriate experts for the study and gives detailed principles for making design choices during the process that ensure a valid study. A detailed example of a study to identify key factors affecting the diffusion of e-commerce in Sub-Saharan Africa illustrates the design choices that may be involved. We conclude with suggestions for theoretical applications.

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