Review and theory symbiosis: An introspective retrospective

Dorothy E. Leidner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (SciVal)


This paper presents a polylithic framework of review and theory development (RTD) papers. Based upon a reflective analysis of review papers that I have written, read, and/or reviewed, I build a framework suggesting four types of RTD papers: organizing reviews, assessing reviews, specific-theorizing reviews, and broad-theorizing reviews. The four types vary according to the research focus and research objectives, with research focus ranging from primarily description to the identification of gaps, and research objective ranging from primarily synthesizing to primarily theorizing. The framework and accompanying discussion are intended to provide scholars a perspective of the different ways that theory development and review papers intersect. The paper proposes criteria to help evaluate the quality of RTD papers and provides suggestions to authors on how to craft RTD papers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-567
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the Association of Information Systems
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Information Studies


  • Literature review
  • Review
  • Theorizing
  • Theory development
  • Typology

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