Revista Contabilidade & Finanças
On-line version ISSN 1808-057X
AQUINO, André Carlos Busanelli de; PAGLIARUSSI, Marcelo Sanches and BITTI, Eugênio José Silva. Heuristic method for composing a literature review. Rev. contab. finanç. [online]. 2008, vol.19, n.47, pp. 73-88. ISSN 1808-057X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1519-70772008000200007.
The process of doing and documenting a literature review is usually quite idiosyncratic. Luft and Shields (2003) presented a process to map theory-consistent empirical research in management accounting. We propose a formal heuristic method for the process of literature reviewing that integrates their mapping process. The heuristic presented here is based on the concept of layers, and it is aimed at mitigating inclusion errors and exclusion errors which might occur when selecting papers for a literature review. These errors impact internal validity and construct validity, since a literature review defines operationalization of variables, choices of proxies and selection of methods. We present an example of actual utilization of the process in a dissertation conducted in a Master's Program in Accountancy. We conclude that the heuristics allowed the researcher to identify outstanding authors in the chosen topic, and the main theories used to support empirical studies. The heuristics supported the operationalization of a research by means of an identification of 199 proxies for 58 related variables, eight theoretical approaches and 57 authors. These results were used to draw a map of the selected topic, based on more objective criteria.
Keywords : Literature review; Internal validity; Construct validity; Heuristic process; Management accounting.