Quality & Quantity

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 623–643 | Cite as

A network approach toward literature review

  • Lidwien van de WijngaertEmail author
  • Harry Bouwman
  • Noshir Contractor


This study introduces a method that uses a network approach towards literature review. To employ this approach, we use hypotheses proposed in scientific publications as building blocks. In network terms, a hypothesis is a directed tie between two concepts or nodes. The network emerges by aggregating the hypotheses from a set of articles in a specific domain. This study explains the method and its potential for reviewing literature in a particular domain. As a proof of concept, we provide a case study reviewing the research literature on the adoption of eGovernment services. Our analyses show that a network approach towards literature review provides novel insights into the current state of a research domain. Although there are limitations, this approach has the potential to help scholarly communities focus their research and formulate new research questions.


Network analysis Literature review Meta-analysis eGovernment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lidwien van de Wijngaert
    • 1
    Email author
  • Harry Bouwman
    • 2
    • 3
  • Noshir Contractor
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Center for eGovernment Studies, Media Communication and Organization, Faculty of Behavioural SciencesUniversity of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Information and Communication Technology, Faculty of Technology, Policy and ManagementDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Institute for Advanced Management Systems ResearchÅboAkademi UniversityTurkuFinland
  4. 4.Department of Industrial Engineering & Management SciencesMcCormick School of Engineering & Applied Science, Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  5. 5.Department of Communication StudiesSchool of Communication, Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  6. 6.Department of Management & OrganizationsKellogg School of Management, Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

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