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Externalising tacit knowledge of the systematic review process

Externalising tacit knowledge of the systematic review process

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Systematic Reviews (SRs) have recently intensified in Software Engineering. However, there is a lack of work that makes explicit how the process to perform SR is in practice. The goal of this paper is externalising the process that reflects how SRs are currently performed, transforming tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge. We describe the phases and activities that compose the process and the relationship among them, and explore the iterative characteristic of this process, focusing on intra- and inter-phase iterations that are necessary to conduct the process appropriately. To achieve the proposed goal, we devised the process based on practical experience acquired for several years by research groups in Software Engineering, which include graduate students and researchers who have applied SR. The process has been applied in several SRs and seems to be effective in keeping the focus of the review at all phases. Moreover, the externalisation of the process has been useful to help researchers improving the process execution quality. As the process reflects the practice and is explained in details, it can be used as a guide to better understand the SR process and its details. This shall contribute to improve all SR process phases, and hence the quality of SR results.

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