Sample Essay on Analyzing the Past to Prepare for the Future

Analyzing the Past to Prepare for the Future: Writing a Literature Review

The article, ‘Analyzing the past to prepare for the future: Writing a literature review’, focuses on the existing gaps in IS article reviews. The article clearly explains the need for reviews in the field of Information Systems, which it describes as a multi-disciplinary field. Despite the existence of various, albeit few reviews in the field, there is none that describes what a review should actually look like. The article therefore cuts a niche into a largely unexplored area of knowledge and provides what authors may need and yet not be aware of.

This paper is essential to the field of Information Systems as it enlightens both the readers and the potential authors of reviews. The readers can comprehend the important aspects of a review from this article and thus know what to look for when reading a review. At the same time, the authors can keep track of their deliveries and thus give reviews worth publishing.

From a publications point of view, the article is offers a valuable aid in the conservation of time and resources both to publishers and to the authors. For instance, instead of blindly carrying out reviews that result in mind-numbing pieces of writing, authors could use this article as a guide to producing work worth publishing. This could effectively save the time that would have been taken in editorial reviews of the articles as well as reducing the chances of article rejection. On the part of the publications, it could lead in the provision of content worth reading.

The authors assert that while there are several reviews for articles in other disciplines, it is not easy to find reviews based on IS articles (1). The purpose of the article is to enlighten potential authors on how to create powerful IS article reviews and to have the published in the MISQ Review, a journal dedicated to Information Systems reviews. Webster and Watson (1) further state that despite the development of the IS field from the classification Systems to a Conceptual frame work, its growth has been impeded by the existence of only a few article reviews. The reasons for the limited article reviews are stated as: the relative youth of the IS field, challenges involved in drawing theories from multiple disciplines which make up IS, and lack of familiarity with the format and structure of review articles.

In addressing these issues, the article focuses on describing the potential authors for the MISQ Review and highlighting the nature of the articles that can be published by the Review. In describing the potential authors of the review, Webster and Watson articulate that it is essential that any would be author of a review should have achieved a significant level of progress with regards to a given stream of research in the field. The authors advocate for concept based reviews as opposed to author based reviews. The process of carrying out a concept based review is outlined as involving: identifying the topic and communicating it at the beginning of the paper, identifying relevant literature, structuring the review, making theoretical developments, evaluating the proposed theory, carrying out the discussions and making conclusions. The review should be revised as it progresses. In structuring the review, the authors stress on the importance of the tense and tone of the review in ensuring that the product can be published by MISQ Quarterly.

The conceptual model applied in the paper is based on literature review. The concepts outlined therein are developed from a variety of literature which also provides supporting argument’s for the paper’s thesis and key points. In the model used to develop this paper, the identification of the information gap occupies the foundation of all other activities. This is followed by identification of relevant information, evaluation of the information obtained to determine its worth, planning the writing process and organizing the paper’s contents, and presentation of the information in written form. The problem/ information gap identified was that lack of many reviews in the field of Information Systems. This model can be represented diagrammatically as a pyramid with the lowest level comprising of the problem identification and the highest level representing the final outcome which is the developed paper

This article is an essential tool in any potential research and writing practice. In research, it can be applied as a guide, particularly in finding the relevant content for a research paper. The authors describe the process of content based literature review as opposed to author based reviews. In this description, a researcher could find information that may guide him/ her on how to go about a study. Other aspects of research that have been discussed in details include the use of tense and tone to achieve the desired objective of a paper. For practitioners, the paper similarly provides a wealth of information regarding what to look for when utilizing reference materials.

Works Cited

Webster, Jane and Richard Watson. Analyzing the Past to Prepare for the Future: Writing a Literature Review. MIS Quarterly 26. 2(2002): xiii-xxiii.