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Journal of Strategy and Management

ISSN : 1755-425X

Article publication date: 2 September 2021

Issue publication date: 4 February 2022

This paper presents a comprehensive review of academic research dedicated to the field of Behavioral Strategy. Based on a series of Bibliometric and network analyses, the paper identifies the prominent trend and growth patterns pertaining to the evolution of this important strategic management subfield; it documents which particular journals, articles and authors have most influenced its development, and it maps the intellectual structure and network of authors, publications and countries. Finally, the paper considers the substantive research themes emerging from the analyses reported, in terms of their implications for future work.


The authors undertook a series of Bibliometric and network analyses of 217 relevant articles, published between 1975 and 2020, in journals listed in the Scopus database, using R-studio and VOSviewer. Articles incorporated in the study were selected based on relevant key terms searched from the title, abstract and list of keywords associated with each publication.

The results demonstrate that behavioral strategy has enjoyed robust and sustained growth, with widespread impact across many areas of the heterogeneous business and management field as a whole. Three distinct periods are identified: an infancy stage (prior to 1999); a steady growth stage (1999–2010); and a take-off stage (2011 onwards). The top three journals in terms of content coverage, based on the number of relevant articles published in relation to behavioral strategy, are Strategic Management Journal, Advances in Strategic Management (AiSM) and the Journal of Management, while the top three most influential journals, in terms of citations pertaining to Behavioral Strategy, based on an analysis of citations in the Scopus database, are Strategic Management Journal, Academy of Management Perspectives and Journal of Management Studies. Gerard P. Hodgkinson and Thomas C. Powell are the most prolific authors. The emerging themes based on intellectual structures have been identified as Behavioral Strategy, Behavioral Theory of Firm; Strategic Leadership and Dynamic Capabilities; and Strategic Cognition and Decision Making.

Practical implications

The study contributes to knowledge advancement concerning Behavioral Strategy by opening new possibilities to discover important research areas.


The study is the first of its kind on Behavioral Strategy providing a comprehensive systematic literature review.

  • Behavioral strategy
  • Bibliometric analysis
  • Co-citation analysis
  • Network analysis
  • Systematic literature review

Anwar, J. , Bibi, A. and Ahmad, N. (2022), "Behavioral strategy: mapping the trends, sources and intellectual evolution", Journal of Strategy and Management , Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 140-168.

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Towards a methodology for developing evidence-informed management knowledge by means of systematic review, updating guidance for reporting systematic reviews: development of the prisma 2020 statement, cognitive trails in strategic decision‐making: linking theories of personalities and cognitions*, hindsight bias and strategic choice: some problems in learning from experience, introduction: what is strategy as practice, related papers (5), identification of components for the evaluation of funded research project: a systematic literature review, conceptualization of research themes and directions in business ecosystem strategies: a systematic literature review, systematic review on sustainable entrepreneurship education (see): a framework and analysis, strategic technology partnering capabilities: a systematic review of the empirical evidence over two decades, trending questions (3).

- Traits are major internal factors influencing behavioral strategy implementation. - Behavioral traits interact with cognition in strategy implementation.

Cognition, traits, organizational contingencies, and environmental contingencies are the most relevant topics in the field of behavioral strategy based on the systematic literature review.

Key components of a systematic literature review for research strategy include internal factors like cognition and traits, and external factors such as organizational and environmental contingencies in behavioral strategy research.

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  • v.21(3); Fall 2022

Literature Reviews, Theoretical Frameworks, and Conceptual Frameworks: An Introduction for New Biology Education Researchers

Julie a. luft.

† Department of Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science Education, Mary Frances Early College of Education, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-7124

Sophia Jeong

‡ Department of Teaching & Learning, College of Education & Human Ecology, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210

Robert Idsardi

§ Department of Biology, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA 99004

Grant Gardner

∥ Department of Biology, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Associated Data

To frame their work, biology education researchers need to consider the role of literature reviews, theoretical frameworks, and conceptual frameworks as critical elements of the research and writing process. However, these elements can be confusing for scholars new to education research. This Research Methods article is designed to provide an overview of each of these elements and delineate the purpose of each in the educational research process. We describe what biology education researchers should consider as they conduct literature reviews, identify theoretical frameworks, and construct conceptual frameworks. Clarifying these different components of educational research studies can be helpful to new biology education researchers and the biology education research community at large in situating their work in the broader scholarly literature.


Discipline-based education research (DBER) involves the purposeful and situated study of teaching and learning in specific disciplinary areas ( Singer et al. , 2012 ). Studies in DBER are guided by research questions that reflect disciplines’ priorities and worldviews. Researchers can use quantitative data, qualitative data, or both to answer these research questions through a variety of methodological traditions. Across all methodologies, there are different methods associated with planning and conducting educational research studies that include the use of surveys, interviews, observations, artifacts, or instruments. Ensuring the coherence of these elements to the discipline’s perspective also involves situating the work in the broader scholarly literature. The tools for doing this include literature reviews, theoretical frameworks, and conceptual frameworks. However, the purpose and function of each of these elements is often confusing to new education researchers. The goal of this article is to introduce new biology education researchers to these three important elements important in DBER scholarship and the broader educational literature.

The first element we discuss is a review of research (literature reviews), which highlights the need for a specific research question, study problem, or topic of investigation. Literature reviews situate the relevance of the study within a topic and a field. The process may seem familiar to science researchers entering DBER fields, but new researchers may still struggle in conducting the review. Booth et al. (2016b) highlight some of the challenges novice education researchers face when conducting a review of literature. They point out that novice researchers struggle in deciding how to focus the review, determining the scope of articles needed in the review, and knowing how to be critical of the articles in the review. Overcoming these challenges (and others) can help novice researchers construct a sound literature review that can inform the design of the study and help ensure the work makes a contribution to the field.

The second and third highlighted elements are theoretical and conceptual frameworks. These guide biology education research (BER) studies, and may be less familiar to science researchers. These elements are important in shaping the construction of new knowledge. Theoretical frameworks offer a way to explain and interpret the studied phenomenon, while conceptual frameworks clarify assumptions about the studied phenomenon. Despite the importance of these constructs in educational research, biology educational researchers have noted the limited use of theoretical or conceptual frameworks in published work ( DeHaan, 2011 ; Dirks, 2011 ; Lo et al. , 2019 ). In reviewing articles published in CBE—Life Sciences Education ( LSE ) between 2015 and 2019, we found that fewer than 25% of the research articles had a theoretical or conceptual framework (see the Supplemental Information), and at times there was an inconsistent use of theoretical and conceptual frameworks. Clearly, these frameworks are challenging for published biology education researchers, which suggests the importance of providing some initial guidance to new biology education researchers.

Fortunately, educational researchers have increased their explicit use of these frameworks over time, and this is influencing educational research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. For instance, a quick search for theoretical or conceptual frameworks in the abstracts of articles in Educational Research Complete (a common database for educational research) in STEM fields demonstrates a dramatic change over the last 20 years: from only 778 articles published between 2000 and 2010 to 5703 articles published between 2010 and 2020, a more than sevenfold increase. Greater recognition of the importance of these frameworks is contributing to DBER authors being more explicit about such frameworks in their studies.

Collectively, literature reviews, theoretical frameworks, and conceptual frameworks work to guide methodological decisions and the elucidation of important findings. Each offers a different perspective on the problem of study and is an essential element in all forms of educational research. As new researchers seek to learn about these elements, they will find different resources, a variety of perspectives, and many suggestions about the construction and use of these elements. The wide range of available information can overwhelm the new researcher who just wants to learn the distinction between these elements or how to craft them adequately.

Our goal in writing this paper is not to offer specific advice about how to write these sections in scholarly work. Instead, we wanted to introduce these elements to those who are new to BER and who are interested in better distinguishing one from the other. In this paper, we share the purpose of each element in BER scholarship, along with important points on its construction. We also provide references for additional resources that may be beneficial to better understanding each element. Table 1 summarizes the key distinctions among these elements.

Comparison of literature reviews, theoretical frameworks, and conceptual reviews

Literature reviewsTheoretical frameworksConceptual frameworks
PurposeTo point out the need for the study in BER and connection to the field.To state the assumptions and orientations of the researcher regarding the topic of studyTo describe the researcher’s understanding of the main concepts under investigation
AimsA literature review examines current and relevant research associated with the study question. It is comprehensive, critical, and purposeful.A theoretical framework illuminates the phenomenon of study and the corresponding assumptions adopted by the researcher. Frameworks can take on different orientations.The conceptual framework is created by the researcher(s), includes the presumed relationships among concepts, and addresses needed areas of study discovered in literature reviews.
Connection to the manuscriptA literature review should connect to the study question, guide the study methodology, and be central in the discussion by indicating how the analyzed data advances what is known in the field.  A theoretical framework drives the question, guides the types of methods for data collection and analysis, informs the discussion of the findings, and reveals the subjectivities of the researcher.The conceptual framework is informed by literature reviews, experiences, or experiments. It may include emergent ideas that are not yet grounded in the literature. It should be coherent with the paper’s theoretical framing.
Additional pointsA literature review may reach beyond BER and include other education research fields.A theoretical framework does not rationalize the need for the study, and a theoretical framework can come from different fields.A conceptual framework articulates the phenomenon under study through written descriptions and/or visual representations.

This article is written for the new biology education researcher who is just learning about these different elements or for scientists looking to become more involved in BER. It is a result of our own work as science education and biology education researchers, whether as graduate students and postdoctoral scholars or newly hired and established faculty members. This is the article we wish had been available as we started to learn about these elements or discussed them with new educational researchers in biology.


Purpose of a literature review.

A literature review is foundational to any research study in education or science. In education, a well-conceptualized and well-executed review provides a summary of the research that has already been done on a specific topic and identifies questions that remain to be answered, thus illustrating the current research project’s potential contribution to the field and the reasoning behind the methodological approach selected for the study ( Maxwell, 2012 ). BER is an evolving disciplinary area that is redefining areas of conceptual emphasis as well as orientations toward teaching and learning (e.g., Labov et al. , 2010 ; American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2011 ; Nehm, 2019 ). As a result, building comprehensive, critical, purposeful, and concise literature reviews can be a challenge for new biology education researchers.

Building Literature Reviews

There are different ways to approach and construct a literature review. Booth et al. (2016a) provide an overview that includes, for example, scoping reviews, which are focused only on notable studies and use a basic method of analysis, and integrative reviews, which are the result of exhaustive literature searches across different genres. Underlying each of these different review processes are attention to the s earch process, a ppraisa l of articles, s ynthesis of the literature, and a nalysis: SALSA ( Booth et al. , 2016a ). This useful acronym can help the researcher focus on the process while building a specific type of review.

However, new educational researchers often have questions about literature reviews that are foundational to SALSA or other approaches. Common questions concern determining which literature pertains to the topic of study or the role of the literature review in the design of the study. This section addresses such questions broadly while providing general guidance for writing a narrative literature review that evaluates the most pertinent studies.

The literature review process should begin before the research is conducted. As Boote and Beile (2005 , p. 3) suggested, researchers should be “scholars before researchers.” They point out that having a good working knowledge of the proposed topic helps illuminate avenues of study. Some subject areas have a deep body of work to read and reflect upon, providing a strong foundation for developing the research question(s). For instance, the teaching and learning of evolution is an area of long-standing interest in the BER community, generating many studies (e.g., Perry et al. , 2008 ; Barnes and Brownell, 2016 ) and reviews of research (e.g., Sickel and Friedrichsen, 2013 ; Ziadie and Andrews, 2018 ). Emerging areas of BER include the affective domain, issues of transfer, and metacognition ( Singer et al. , 2012 ). Many studies in these areas are transdisciplinary and not always specific to biology education (e.g., Rodrigo-Peiris et al. , 2018 ; Kolpikova et al. , 2019 ). These newer areas may require reading outside BER; fortunately, summaries of some of these topics can be found in the Current Insights section of the LSE website.

In focusing on a specific problem within a broader research strand, a new researcher will likely need to examine research outside BER. Depending upon the area of study, the expanded reading list might involve a mix of BER, DBER, and educational research studies. Determining the scope of the reading is not always straightforward. A simple way to focus one’s reading is to create a “summary phrase” or “research nugget,” which is a very brief descriptive statement about the study. It should focus on the essence of the study, for example, “first-year nonmajor students’ understanding of evolution,” “metacognitive prompts to enhance learning during biochemistry,” or “instructors’ inquiry-based instructional practices after professional development programming.” This type of phrase should help a new researcher identify two or more areas to review that pertain to the study. Focusing on recent research in the last 5 years is a good first step. Additional studies can be identified by reading relevant works referenced in those articles. It is also important to read seminal studies that are more than 5 years old. Reading a range of studies should give the researcher the necessary command of the subject in order to suggest a research question.

Given that the research question(s) arise from the literature review, the review should also substantiate the selected methodological approach. The review and research question(s) guide the researcher in determining how to collect and analyze data. Often the methodological approach used in a study is selected to contribute knowledge that expands upon what has been published previously about the topic (see Institute of Education Sciences and National Science Foundation, 2013 ). An emerging topic of study may need an exploratory approach that allows for a description of the phenomenon and development of a potential theory. This could, but not necessarily, require a methodological approach that uses interviews, observations, surveys, or other instruments. An extensively studied topic may call for the additional understanding of specific factors or variables; this type of study would be well suited to a verification or a causal research design. These could entail a methodological approach that uses valid and reliable instruments, observations, or interviews to determine an effect in the studied event. In either of these examples, the researcher(s) may use a qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods methodological approach.

Even with a good research question, there is still more reading to be done. The complexity and focus of the research question dictates the depth and breadth of the literature to be examined. Questions that connect multiple topics can require broad literature reviews. For instance, a study that explores the impact of a biology faculty learning community on the inquiry instruction of faculty could have the following review areas: learning communities among biology faculty, inquiry instruction among biology faculty, and inquiry instruction among biology faculty as a result of professional learning. Biology education researchers need to consider whether their literature review requires studies from different disciplines within or outside DBER. For the example given, it would be fruitful to look at research focused on learning communities with faculty in STEM fields or in general education fields that result in instructional change. It is important not to be too narrow or too broad when reading. When the conclusions of articles start to sound similar or no new insights are gained, the researcher likely has a good foundation for a literature review. This level of reading should allow the researcher to demonstrate a mastery in understanding the researched topic, explain the suitability of the proposed research approach, and point to the need for the refined research question(s).

The literature review should include the researcher’s evaluation and critique of the selected studies. A researcher may have a large collection of studies, but not all of the studies will follow standards important in the reporting of empirical work in the social sciences. The American Educational Research Association ( Duran et al. , 2006 ), for example, offers a general discussion about standards for such work: an adequate review of research informing the study, the existence of sound and appropriate data collection and analysis methods, and appropriate conclusions that do not overstep or underexplore the analyzed data. The Institute of Education Sciences and National Science Foundation (2013) also offer Common Guidelines for Education Research and Development that can be used to evaluate collected studies.

Because not all journals adhere to such standards, it is important that a researcher review each study to determine the quality of published research, per the guidelines suggested earlier. In some instances, the research may be fatally flawed. Examples of such flaws include data that do not pertain to the question, a lack of discussion about the data collection, poorly constructed instruments, or an inadequate analysis. These types of errors result in studies that are incomplete, error-laden, or inaccurate and should be excluded from the review. Most studies have limitations, and the author(s) often make them explicit. For instance, there may be an instructor effect, recognized bias in the analysis, or issues with the sample population. Limitations are usually addressed by the research team in some way to ensure a sound and acceptable research process. Occasionally, the limitations associated with the study can be significant and not addressed adequately, which leaves a consequential decision in the hands of the researcher. Providing critiques of studies in the literature review process gives the reader confidence that the researcher has carefully examined relevant work in preparation for the study and, ultimately, the manuscript.

A solid literature review clearly anchors the proposed study in the field and connects the research question(s), the methodological approach, and the discussion. Reviewing extant research leads to research questions that will contribute to what is known in the field. By summarizing what is known, the literature review points to what needs to be known, which in turn guides decisions about methodology. Finally, notable findings of the new study are discussed in reference to those described in the literature review.

Within published BER studies, literature reviews can be placed in different locations in an article. When included in the introductory section of the study, the first few paragraphs of the manuscript set the stage, with the literature review following the opening paragraphs. Cooper et al. (2019) illustrate this approach in their study of course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs). An introduction discussing the potential of CURES is followed by an analysis of the existing literature relevant to the design of CUREs that allows for novel student discoveries. Within this review, the authors point out contradictory findings among research on novel student discoveries. This clarifies the need for their study, which is described and highlighted through specific research aims.

A literature reviews can also make up a separate section in a paper. For example, the introduction to Todd et al. (2019) illustrates the need for their research topic by highlighting the potential of learning progressions (LPs) and suggesting that LPs may help mitigate learning loss in genetics. At the end of the introduction, the authors state their specific research questions. The review of literature following this opening section comprises two subsections. One focuses on learning loss in general and examines a variety of studies and meta-analyses from the disciplines of medical education, mathematics, and reading. The second section focuses specifically on LPs in genetics and highlights student learning in the midst of LPs. These separate reviews provide insights into the stated research question.

Suggestions and Advice

A well-conceptualized, comprehensive, and critical literature review reveals the understanding of the topic that the researcher brings to the study. Literature reviews should not be so big that there is no clear area of focus; nor should they be so narrow that no real research question arises. The task for a researcher is to craft an efficient literature review that offers a critical analysis of published work, articulates the need for the study, guides the methodological approach to the topic of study, and provides an adequate foundation for the discussion of the findings.

In our own writing of literature reviews, there are often many drafts. An early draft may seem well suited to the study because the need for and approach to the study are well described. However, as the results of the study are analyzed and findings begin to emerge, the existing literature review may be inadequate and need revision. The need for an expanded discussion about the research area can result in the inclusion of new studies that support the explanation of a potential finding. The literature review may also prove to be too broad. Refocusing on a specific area allows for more contemplation of a finding.

It should be noted that there are different types of literature reviews, and many books and articles have been written about the different ways to embark on these types of reviews. Among these different resources, the following may be helpful in considering how to refine the review process for scholarly journals:

  • Booth, A., Sutton, A., & Papaioannou, D. (2016a). Systemic approaches to a successful literature review (2nd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage. This book addresses different types of literature reviews and offers important suggestions pertaining to defining the scope of the literature review and assessing extant studies.
  • Booth, W. C., Colomb, G. G., Williams, J. M., Bizup, J., & Fitzgerald, W. T. (2016b). The craft of research (4th ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. This book can help the novice consider how to make the case for an area of study. While this book is not specifically about literature reviews, it offers suggestions about making the case for your study.
  • Galvan, J. L., & Galvan, M. C. (2017). Writing literature reviews: A guide for students of the social and behavioral sciences (7th ed.). Routledge. This book offers guidance on writing different types of literature reviews. For the novice researcher, there are useful suggestions for creating coherent literature reviews.


Purpose of theoretical frameworks.

As new education researchers may be less familiar with theoretical frameworks than with literature reviews, this discussion begins with an analogy. Envision a biologist, chemist, and physicist examining together the dramatic effect of a fog tsunami over the ocean. A biologist gazing at this phenomenon may be concerned with the effect of fog on various species. A chemist may be interested in the chemical composition of the fog as water vapor condenses around bits of salt. A physicist may be focused on the refraction of light to make fog appear to be “sitting” above the ocean. While observing the same “objective event,” the scientists are operating under different theoretical frameworks that provide a particular perspective or “lens” for the interpretation of the phenomenon. Each of these scientists brings specialized knowledge, experiences, and values to this phenomenon, and these influence the interpretation of the phenomenon. The scientists’ theoretical frameworks influence how they design and carry out their studies and interpret their data.

Within an educational study, a theoretical framework helps to explain a phenomenon through a particular lens and challenges and extends existing knowledge within the limitations of that lens. Theoretical frameworks are explicitly stated by an educational researcher in the paper’s framework, theory, or relevant literature section. The framework shapes the types of questions asked, guides the method by which data are collected and analyzed, and informs the discussion of the results of the study. It also reveals the researcher’s subjectivities, for example, values, social experience, and viewpoint ( Allen, 2017 ). It is essential that a novice researcher learn to explicitly state a theoretical framework, because all research questions are being asked from the researcher’s implicit or explicit assumptions of a phenomenon of interest ( Schwandt, 2000 ).

Selecting Theoretical Frameworks

Theoretical frameworks are one of the most contemplated elements in our work in educational research. In this section, we share three important considerations for new scholars selecting a theoretical framework.

The first step in identifying a theoretical framework involves reflecting on the phenomenon within the study and the assumptions aligned with the phenomenon. The phenomenon involves the studied event. There are many possibilities, for example, student learning, instructional approach, or group organization. A researcher holds assumptions about how the phenomenon will be effected, influenced, changed, or portrayed. It is ultimately the researcher’s assumption(s) about the phenomenon that aligns with a theoretical framework. An example can help illustrate how a researcher’s reflection on the phenomenon and acknowledgment of assumptions can result in the identification of a theoretical framework.

In our example, a biology education researcher may be interested in exploring how students’ learning of difficult biological concepts can be supported by the interactions of group members. The phenomenon of interest is the interactions among the peers, and the researcher assumes that more knowledgeable students are important in supporting the learning of the group. As a result, the researcher may draw on Vygotsky’s (1978) sociocultural theory of learning and development that is focused on the phenomenon of student learning in a social setting. This theory posits the critical nature of interactions among students and between students and teachers in the process of building knowledge. A researcher drawing upon this framework holds the assumption that learning is a dynamic social process involving questions and explanations among students in the classroom and that more knowledgeable peers play an important part in the process of building conceptual knowledge.

It is important to state at this point that there are many different theoretical frameworks. Some frameworks focus on learning and knowing, while other theoretical frameworks focus on equity, empowerment, or discourse. Some frameworks are well articulated, and others are still being refined. For a new researcher, it can be challenging to find a theoretical framework. Two of the best ways to look for theoretical frameworks is through published works that highlight different frameworks.

When a theoretical framework is selected, it should clearly connect to all parts of the study. The framework should augment the study by adding a perspective that provides greater insights into the phenomenon. It should clearly align with the studies described in the literature review. For instance, a framework focused on learning would correspond to research that reported different learning outcomes for similar studies. The methods for data collection and analysis should also correspond to the framework. For instance, a study about instructional interventions could use a theoretical framework concerned with learning and could collect data about the effect of the intervention on what is learned. When the data are analyzed, the theoretical framework should provide added meaning to the findings, and the findings should align with the theoretical framework.

A study by Jensen and Lawson (2011) provides an example of how a theoretical framework connects different parts of the study. They compared undergraduate biology students in heterogeneous and homogeneous groups over the course of a semester. Jensen and Lawson (2011) assumed that learning involved collaboration and more knowledgeable peers, which made Vygotsky’s (1978) theory a good fit for their study. They predicted that students in heterogeneous groups would experience greater improvement in their reasoning abilities and science achievements with much of the learning guided by the more knowledgeable peers.

In the enactment of the study, they collected data about the instruction in traditional and inquiry-oriented classes, while the students worked in homogeneous or heterogeneous groups. To determine the effect of working in groups, the authors also measured students’ reasoning abilities and achievement. Each data-collection and analysis decision connected to understanding the influence of collaborative work.

Their findings highlighted aspects of Vygotsky’s (1978) theory of learning. One finding, for instance, posited that inquiry instruction, as a whole, resulted in reasoning and achievement gains. This links to Vygotsky (1978) , because inquiry instruction involves interactions among group members. A more nuanced finding was that group composition had a conditional effect. Heterogeneous groups performed better with more traditional and didactic instruction, regardless of the reasoning ability of the group members. Homogeneous groups worked better during interaction-rich activities for students with low reasoning ability. The authors attributed the variation to the different types of helping behaviors of students. High-performing students provided the answers, while students with low reasoning ability had to work collectively through the material. In terms of Vygotsky (1978) , this finding provided new insights into the learning context in which productive interactions can occur for students.

Another consideration in the selection and use of a theoretical framework pertains to its orientation to the study. This can result in the theoretical framework prioritizing individuals, institutions, and/or policies ( Anfara and Mertz, 2014 ). Frameworks that connect to individuals, for instance, could contribute to understanding their actions, learning, or knowledge. Institutional frameworks, on the other hand, offer insights into how institutions, organizations, or groups can influence individuals or materials. Policy theories provide ways to understand how national or local policies can dictate an emphasis on outcomes or instructional design. These different types of frameworks highlight different aspects in an educational setting, which influences the design of the study and the collection of data. In addition, these different frameworks offer a way to make sense of the data. Aligning the data collection and analysis with the framework ensures that a study is coherent and can contribute to the field.

New understandings emerge when different theoretical frameworks are used. For instance, Ebert-May et al. (2015) prioritized the individual level within conceptual change theory (see Posner et al. , 1982 ). In this theory, an individual’s knowledge changes when it no longer fits the phenomenon. Ebert-May et al. (2015) designed a professional development program challenging biology postdoctoral scholars’ existing conceptions of teaching. The authors reported that the biology postdoctoral scholars’ teaching practices became more student-centered as they were challenged to explain their instructional decision making. According to the theory, the biology postdoctoral scholars’ dissatisfaction in their descriptions of teaching and learning initiated change in their knowledge and instruction. These results reveal how conceptual change theory can explain the learning of participants and guide the design of professional development programming.

The communities of practice (CoP) theoretical framework ( Lave, 1988 ; Wenger, 1998 ) prioritizes the institutional level , suggesting that learning occurs when individuals learn from and contribute to the communities in which they reside. Grounded in the assumption of community learning, the literature on CoP suggests that, as individuals interact regularly with the other members of their group, they learn about the rules, roles, and goals of the community ( Allee, 2000 ). A study conducted by Gehrke and Kezar (2017) used the CoP framework to understand organizational change by examining the involvement of individual faculty engaged in a cross-institutional CoP focused on changing the instructional practice of faculty at each institution. In the CoP, faculty members were involved in enhancing instructional materials within their department, which aligned with an overarching goal of instituting instruction that embraced active learning. Not surprisingly, Gehrke and Kezar (2017) revealed that faculty who perceived the community culture as important in their work cultivated institutional change. Furthermore, they found that institutional change was sustained when key leaders served as mentors and provided support for faculty, and as faculty themselves developed into leaders. This study reveals the complexity of individual roles in a COP in order to support institutional instructional change.

It is important to explicitly state the theoretical framework used in a study, but elucidating a theoretical framework can be challenging for a new educational researcher. The literature review can help to identify an applicable theoretical framework. Focal areas of the review or central terms often connect to assumptions and assertions associated with the framework that pertain to the phenomenon of interest. Another way to identify a theoretical framework is self-reflection by the researcher on personal beliefs and understandings about the nature of knowledge the researcher brings to the study ( Lysaght, 2011 ). In stating one’s beliefs and understandings related to the study (e.g., students construct their knowledge, instructional materials support learning), an orientation becomes evident that will suggest a particular theoretical framework. Theoretical frameworks are not arbitrary , but purposefully selected.

With experience, a researcher may find expanded roles for theoretical frameworks. Researchers may revise an existing framework that has limited explanatory power, or they may decide there is a need to develop a new theoretical framework. These frameworks can emerge from a current study or the need to explain a phenomenon in a new way. Researchers may also find that multiple theoretical frameworks are necessary to frame and explore a problem, as different frameworks can provide different insights into a problem.

Finally, it is important to recognize that choosing “x” theoretical framework does not necessarily mean a researcher chooses “y” methodology and so on, nor is there a clear-cut, linear process in selecting a theoretical framework for one’s study. In part, the nonlinear process of identifying a theoretical framework is what makes understanding and using theoretical frameworks challenging. For the novice scholar, contemplating and understanding theoretical frameworks is essential. Fortunately, there are articles and books that can help:

  • Creswell, J. W. (2018). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (5th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage. This book provides an overview of theoretical frameworks in general educational research.
  • Ding, L. (2019). Theoretical perspectives of quantitative physics education research. Physical Review Physics Education Research , 15 (2), 020101-1–020101-13. This paper illustrates how a DBER field can use theoretical frameworks.
  • Nehm, R. (2019). Biology education research: Building integrative frameworks for teaching and learning about living systems. Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Science Education Research , 1 , ar15. . This paper articulates the need for studies in BER to explicitly state theoretical frameworks and provides examples of potential studies.
  • Patton, M. Q. (2015). Qualitative research & evaluation methods: Integrating theory and practice . Sage. This book also provides an overview of theoretical frameworks, but for both research and evaluation.


Purpose of a conceptual framework.

A conceptual framework is a description of the way a researcher understands the factors and/or variables that are involved in the study and their relationships to one another. The purpose of a conceptual framework is to articulate the concepts under study using relevant literature ( Rocco and Plakhotnik, 2009 ) and to clarify the presumed relationships among those concepts ( Rocco and Plakhotnik, 2009 ; Anfara and Mertz, 2014 ). Conceptual frameworks are different from theoretical frameworks in both their breadth and grounding in established findings. Whereas a theoretical framework articulates the lens through which a researcher views the work, the conceptual framework is often more mechanistic and malleable.

Conceptual frameworks are broader, encompassing both established theories (i.e., theoretical frameworks) and the researchers’ own emergent ideas. Emergent ideas, for example, may be rooted in informal and/or unpublished observations from experience. These emergent ideas would not be considered a “theory” if they are not yet tested, supported by systematically collected evidence, and peer reviewed. However, they do still play an important role in the way researchers approach their studies. The conceptual framework allows authors to clearly describe their emergent ideas so that connections among ideas in the study and the significance of the study are apparent to readers.

Constructing Conceptual Frameworks

Including a conceptual framework in a research study is important, but researchers often opt to include either a conceptual or a theoretical framework. Either may be adequate, but both provide greater insight into the research approach. For instance, a research team plans to test a novel component of an existing theory. In their study, they describe the existing theoretical framework that informs their work and then present their own conceptual framework. Within this conceptual framework, specific topics portray emergent ideas that are related to the theory. Describing both frameworks allows readers to better understand the researchers’ assumptions, orientations, and understanding of concepts being investigated. For example, Connolly et al. (2018) included a conceptual framework that described how they applied a theoretical framework of social cognitive career theory (SCCT) to their study on teaching programs for doctoral students. In their conceptual framework, the authors described SCCT, explained how it applied to the investigation, and drew upon results from previous studies to justify the proposed connections between the theory and their emergent ideas.

In some cases, authors may be able to sufficiently describe their conceptualization of the phenomenon under study in an introduction alone, without a separate conceptual framework section. However, incomplete descriptions of how the researchers conceptualize the components of the study may limit the significance of the study by making the research less intelligible to readers. This is especially problematic when studying topics in which researchers use the same terms for different constructs or different terms for similar and overlapping constructs (e.g., inquiry, teacher beliefs, pedagogical content knowledge, or active learning). Authors must describe their conceptualization of a construct if the research is to be understandable and useful.

There are some key areas to consider regarding the inclusion of a conceptual framework in a study. To begin with, it is important to recognize that conceptual frameworks are constructed by the researchers conducting the study ( Rocco and Plakhotnik, 2009 ; Maxwell, 2012 ). This is different from theoretical frameworks that are often taken from established literature. Researchers should bring together ideas from the literature, but they may be influenced by their own experiences as a student and/or instructor, the shared experiences of others, or thought experiments as they construct a description, model, or representation of their understanding of the phenomenon under study. This is an exercise in intellectual organization and clarity that often considers what is learned, known, and experienced. The conceptual framework makes these constructs explicitly visible to readers, who may have different understandings of the phenomenon based on their prior knowledge and experience. There is no single method to go about this intellectual work.

Reeves et al. (2016) is an example of an article that proposed a conceptual framework about graduate teaching assistant professional development evaluation and research. The authors used existing literature to create a novel framework that filled a gap in current research and practice related to the training of graduate teaching assistants. This conceptual framework can guide the systematic collection of data by other researchers because the framework describes the relationships among various factors that influence teaching and learning. The Reeves et al. (2016) conceptual framework may be modified as additional data are collected and analyzed by other researchers. This is not uncommon, as conceptual frameworks can serve as catalysts for concerted research efforts that systematically explore a phenomenon (e.g., Reynolds et al. , 2012 ; Brownell and Kloser, 2015 ).

Sabel et al. (2017) used a conceptual framework in their exploration of how scaffolds, an external factor, interact with internal factors to support student learning. Their conceptual framework integrated principles from two theoretical frameworks, self-regulated learning and metacognition, to illustrate how the research team conceptualized students’ use of scaffolds in their learning ( Figure 1 ). Sabel et al. (2017) created this model using their interpretations of these two frameworks in the context of their teaching.

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Conceptual framework from Sabel et al. (2017) .

A conceptual framework should describe the relationship among components of the investigation ( Anfara and Mertz, 2014 ). These relationships should guide the researcher’s methods of approaching the study ( Miles et al. , 2014 ) and inform both the data to be collected and how those data should be analyzed. Explicitly describing the connections among the ideas allows the researcher to justify the importance of the study and the rigor of the research design. Just as importantly, these frameworks help readers understand why certain components of a system were not explored in the study. This is a challenge in education research, which is rooted in complex environments with many variables that are difficult to control.

For example, Sabel et al. (2017) stated: “Scaffolds, such as enhanced answer keys and reflection questions, can help students and instructors bridge the external and internal factors and support learning” (p. 3). They connected the scaffolds in the study to the three dimensions of metacognition and the eventual transformation of existing ideas into new or revised ideas. Their framework provides a rationale for focusing on how students use two different scaffolds, and not on other factors that may influence a student’s success (self-efficacy, use of active learning, exam format, etc.).

In constructing conceptual frameworks, researchers should address needed areas of study and/or contradictions discovered in literature reviews. By attending to these areas, researchers can strengthen their arguments for the importance of a study. For instance, conceptual frameworks can address how the current study will fill gaps in the research, resolve contradictions in existing literature, or suggest a new area of study. While a literature review describes what is known and not known about the phenomenon, the conceptual framework leverages these gaps in describing the current study ( Maxwell, 2012 ). In the example of Sabel et al. (2017) , the authors indicated there was a gap in the literature regarding how scaffolds engage students in metacognition to promote learning in large classes. Their study helps fill that gap by describing how scaffolds can support students in the three dimensions of metacognition: intelligibility, plausibility, and wide applicability. In another example, Lane (2016) integrated research from science identity, the ethic of care, the sense of belonging, and an expertise model of student success to form a conceptual framework that addressed the critiques of other frameworks. In a more recent example, Sbeglia et al. (2021) illustrated how a conceptual framework influences the methodological choices and inferences in studies by educational researchers.

Sometimes researchers draw upon the conceptual frameworks of other researchers. When a researcher’s conceptual framework closely aligns with an existing framework, the discussion may be brief. For example, Ghee et al. (2016) referred to portions of SCCT as their conceptual framework to explain the significance of their work on students’ self-efficacy and career interests. Because the authors’ conceptualization of this phenomenon aligned with a previously described framework, they briefly mentioned the conceptual framework and provided additional citations that provided more detail for the readers.

Within both the BER and the broader DBER communities, conceptual frameworks have been used to describe different constructs. For example, some researchers have used the term “conceptual framework” to describe students’ conceptual understandings of a biological phenomenon. This is distinct from a researcher’s conceptual framework of the educational phenomenon under investigation, which may also need to be explicitly described in the article. Other studies have presented a research logic model or flowchart of the research design as a conceptual framework. These constructions can be quite valuable in helping readers understand the data-collection and analysis process. However, a model depicting the study design does not serve the same role as a conceptual framework. Researchers need to avoid conflating these constructs by differentiating the researchers’ conceptual framework that guides the study from the research design, when applicable.

Explicitly describing conceptual frameworks is essential in depicting the focus of the study. We have found that being explicit in a conceptual framework means using accepted terminology, referencing prior work, and clearly noting connections between terms. This description can also highlight gaps in the literature or suggest potential contributions to the field of study. A well-elucidated conceptual framework can suggest additional studies that may be warranted. This can also spur other researchers to consider how they would approach the examination of a phenomenon and could result in a revised conceptual framework.

It can be challenging to create conceptual frameworks, but they are important. Below are two resources that could be helpful in constructing and presenting conceptual frameworks in educational research:

  • Maxwell, J. A. (2012). Qualitative research design: An interactive approach (3rd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage. Chapter 3 in this book describes how to construct conceptual frameworks.
  • Ravitch, S. M., & Riggan, M. (2016). Reason & rigor: How conceptual frameworks guide research . Los Angeles, CA: Sage. This book explains how conceptual frameworks guide the research questions, data collection, data analyses, and interpretation of results.


Literature reviews, theoretical frameworks, and conceptual frameworks are all important in DBER and BER. Robust literature reviews reinforce the importance of a study. Theoretical frameworks connect the study to the base of knowledge in educational theory and specify the researcher’s assumptions. Conceptual frameworks allow researchers to explicitly describe their conceptualization of the relationships among the components of the phenomenon under study. Table 1 provides a general overview of these components in order to assist biology education researchers in thinking about these elements.

It is important to emphasize that these different elements are intertwined. When these elements are aligned and complement one another, the study is coherent, and the study findings contribute to knowledge in the field. When literature reviews, theoretical frameworks, and conceptual frameworks are disconnected from one another, the study suffers. The point of the study is lost, suggested findings are unsupported, or important conclusions are invisible to the researcher. In addition, this misalignment may be costly in terms of time and money.

Conducting a literature review, selecting a theoretical framework, and building a conceptual framework are some of the most difficult elements of a research study. It takes time to understand the relevant research, identify a theoretical framework that provides important insights into the study, and formulate a conceptual framework that organizes the finding. In the research process, there is often a constant back and forth among these elements as the study evolves. With an ongoing refinement of the review of literature, clarification of the theoretical framework, and articulation of a conceptual framework, a sound study can emerge that makes a contribution to the field. This is the goal of BER and education research.

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  • Published: 29 June 2024

Recommendations to advance digital health equity: a systematic review of qualitative studies

  • Sarah Wilson   ORCID: 1 ,
  • Clare Tolley 1 ,
  • Ríona Mc Ardle 2 ,
  • Lauren Lawson   ORCID: 1 ,
  • Emily Beswick 3 ,
  • Nehal Hassan   ORCID: 1 ,
  • Robert Slight 4 &
  • Sarah Slight 1 , 4  

npj Digital Medicine volume  7 , Article number:  173 ( 2024 ) Cite this article

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  • Public health
  • Social sciences

The World Health Organisation advocates Digital Health Technologies (DHTs) for advancing population health, yet concerns about inequitable outcomes persist. Differences in access and use of DHTs across different demographic groups can contribute to inequities. Academics and policy makers have acknowledged this issue and called for inclusive digital health strategies. This systematic review synthesizes literature on these strategies and assesses facilitators and barriers to their implementation. We searched four large databases for qualitative studies using terms relevant to digital technology, health inequities, and socio-demographic factors associated with digital exclusion summarised by the CLEARS framework (Culture, Limiting conditions, Education, Age, Residence, Socioeconomic status). Following the PRISMA guidelines, 10,401 articles were screened independently by two reviewers, with ten articles meeting our inclusion criteria. Strategies were grouped into either outreach programmes or co-design approaches. Narrative synthesis of these strategies highlighted three key themes: firstly, using user-friendly designs, which included software and website interfaces that were easy to navigate and compatible with existing devices, culturally appropriate content, and engaging features. Secondly, providing supportive infrastructure to users, which included devices, free connectivity, and non-digital options to help access healthcare. Thirdly, providing educational support from family, friends, or professionals to help individuals develop their digital literacy skills to support the use of DHTs. Recommendations for advancing digital health equity include adopting a collaborative working approach to meet users’ needs, and using effective advertising to raise awareness of the available support. Further research is needed to assess the feasibility and impact of these recommendations in practice.

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) advocates Digital Health Technologies (DHTs) to advance population health 1 . Digital health can be defined as the use of information and communication technologies within healthcare to provide healthcare users with services relating to the prevention, detection, diagnosis and management of diseases and other health conditions 2 , 3 , 4 . Examples of DHTs include smartphone applications and wearable monitoring devices that can empower people to better manage their own conditions, such as keeping track of symptoms or remotely monitoring their condition(s) over time 2 , 3 , 4 . DHTs can pick up signs of deterioration in healthcare users’ symptoms longitudinally and provide real-time data to healthcare professionals to help support tailored clinical decision making 4 . DHTs can also enable individuals with mobility issues and those living in rural areas to access healthcare. Digital health has gained global momentum due to its potential to contribute to personalised health care for patients, improved quality of care, and lower healthcare costs 5 , 6 .

However, there are growing concerns that DHTs may not lead to health benefits in all populations, with underserved groups (i.e., those typically left out of research or experience inadequate access to healthcare) at particular risk 7 . One possible factor contributing to this is digital exclusion, denoting disparities in motivation, access and use of DHTs across different demographic groups 8 . Digital exclusion can potentially create a barrier for various underserved groups, such as those who are on a low income, are not fluent in English, or homeless, thus exacerbating health inequities for these groups 9 . Individuals with visual impairment may also find on-screen reading challenging and many older adults with hearing impairments have expressed low motivation to use phone calls as a remote option to access healthcare due to their disability 10 .

Technology has advanced rapidly over recent years, with some DHTs (e.g., telehealth services, mobile phones, wearable devices, smartphone apps and other software) having greater relevance to the direct inequities underserved groups face compared to other DHTs. For example, DHTs designed to be solely used by healthcare professionals (e.g., electronic patient records) are less likely to directly impact healthcare service users, and so it is prudent to focus on DHTs that underserved groups may be asked to use. Qualitative studies gathering rich in-depth experiences from those whose voices are rarely heard (i.e., underserved groups) 11 , 12 will provide valuable insights into the facilitators and barriers regarding access, motivated and/or use of DHTs.

The WHO Bellagio eHealth Evaluation Group (2019) recognised the need to mitigate digital exclusion 13 , with organisations such as NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) requiring evidence that health inequities have been considered in the design of DHTs 2 . This includes important aspects of design, development or implementation of a DHT that support digital inclusivity, such as strategies to increase an individual’s access to suitable devices or connectivity, and educational support in digital literacy to increase DHT use 14 . To support the development of such strategies, it is vital to understand the needs of underserved groups as well as their experiences and perspectives of these strategies to identify what does and does not support digital inclusivity. However, there is currently no qualitative systematic review of key strategies conducted in this area; a key knowledge gap in the literature. To advance digital health equity, we aimed to systematically synthesise the literature on what key strategies have been used to promote digital inclusivity, and assess the facilitators and barriers to implementing and adopting these in practice based on underserved groups’ experiences and perspectives.

Study descriptions

Our search yielded 13,216 results. After removing duplicates ( n  = 2815), titles ( n  = 10,401) abstracts ( n  = 1224) and full-texts ( n  = 143) were screened. Ten papers met our inclusion criteria (Fig. 1 ). Inter-reviewer reliability was high with 99.33% agreement at title stage, 99.43% at abstract stage, and 97.89% at full-text stage. All included studies were found to have moderate- to high-quality levels (Supplementary Tables 7 and 8 ). None of the included studies measured or reported any participants’ health literacy.

figure 1

A PRIMSA flow chart detailing our search and selection process applied during the article screening process.

Included studies incorporated a range of participants at risk of digital exclusion, including those from different cultural backgrounds (ethnic diversity, languages and religion) ( n  = 8) 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 , 19 , 20 , 21 , 22 , 23 , those with limiting conditions (visual and hearing impairments) ( n  = 2) 21 , 22 , low educational attainment ( n  = 4) 15 , 19 , 20 , 21 , aged over 65 ( n  = 4) 16 , 20 , 21 , 22 , homeless ( n  = 2) 19 , 24 , and those who had low socioeconomic status ( n  = 5) 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 , 21 (Supplementary Table 9 ). All 10 studies used interviews 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 , 19 , 20 , 21 , 22 , 23 , 24 , with two studies also conducting focus groups with participants 18 , 21 . (Supplementary Table 10 ). Inclusive digital health strategies were grouped into either outreach programmes providing educational support and/or access to devices ( n  = 2) 19 , 22 , or co-designing DHTs with underserved groups ( n  = 8) to gain feedback on the usability and acceptability of DHT to enhance inclusivity in future versions of the DHT (Table 1 ) 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 , 20 , 21 , 23 , 24 .

Our narrative thematic synthesis generated three overarching themes; user-friendly designs (e.g., software and website design elements that promoted inclusivity), infrastructure (e.g., access to DHTs) and educational support (e.g., training to develop digital literacy skills required to use DHTs) (Supplementary Table 10 ). Facilitators and barriers to the adoption of these themes are embedded in the discussion below and summarised in Fig. 2 .

figure 2

Summary of the key facilitators and barriers to strategies to support digital health equity (using a user-friendly design, providing infrastructure and providing educational support) alongside the specific CLEARS groups the strategy will support.

User-friendly designs

User-friendly designs were a key theme supporting access and use of DHTs across seven studies 15 , 16 , 20 , 21 , 22 , 24 . Health-related software and websites needed to be compatible across different digital platforms, operating systems and devices including smartphones and desktops, and assistive technologies (e.g., screen reading software) to accommodate the needs of ethnically and linguistically diverse groups 17 , 18 , 22 , individuals with limiting conditions (visual and hearing impairments) 20 , 21 , older adults (+65 years) 20 , 22 , those with low educational attainment and low socioeconomic status 17 , 18 . For example, Yeong et al. noted how older adults with visual impairments and of low socioeconomic status needed websites to be compatible with different magnification levels and assistive technologies (e.g., iOS Voiceover [Apple Inc]; a screen reading software) to aid visibility 21 . The authors also noted how certain features aided navigation and minimised scrolling to help the user find information, such as tables of contents, drop-down menus, and ‘jump to top’ buttons 21 . Older adults with limiting conditions (visual or hearing) also suggested that navigation features, such as search bars and hyperlinks, needed to be of high contrast (compared to the rest of the screen) to improve visibility 20 , 21 . Yeong et al. emphasised how search features should be designed in a similar way to commonly visited search engines, like Google, to improve usability and reduce confusion 21 .

Older adults, homeless, ethnically diverse individuals and those with visual impairments all described how digital messages on software, health related websites or text messages should be simple, concise, and presented in a logical manner without time restrictions 18 , 20 , 21 , 24 . For example, older adults with visual impairments described how they did not have enough time to read the information when presented on a timed loop (i.e., rotating between different screens with information), and suggested that the user be able to manually control the timing of this loop 21 . Older adults interviewed in another study described how it would be useful if they could change the font size to improve the visibility of the text, and provide alternative languages for those who are not fluent in English 22 . Personalising information, such as allowing users to choose content that they are interested in, was felt to be one way of increasing the motivation to use health related websites and software amongst those with visual impairments 21 and ethnically diverse individuals 18 . Additionally, providing evidence that supported the key messages in healthcare information, such as the importance of reducing alcohol intake to reduce the risk of developing chronic health conditions, enhanced trust amongst ethnically diverse individuals 18 . Kramer et al. also emphasised how any communication should be culturally appropriate and avoid reinforcing stereotypes, especially for ethnically and linguistically diverse users 18 . For example, the language used to categorise different ethnicities on DHTs should avoid generic terms such as ‘men of colour’ as some ethnically diverse men found this offensive; they felt it defined them based on their skin colour and not their ethnic background. Instead, specific terminology should be used that accurately represented their ethnicities (e.g., African American for individuals with an African and American descent) 18 . Any imagery should also be inclusive to all cultural groups 18 .

It was felt that the overall user friendliness and engagement of health related software could be improved with the addition of engaging features 15 , 18 , 20 , 22 , 24 . This included interactive quiz elements 20 , notifications encouraging behavioural changes 18 , reminders about upcoming appointments (particularly for homeless individuals as this they may not have access to other reminders, like letters) 24 , ability to order a repeat prescription and schedule specific appointments (e.g., physiotherapy) 22 . Older adults of Jewish faith also suggested simplifying security features, as many found flicking between a text message with the password reset information and the screen (where the information should be entered) challenging 22 .


Five studies described the need for supportive infrastructure, such as access to devices and connectivity (i.e., Wi-Fi) to support homeless individuals, ethnically and linguistically diverse groups, and individuals of low socioeconomic status 15 , 17 , 19 , 23 , 24 . For example, Howell et al. explained how community nurses in the UK provided homeless individuals with temporary access to smartphones during the pandemic so as to enable them to access vital digital healthcare support 19 . In the United States (US), homeless individuals were provided with phones (the Obama phone), credit and data plans financed through a government programme 24 . However, Asgary et al. found that some of these homeless individuals using the Obama phone plan often exceeded their limits when put on hold to schedule medical appointments 24 . They subsequently turned to friends and family for financial support to purchase credit 24 . Other homeless individuals were hesitant to accept this government support, with the authors reflecting on how this may have been due to the homeless experiencing a lack of government financial aid in the past 24 .

Homeless individuals 19 , ethnically and linguistically diverse groups 15 , 17 , 23 , and those of low educational attainment and low socioeconomic status 15 , 17 , 19 reported relying heavily on free Wi-Fi to be able to access healthcare. This included accessing free Wi-Fi in public spaces and transport systems, fast-food restaurants, clinics and families’ houses. However, they often experienced barriers to this connectivity with time limits set by the specific organisations (e.g., opening hours) 15 or restrictions placed on using shared devices (e.g., computer keyboards due to the risk of coronavirus spreading) 19 . Many participants suggested creating dedicated centres for digital health services with suitable devices and free Wi-Fi that would also include some private areas 15 . Access to these private spaces was felt to be important for some ethnic and linguistically diverse groups with low educational attainment and socioeconomic status, as they were concerned about being overheard when discussing/looking at confidential health information 17 . Many groups suggested that they would like the choice between both digital and non-digital access to healthcare, as this would help mitigate the risk of possibly excluding those with poor digital literacy skills, those who would prefer in-person consultations, or those who lack the resources to access digital healthcare 15 , 18 , 19 , 23 .

To complement infrastructural changes, ethnically diverse adults based in the US advocated for more resources to be provided by local government 15 . This included the introduction of new policies, such as reduced payment plans and regulations on the price of DHTs for lower income earners to make them affordable 15 . Older adults of Jewish faith and ethnically diverse adults with a low educational attainment and socioeconomic status also suggested that financial incentives could help promote greater access to DHTs and encourage motivation to use DHTs 15 , 22 . Alkureishi et al. highlighted how different organisations, such as hardware and Wi-Fi companies, might need to collaborate to ensure that these different components (e.g., devices, connectivity, financial aid) are jointly available to support successful implementation 15 .

Educational support

Provision of educational support was important for ethnically diverse individuals and older adults to enable their use of DHTs in five studies 15 , 16 , 19 , 20 , 22 . Ethnically diverse individuals with lower educational attainment and low socioeconomic status, and older adults of Jewish faith commonly reported asking family members to remain close during video healthcare consultations in case of technical issues 15 , or for their guidance with accessing online health information 22 . Mizrachi et al. found this support promoted independence over time as older adults’ digital skills developed through learning and they were further motivated to use DHTs on hearing positive experiences from their family and friends 22 .

Some individuals relied on educational support from professional services to use DHTs 19 . It was felt that in-person educational support from community workers or health care professionals with supplementary materials (e.g., videos and written information) would be beneficial prior to attending virtual appointments to support ethnically diverse adults (both above and below 65 years) from a low socioeconomic status and low educational attainment 15 , 16 Alternatively, Alkureishi et al. noted some participants expressed preference for accessing training classes at healthcare sites (e.g., hospitals) and community centres, where support was provided by ‘technology champions and coaches’ 15 . However, older adults of Jewish faith highlighted how advertisements to promote awareness of support services would be unlikely to reach individuals in their community and those who were socially isolated and arguably most in need of support 22 . Some studies also highlighted how certain groups (e.g., ethnically diverse adults with low socioeconomic status and low educational attainment, and older adults of Jewish faith) might also be reluctant to accept this educational support due to concerns around burdening others, feeling helpless, and/or reaffirming how they are unable to do something independently 15 , 22 .

This systematic review synthesises strategies that promote digital inclusivity and assess the barriers and facilitators to adopting these in practice. Our findings highlighted three key themes relating to user-friendly designs, supportive infrastructure, and provision of educational support. Barriers to adopting these strategies included a lack of acceptance amongst some underserved groups to receive such support, whilst facilitators included promoting trust amongst ethnically diverse groups by providing lay term friendly evidence that supports health claims.

Our findings highlighted how health-related software and websites must be interoperable across different devices to accommodate the needs of underserved groups. This form of user-friendly design is advocated by national healthcare providers and government bodies; for example, the UK and US have legislation in place which mandates that websites and software in the public sector be ‘perceivable, operable, understandable and robust’ to ensure that those with visual and hearing impairments, low reading ability (reading age of 9) and/or those who are not fluent in English can access and understand the information provided 25 , 26 . However, a recent study reported that public health authority websites in only three countries (UK, Italy, China) out of a total of 24 actually adhered to these accessibility standards when checked 27 . Additionally, the wider literature supports our findings on how the use of appropriate language and imagery can improve end-user satisfaction 18 , 28 . National bodies, such as the US National Institute of Health (NIH), have developed the ‘National Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Standards’ to assist developers and researchers in developing culturally and linguistically appropriate services 29 . The wider literature also suggests co-designing DHTs with underserved groups at the earliest stages to help ensure that they meet the needs of all end-users 30 . This involves co-designing security features that are easy-to-use and align with the UK government ‘ secure by design principles’ , to help overcome any potential future barriers to usage 31 , 32 .

Our results also highlighted the need for supportive infrastructure to facilitate access and use of DHTs. Government schemes in high-income countries are already available; for example, the ‘Obama phone’ in the USA and the Emergency Broadband Benefits and social tariffs (reduced payment phone plans) in the UK, to support those on a low income to access smartphones and phone plans 24 , 33 . However, implementing supportive infrastructure might not be viable for low to middle income countries as they may have less suitable centres to provide devices and free public Wi-Fi spots, which high income countries already have access to 34 . Some charity organisations, such as the Good Things Foundation, have started to repurpose donated corporate IT devices and deliver them to those who are digitally excluded 35 . However, better promotion of the support available and a collaborative working environment is needed, especially by healthcare professionals, social services, and charities. Free phone numbers would also help to facilitate access to healthcare services. Some underserved groups would like the option of accessing healthcare via non digital means, thus questioning the temptation to always use technology to potentially address healthcare challenges 36 . Researchers need to consider whether a new DHT will provide an equitable solution to the healthcare problem and whether other means of accessing healthcare should also be provided within healthcare systems 37 .

This systematic review also underlined the importance of providing educational support, from family or professional services, to encourage motivation and capability to use DHTs. There is a need for effective advertising of this support to groups at particular risk of both digital and social exclusion, such as older adults and homeless individuals, in order to increase their awareness 38 . A systematic review conducted by Ige et al. 39 suggested using a combination of two or more strategies to reach socially isolated individuals, including referrals from relevant agencies (e.g., GPs, pharmacists etc), as this might be a more effective approach than relying solely on public facing methods 39 .

Previous recommendations to promote digital health equity have centred around guidance for behavioural and social science researchers with limited insight to the facilitators and barriers to implementing strategies into society and appear limited to research settings 40 . Previous reviews have applied the socioeconomic model to inform recommendations to promote digital health equity, such as providing devices (individual level support), educational support (relationship/interpersonal level support), access to connectivity infrastructure (community level support) and implementing policies (societal level support) 41 , 42 . However, there has been little consideration given to those individuals who belong to two or more underserved groups at risk of digital exclusion. Our systematic review considered this intersectionality and provides practical recommendations that focus on two main areas: collaborative working and effective advertising (Fig. 3 ). Collaborative working between the DHT developer, healthcare professionals, policy-makers, voluntary sectors, patients and public members of underserved groups is vital to help improve the co-design of DHTs and provision of support and should be embedded from the very beginning of the design and development process 30 . Effective advertising strategies are also vital to raise public awareness and ensure that those who are, or know of an individual, at risk of digital exclusion are made aware of in-person support that is available and how to access it. DHT developers and researchers should also be aware of the accessibility and inclusivity standards (e.g., government legislation and CLAS) and on how to use them to support digital health equity.

figure 3

Summary of the two key recommendations to advance digital health equity, centring around adopting a collaborative working environment and using effective advertisement.

This review used a comprehensive and systematic approach to identify relevant literature. Included studies were published within the last decade to remain relevant to the current digital healthcare landscape. We opted to focus on qualitative research to gather rich detailed information on the facilitators and barriers to each strategy. Despite no geographical restrictions being placed on this search, we found that all included studies were conducted in high-income countries, which may limit the applicability of these findings to low- and middle-income countries; this also highlights the importance of further work in this area. Representation of the different religious groups and languages was limited, highlighting a gap in the literature and a need for greater diverse inclusion in research. None of the included studies reported on participants’ health literacy, which has previously been suggested to overlap with low digital literacy 43 ; this information would have aided our understanding of whether the participants included in the qualitative studies were truly representative of the groups that they were intended to represent. Future research should incorporate a standardised health literacy measure, such as the Newest Vital Sign (NVS) 44 or the Health Literacy Questionnaire (HLQ) 45 , into their methodology to provide greater detail on the participants in their study.

The appropriateness of recommendations from this systematic review could be further explored using an established framework, such as the APEASE criteria (Affordability, Practicability, Effectiveness, Acceptability, Size effects/safety, and Equity) 46 . This would involve seeking the perspectives of CLEARS demographic groups’ and relevant stakeholders’ (e.g., policy makers and community workers) on the practicalities of implementing these different strategies and recommendations to further advance this important area of digital health equity. The facilitators and barriers to implementing government-issued public health website accessibility standards should also be explored to further understand how to encourage use of these standards.

This systematic review identified three key themes relating to digital inclusivity, associated facilitators and barriers, and recommendations for advancing digital health equity. This information will guide individuals when designing, developing and implementing digital health interventions to ensure it is done in a digitally inclusive manner. This review also highlighted the need for further work to explore the feasibility and acceptance of implementing different strategies and recommendations to support digital health equity amongst those at risk of digital exclusion.

Identification of key groups at risk of digital exclusion

We conducted a scoping review of the literature to identify the sociodemographic factors that could put an individual at risk of digital exclusion. Based on the findings published in peer-reviewed articles 24 , 47 , 48 , 49 , 50 , 51 , 52 , 53 , 54 , 55 , 56 , 57 , 58 , 59 , 60 , systematic reviews 61 , 62 , 63 , 64 , government reports 8 , 65 , and regulatory organisation documents 66 , we identified a number of sociodemographic factors that we complied into six groups, relating to Culture (ethnicity, language, and religion) 8 , 47 , 48 , 49 , 50 , 51 , 52 , 53 , 62 , Limiting conditions (visual and hearing impairments) 6 , 54 , 66 , Education (at or below United Kingdom (UK) government mandated level or equivalent) 52 , 55 , 56 , 66 , Age (over 65 years) 51 , 54 , 55 , 56 , 62 , 66 , Residence (rural or deprived areas [based on consensus data within a country], or homeless) 8 , 24 , 51 , 60 , and Socioeconomic status (low income [earns less than 60% of the median household annual income within a country] and unemployed individuals) 8 , 52 , 55 , 56 , 62 , 65 , 66 abbreviated to CLEARS (Fig. 4 ). These factors often intersect (i.e. intersectionality), placing an individual at even greater risk of digital exclusion 8 , 64 , 65 , 66 .

figure 4

A framework which encompasses sociodemographic factors associated with digital exclusion and recognises the role of intersectionality.

Search strategy

This systematic review was registered with PROSPERO (CRD42022378199) and followed PRISMA guidelines 67 . The search string utilised terms from two relevant scoping reviews 8 , 68 , with additional relevant terms included when searching four large online databases (Medline, Embase, PsycINFO and Scopus) (Supplementary Tables 1 – 4 ). The search focused on words associated with digital technology, health inequities, and CLEARS (Table 2 ).

Eligibility criteria

The eligibility criteria followed the Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcomes and Study design (PICOS) framework, recommended by the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews 69 , and provided an organising framework to list the main concepts in the search. The Population criteria included any group represented by our CLEARS framework (see above). The Intervention criteria focused on inclusive digital health strategies, which we defined as an action designed to alleviate the digital exclusion of individuals by promoting access, motivation, and/or use of information and communication technologies 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 . Articles needed to have discussed the facilitators or barriers associated with the inclusive digital health strategy (outcome criteria) to be included. This allowed the researchers to reflect on what currently worked or did not work to inform key recommendations. Only qualitative studies that provided rich in-depth experiences from CLEARS groups were included to aid our understanding of how a complex phenomenon, i.e., intersectionality, can affect digital exclusion 11 , 12 . Quantitative studies were excluded as they are designed to test a hypothesis or enumerate events or phenomena 11 , 12 , which was not aligned with the aim of this review. Only peer-reviewed articles published between 2012 and 2022 in the English language were included; this ensured only the latest advancements in digital technologies were considered.

Study selection

Results from each database were exported into EndNote (version 20.5, Clarivate, International) and duplicates removed. Remaining articles were uploaded to Rayyan (Qatar Foundation, State of Qatar) 70 , where titles, abstracts, and full-texts were screened independently by two reviewers (SW, LL, EB) to minimise bias. The lead author (SW) screened all articles, acting as a constant throughout the process. Disagreements were resolved by a third reviewer (RMA). The reasons for excluding full text articles were recorded (Fig. 1 ).

Data extraction and synthesis

The lead author (SW) developed a data-extraction sheet with the research team to extract and record specific study details, including participant demographics and a description of the inclusive digital health strategy under investigation (Supplementary Tables 5 and 6 ). Any measure used to record participants’ health literacy in the included studies, such as the Newest Vital Sign (NVS) 44 or the Health Literacy Questionnaire (HLQ) 45 , was also extracted. A quality assessment was carried out on the included studies using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) Qualitative Review Checklist 71 . Quality was measured by reporting the frequency of ‘yes’ (denoting the study met the criteria on the checklist) (Supplementary Tables 7 and 8 ).

The lead author (SW) performed a narrative thematic synthesis of the included studies. Firstly, the authors began by developing a preliminary synthesis of findings from included studies to identify the key strategies and list the facilitators and barriers to implementation. We then considered the factors that might explain any commonalities and differences in the successful implementation of these digital inclusive strategies across included studies. This involved exploring the directly reported verbatim quotations obtained from particular CLEARS groups and seeking to draw descriptive and explanatory conclusions around key themes 72 , 73 . All data management and analysis was carried out within N-Vivo (version 1.6.1, QSR International). Discussions with co-authors (SPS, RM, CT) were conducted at several stages throughout the analysis to discuss, refine and define themes to ensure a coherent narrative that reflected the data. Detailed descriptions and contextual material from the included studies was kept throughout the analysis to ensure that the trustworthiness was upheld 74 , 75 . Ethics approval was not required for this systematic review.

Reporting summary

Further information on research design is available in the Nature Research Reporting Summary linked to this article.

Data availability

All relevant data used for the study has been included in the manuscript and supplementary information.

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We would like to thank the social sciences librarian, Karen Crinnion, at Philip Robinson Library, Newcastle University, for her help and advice regarding the search strategy, choice of databases and search keywords for this systematic review. This work has been supported by the Early Detection of Neurodegenerative diseases (EDoN) research initiative, funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK with support from Gates Ventures and the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation through its Diagnostic Accelerator Project. This project is also funded by the NIHR, (NIHR205190). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care. The funder of the study had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation, or writing of the report. Ríona Mc Ardle is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) (NIHR 301677) and the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) based at The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospital National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust; Newcastle University; and the Cumbria, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear (CNTW) NHS Foundation Trust. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR, NHS or the UK Department of Health and Social Care.

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behavioral strategy a systematic literature review and research framework

  • DOI: 10.1108/ijbm-07-2023-0405
  • Corpus ID: 271035180

Digital financial consumers' decision-making: a systematic literature review and integrative framework

  • Marco Barone , Candida Bussoli , Lucrezia Fattobene
  • Published in International Journal of Bank… 5 July 2024
  • Business, Computer Science, Economics

151 References

The antecedents of online financial service adoption: the impact of physical banking services on internet banking acceptance, artificial intelligence in customer-facing financial services: a systematic literature review and agenda for future research, digital banking, customer experience and bank financial performance : uk customers' perceptions, from offline to online: understanding users' switching intentions from traditional wealth management services to mobile wealth management applications, what drives fintech adoption a multi-method evaluation using an adapted technology acceptance model, understanding consumers’ barriers to using fintech services in the united arab emirates: mixed-methods research approach, utilization of artificial intelligence in the banking sector: a systematic literature review, predicting fintech innovation adoption: the mediator role of social norms and attitudes, an empirical study on factors affecting customers’ acceptance of internet-only banks in korea, digital servitization value co-creation framework for ai services: a research agenda for digital transformation in financial service ecosystems, related papers.

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Residual stresses in wire arc additive manufacturing products and their measurement techniques: a systematic review.

behavioral strategy a systematic literature review and research framework

1. Introduction

2. materials and methods, 3. overview of waam of process and products, 3.1. a robotic system for waam, 3.2. residual stress in waamed products, 3.3. residual stress-measurement methods, 3.3.1. experimental methods for rs measurement in waam parts, 3.3.2. numerical analysis of rs in waam products, 3.4. factors influencing rs in waam, 4. impact of rs on mechanical properties in waam components, 5. mitigation strategies for rs in waam and practical applications, 6. discussion, 6.1. challenges and limitations, 6.2. future directions.

  • Most researchers frequently used non-destructive methods like XRd, ND, and some other semi-destructive and fully destructive techniques of measuring RS in components’ WAAM. Thus, future studies can perform those techniques listed above.
  • In the future, researchers should determine the most suitable quantity and varieties of shielding gas, in addition to other process and input parameters, throughout the WAAM processes.
  • As explained in Section 5 , the mathematical formula provides a particular formation of bead profile and the relationship of wire diameter with the width and thickness (height) of beads. As a result, the wire diameter, thickness, and width of beads can vary. Consequently, heat distribution of the process results in a variation of RS in WAAM parts. Therefore, future research can focus on a variety of wire diameters to reduce RS in WAAM parts with less wire diameter.
  • Materials’ weld ability depends on their physical properties that influence the accumulation of RS in products of WAAM. In the future, further research endeavors should aim to investigate these physical properties of materials, which are listed in Table 3 , and other robot-adjustable effects to RS-fabricated components through WAAM.

7. Conclusions

Author contributions, data availability statement, conflicts of interest.

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Click here to enlarge figure

MethodsMaterials ResultsRefs.
ND316L stainless steelThe process parameters’ influence on RS is barely noticeable in the melted zone.[ ]
Fe3Al alloyLarge columnar grains result in anisotropy and RS is tensile in the building direction, and the tension to compression progressively moves up from the beginning to the end of the deposition way.[ ]
AA6061RS indicates the occurrence of tensile stresses with a greater magnitude in the constructed parts, while the substrate exhibits fewer compressive stresses. No significant dissimilarities were seen in mechanical properties.[ ]
2319 aluminum alloyRS along the build direction in the deposited wall is tensile stress, extending up to the floor. The inter-pass rolled walls reduced RS to enhanced strength in the longitudinal direction.[ ]
Fe3AlRS and distortions resulting from the WAAM process are major concerns as they not only influence the part tolerance but can also cause premature failure in the final component during service.[ ]
stainless steel 304LThe alteration of RS in the specimen after introducing a new deposit. Longitudinal stress was predominantly tensile, reaching its peak at the boundary between the parent material and the layers where the thermal loads were applied.[ ]
Inconel 625Measurements showed that lower RS formed in the direct interface functionally graded materials (FGM) compared to the smooth gradient FGM.[ ]
Contour and NDTi-6Al-4V alloy, stainless steelThe stress in the baseplate varies RS. The lattice parameters were not valid in the baseplate for ND measurements. Cutting out a stress-free exit was used to correct reference samples.[ , , ]
XRDAlloy C-276 The amplitude of tensile RS was perceived in the travel direction compared to the build orientation. The residual strain in the lattice reveals the RS in the material. The larger amplitude of compressive RS was found in the build axis.[ ]
Al-5356 alloyThe height of the beam can impact both the level and pattern of longitudinal RS in both the substrate and the beam. This variation primarily affects transverse RS in the substrate and has minimal influence on the beam itself.[ ]
G 79 5 M21 Mn4Ni1.5CrMo (EN ISO 16834-A) [ ] RS, hardness, and microstructure are influenced by welding parameters, geometry, and component design. Heat input causes decreased tensile RS, which causes unfavorable grain structure and mechanical response. [ ]
SS308L austenitic stainless steel (SS)Accumulation of compressive RS attributed to elevated heat input and rapid cooling rates. Greater stress happened closer to the welding base than in other areas.[ ]
Al–6Cu–Mn alloyThe advancement of RS indicates that the most crucial area of the sample is near the substrate, where significant tensile stresses near the material’s yield strength are dominant.[ ]
Grade 91 (modified 9Cr–1Mo) -steelRS varies the characteristics of the material and its microscopic structure WAAMed ferritic/martensitic (FM). The heat treatment applied to the originally manufactured steel did not remove its anisotropic properties.[ ]
Inconel 625Post-treatment heat processes can enhance corrosion resistance and alleviate RS. Measurements indicated that the smooth-gradient approach produced secondary phases like d-phase (Ni3Nb) and carbides, which were absent in the direct interface method.[ , ]
DICMild steel (AWS ER70S-6)DIC was employed to oversee the flexural distortion of WAAM components while being released from the clamped H-profiles, and residual tensions were deduced from the strain distribution observed during the unclamping process.[ , ]
Deep hole drillingMild steel (G3Si1) & austenitic SS (SS304)RSs are under compression in the mild steel section and under tension in the austenitic stainless steel (SS) section. These stresses fluctuate across the thickness because of differences in cooling rates on the interior and exterior surfaces.[ ]
Hole drilling Ti-6Al-4VGrain size decreased after ultrasonic impact therapy and RS of fabricated parts in WAAM after post-UIT are improved.[ , ]
Thermomechanical coupling & Contour Stainless steels (SS) SUS308LSi RS is tensile in the layers bordering the surface’s upper surface, compressive in the layers near the substrate surface, and tensile near the underside of the substrate.[ ]
FEM SoftwaresMaterialSummaryRef.
ANSYS 2019B91 steel (ER90S-B91 steel)A thermomechanical assessment of WAAM B91 steel was performed sequentially to assess the variation in residual stress throughout the component.[ ]
Simufact Additive 2023.2SteelsThe dynamic temperature changes, alteration, stress accumulation, and deformation hold significant importance for applications involving high-strength steels.[ ]
ABAQUS 2019Aluminum alloyDeposition pattern and travel speed have an impact on RS and warpage in WAAM parts. Results of thermomechanical FE simulations show that the out–in deposition pattern leads to the highest levels of RS and warpage. Increasing travel speed lowers peak temperature and thermal gradient in deposition, reducing RS.[ ]
Inconel 718 Utilized a comprehensive 3D transient heat-transfer model to calculate the temperature distribution and gradient in the WAAM process for various process parameters, which results in RS. The derived temperature data were utilized in a mechanical model to forecast RS and distortion.[ ]
Carbon steelThe modeling outcomes indicate that as the count of deposited layers rises, the maximum temperature rises, resulting in RS, while the average cooling rate decreases.[ ]
ABAQUS 2010Austenitic stainless steel (304) and low Carbon steel (A36) By systematically altering one mechanical property at a time, we isolated the influence of each on RS formation in dissimilar welds. Results show that longitudinal residual stress in both alike and different welds can be diminished within the weld zone by an amount equivalent to the stress caused by applied mechanical tensile force once the tensioning force is released post-cooling.[ ]
API X65 steelThermal conditions and RS are forecasted precisely to allow for the regulation of the fusion zone’s shape, microstructure, and mechanical characteristics in the Submerged Arc Welding joint.[ ]
ABAQUS 2019Structural steel ER70S-6 wireThe residual stress and deformation of two extensive builds were examined, revealing highly consistent numerical findings and favorable correspondence with experimental outcomes.[ ]
EH36 steelThe effect of the scanning speed on thermal profiles and RS indicates that higher scan speeds result in reduced peak temperatures and heightened cooling rates, thus leading to a rise in the volume portion of martensite within the deposition.[ ]
Aluminum alloyThe RS and deformation were computed using the moving heat sources (MHS) method and the segmented temperature function (STF) method.[ ]
Ti-6Al-4V, S355JR steel & AA2319Reduced profile radii of roller effectively eliminate almost all tensile RS near the surfaces.[ ]
MSC. Marc 2021Y309LElevated RS is generated within the deposition layers and also within the middle of the substrate.[ ]
MSC. Marc 2014.2.0Welding filler G3Si1Simulation and validation regarding geometry and microstructure variations within the welding passes were conducted with RS reality and simulation using measurement inertia of the thermocouples.[ ]
S316LThe variances in RS are influenced by both the fluctuating temperature distribution during the freezing phase and the forces applied to the WAAM structure following the cooling process.[ ]
COMSOL-5.4 2018 304 Stainless steelLarge-scale images and high-speed recordings were used for the wall constructed to verify the accuracy of the measurements of the molten pool and the form of the deposition determined, which decided the RS in parts.[ ]
Process Parameters and Other FactorsShort DescriptionRefs.
Material properties: weldability of the materialsNot all materials are equally suitable for WAAM. The process often requires materials with good weldability characteristics, such as low susceptibility to cracking and good fusion properties. For instance, materials’ thermal conductivity, coefficient of thermal expansion, and phase transformations can impact RS induced.[ , , , ]
Deposition power: Arc current & voltageIn the WAAM process, controlling the heat input is critical to prevent overheating, distortion, and metallurgical issues, such as excessive grain growth or phase transformations. Variations in heat input alter materials’ weldability consequences of RS.[ , , , , , ]
Speed: wire feed speed, welding travel speed, and deposition rateRapid deposition and cooling can lead to increased RS, especially near the deposition zone. The rapid solidification and higher deposition rate can cause thermal gradients and differential cooling rates, resulting in higher levels of tensile RS. Increasing the welding travel speed reduces the amount of time the material spends in the high-temperature zone and leads to the lowering of the magnitude of RS.[ , , , ]
Shielding gas: types of shielding gas, and shielding gas flow rateShielding gas plays a crucial role in WAAM processes as it protects the molten weld pool from atmospheric contamination and influences the heat-transfer characteristics during deposition. The type of shielding gas, gas-flow rates such as argon and helium, and reactive gases like CO and O can have significant effects on RS formation in WAAM products.[ , , ]
Nozzle distance: Nozzle tip to work distance (Welding torch distances)The welding torch distance in WAAM processes can have a significant influence on RS in the final products. Optimizing the nozzle tip to work distance in WAAM processes involves balancing the heat input, cooling rates, distortion control, interlayer bonding, and defect formation to minimize RS and ensure the production of high-quality parts.[ , ]
Printing position: Electrode to layer angle (wire) (θ) and layer heightThe printing position affects heat dissipation and buildup, influencing the cooling rate and thermal gradients within the part. The printing position affects the flow of molten metal and the geometry of the deposited beads results in variation of RS.[ , , , , ]
Layer thickness: Substrate thickness, deposition thicknessDecreasing the layer thickness in WAAM fabrication can lead to shorter thermal cycles and reduced heat input per layer. This may result in lower overall RS due to less thermal distortion and reduced HAZ size.[ , ]
Cooling rate: Deposition of layer time, dwell time between layersThe rapid heating and cooling cycles involved in WAAM can lead to the development of significant RS and distortion in the fabricated parts. These can adversely affect the structural integrity and dimensional accuracy of the components, making it challenging to achieve desired weld properties and, as a result, change the RS in printed parts.[ , , , , , ]
Preheating substrate (Baseplate)Preheating the substrate in WAAM processes offers several benefits for managing RS in the final products. By reducing thermal gradients, mitigating distortion, improving metallurgical bonding, enhancing ductility, and optimizing cooling rates, preheating helps to create parts with lower levels of RS and improved mechanical properties.[ , , ]
Part geometry: Printed part shapes & volume of the partsThe geometry of printed parts in WAAM processes significantly influences RS. Understanding how shape complexity, part orientation, volume, and material-accumulation patterns affect thermal gradients and cooling rates is crucial for managing RS and ensuring the production of high-quality parts with desired mechanical properties and dimensional accuracy in WAAM.[ , ]
Post-Weld Heat Treatment (PWHT)PWHT plays a crucial role in managing RS in WAAM products. By subjecting the parts to controlled heating and cooling cycles, PWHT can effectively alleviate RS, improve material properties, and enhance the overall quality and implementation of the manufactured parts.[ , , , , ]
Scanning patternThe scanning pattern plays a crucial role in influencing heat accumulation, cooling rates during AM deposition, and, consequently, the formation of RS.[ ]
Wire filler: wire filler diameters and wire gradeThe filler wire diameter and wire grade are two key factors that can significantly influence RS in WAAM products.Not studied
MethodsMaterial and StrategiesPractical Applications and ResultsRefs.
Inter pass rollingTi-6Al-4V alloyEnhances the bonding and adhesion between the successive layers of material. It also helps redistribute stresses by applying compressive force, leading to refined grain structures and minimizing distortion results in RS.[ , , , ]
Heat treatment (HT)Grade 91 steel, Ti-6Al-4VHT post-processing involves controlled heating and cooling cycles to relieve RS. HT is extensively utilized within the aerospace sector to reduce RS in WAAM to produce turbine blades, improving fatigue life and performance.[ , , ]
Shot peening2319 aluminum alloyShot peening entails subjecting the surface of a component to bombardment with small, high-velocity particles to induce compressive stresses that counteract tensile RS. It is employed in the automotive sector to enhance the fatigue resistance of WAAM-produced suspension components.[ , ]
Rolling and laser shock peening Low carbon steel The methods eliminate harmful tensile RS at the top of the WAAM wall, thereby enhancing fatigue life and slowing down crack growth rates. The bottom region of the WAAM wall demonstrates improved RS conditions, leading to enhanced fatigue performance, all achieved without surface rolling treatment.[ ]
RollingAA2319, S335JR steelIncreased rolling loads result in elevated maximum equivalent plastic strain and deeper penetration of the equivalent plastic strain results in RS.[ ]
Parameter optimizationAl-Cu4.3-Mg1.5 alloyAdjusting WAAM process parameters, such as deposition speed and layer thickness, can optimize the build conditions to diminish RS. Systematic parameter optimization is applied in the construction industry to reduce RS in large-scale WAAM-printed metal structures.[ ]
Material selectionaluminum alloysChoosing materials with tailored properties, such as low thermal-expansion coefficients, can minimize RS formation during WAAM. Specialized materials are used in the energy sector to create high-performance WAAM components with reduced RS.[ , ]
In-process monitoring and controlIN718 SuperalloyReal-time monitoring and control systems adjust process parameters during WAAM to minimize RS formation. In-process monitoring and control are used in aerospace manufacturing to reduce RS variations in critical engine components.[ ]
Hot-rolling and cold-formingER70S-6 welding wireThe incorporation of WAAM stiffeners at the flange tips of hot-rolled I-sections is demonstrated to result in the creation of favorable tensile RS, which are beneficial for structural stability, reaching maximum values equivalent to the material’s yield strength. [ ]
Peening and UITsTi alloy & Al alloyThrough Ultrasonic Impact Treatment (UIT), grain refinement and the randomization of orientation are accomplished, contributing to the enhancement of RS and mechanical strength.[ ]
RollingTitanium alloys Offer substantial advantages such as diminishing RS and distortion, as well as refining grain structure.[ ]
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Gurmesa, F.D.; Lemu, H.G.; Adugna, Y.W.; Harsibo, M.D. Residual Stresses in Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing Products and Their Measurement Techniques: A Systematic Review. Appl. Mech. 2024 , 5 , 420-449.

Gurmesa FD, Lemu HG, Adugna YW, Harsibo MD. Residual Stresses in Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing Products and Their Measurement Techniques: A Systematic Review. Applied Mechanics . 2024; 5(3):420-449.

Gurmesa, Fakada Dabalo, Hirpa Gelgele Lemu, Yosef Wakjira Adugna, and Mesfin Demise Harsibo. 2024. "Residual Stresses in Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing Products and Their Measurement Techniques: A Systematic Review" Applied Mechanics 5, no. 3: 420-449.

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    A systematic review conducted by Ige et al. 39 suggested using a combination of two or more strategies to reach socially isolated individuals, including referrals from relevant agencies (e.g., GPs ...

  21. Mapping the Landscape of Behavioral Theories: Systematic Literature Review

    Theories: Systematic Literature Review. Heeseo Rain Kwon. 1. and Elisabete A. Silva. 1. Abstract. The term "behavioral" has become a hot topic in recent years in various disciplines; however ...

  22. Frameworks for developing impactful systematic literature reviews and

    Systematic Literature Review (SLR) is a structured research methodology designed to comprehensively sort, integrate, and evaluate the relevant literature that exists in a given field (Paul et al ...

  23. Key account management in B2B marketing: A systematic literature review

    The emergence of various approaches in relationship marketing has transformed business marketing practices in managing strategic clients. In this direction, firms have embraced Key Account Management (KAM) as a relationship marketing tool for profitably managing their strategic customers. The concept of KAM has evolved and gained importance in academic literature as a distinct sub-division of ...

  24. Do parental hormone levels synchronize during the prenatal and

    Physiological synchrony is the phenomenon of linked physiological processes among two or more individuals. Evidence of linkage between dyads has been found among a broad range of physiological indices, including the endocrine systems. During the transition to parenthood, both men and women undergo hormonal changes that facilitate parenting behavior. The present review sought to address the ...

  25. Digital financial consumers' decision-making: a systematic literature

    This systematic literature review highlights the increasing importance of emotion in recent decades and underscores the difficulty of establishing a framework where relationships between variables are direct and unidirectional, as traditional economic theories assume. PurposeThis study aims to systematically review the literature on digital consumers' decision-making in the banking ...

  26. Applied Mechanics

    This literature review provides an in-depth exploration of the research conducted on residual stresses (RS) in Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) products, particularly focusing on how process parameters influence the phenomenon. The motivation of the study is the growing focus on WAAM technology and the observation that RS plays a crucial role in determining the mechanical behavior and ...