Conducting Systematic Literature Reviews in Systems Engineering

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JP3101 Conducting systematic literature reviews in systems engineering, Course Syllabus Spring 2018


5.0 credits


Examiner and course responsible, Robert Lagerström (


In any good research study knowing what others have done before you is key and most research papers contain related work sections. However, how you conduct your literature review differs a lot and mostly it is done ad-hoc without a proper method. Researchers basically choose what papers to include and which ones to exclude. This can cause bias and it is difficult to make sure that you haven’t missed any important sources. Conducting a systematic literature review with a documented methodology can solve these problems if done correctly with traceable decisions and assumptions. In this course you, as a student, will learn about different methods for conducting literature reviews, how do chose the appropriate one for you specific topic, and how to implement it in a good way.


Learning outcomes:

After the course, the student should be able to:

  • describe different methodologies for systematic literature reviews.
  • identify the most appropriate systematic literature review methodology for a certain research topic in systems engineering.
  • conduct a systematic literature review for a certain research topic in systems engineering, including analyzing the literature in an appropriate manner.
  • present systematic literature reviews in an academic acceptable manner.


Course content

In this course we will discuss the difference between a “regular” related works section in a paper and a systematic literature review. We will study and compare different methods for conducting literature reviews, with focus on systematic methods and so-called meta-analyses. We will learn about the main differences between the different methods and what the pros and cons are with each. Each student will apply the most suitable method to his or her topic of study, within the area of systems engineering. This will be reported in an academic way, to either stand alone as contribution to the field or as a thorough traceable related work section for future papers on the topic.


Course disposition

Lectures, seminars, presentations, and project report


Requirements for final grade:

  • Three 15 minute oral presentations during seminars
  • Project (preferably on a topic related to the student’s own research)
  • One 30 minute oral presentation of project
  • Written project report


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