Research methodology

The methodology used in this chapter was based on the systematic literature review approach, which has been used in a wide range of studies, such as health care, social sciences, and education (Boaz et al, 2002). The systematic review approach was developed to collect available data systematically, filter them according to the credibility of sources, analyse filtered data to determine its overall effect, and finally, disseminate the data based on their effectiveness (Higgins and Green, 2011). Several studies that adopted the systematic literature review approach have been well received amongst academics and industry practitioners, especially in social sciences (Adams et al., 2016).

The systematic literature review approach is different from the traditional narrative review, as it adopts a replicable, scientific, and transparent process with the objective to minimise bias through extensive literature exploration of existing published and unpublished studies (Tranfield et al, 2003). This approach was adopted for this chapter because of:

  • • the great interest Qatar has received since the early 2000s from academics and research institutions, giving rise to a huge number of research studies on Qatar’s sustainability strategies and the sustainability of its energy sector;
  • • the uncertainty of the effectiveness of the already implemented strategies in the country and its energy sector.

Systematic review steps

Although the systematic review approach is relatively new compared to the traditional literature review method, a methodological process (see Table 7.1) was reported by Higgins and Green (2011).

For the study presented in this chapter, the systematic literature review approach was followed with qualitative analysis of the resources, to provide clarifications about Qatar’s current sustainability strategies, both overall and in its oil

Table 7.1 Stages of systematic review

Stage I - Plan the review

Phase 0

Identify the need for a review

Phase 1

Prepare a proposal for a review

Phase 2

Develop a review protocol

Stage 11 - Conduct the review

Phase 3

Identify research

Phase 4

Select studies

Phase 5

Assess study quality

Phase 6

Extract data

Phase 7

Synthesise data

Stage 111 - Report and disseminate

Phase 8

Report and make recommendations

Phase 9

Put the data into practice

Phase 10

Keep the review up to date

Source: Original.

and gas sector. At the planning stage, a review panel was formed of a number of academics and industry practitioners with expertise in both research methodology and sustainable development, as proposed by Tranfield et al. (2003). The process of the first stage was carried out by the panel through regular meetings, where disputes regarding the inclusion or exclusion of studies were resolved. The material gained from this approach was treated as questions and issues which would be of interest to academics, industry practitioners, and policy-makers. The steps followed within this study were as follows:

  • • Identify keywords and terms, based on a scoping study, available literature, and the panel’s suggestions.
  • • Identify the most appropriate search strings.
  • • Compile a full list of the information search output of all the articles and papers reviewed.
  • • Incorporate studies that meet the inclusion criteria, as specified, into the research.
  • • Ask multiple reviewers to consider the inclusion/exclusion of resources, which can be subjective, and resolve disagreements during the panel meetings.

Research question

Formulating a carefully identified and well-constructed research question guarantees a focus on the research scope to avoid unrelated searching and to ensure the review of only useful information (Akobeng, 2005). A poor or unidentified question has the risk of being time-consuming, as the research would turn out to be significantly large and non-systematic. Therefore, it is essential for the researcher to frame and clarify the research question carefully to ensure a successful application of systematic literature review. Petticrew and Roberts (2006) argued that breaking the review question into sub-questions ensures a better framing and formulation of the question. The population, intervention, control, and outcomes (PICO) model is a tool that could be applied in this case.

The PICO model is a concept introduced originally as part of the guidance to assist in standardising the formulation of clinical research questions in the medical field, so that a literature review is carried out to answer them. The model was later adapted in social sciences studies to encourage researchers to consider different components when formulating review questions. The elements of the PICO Model include the following:

  • • Population (P): What population is the researcher interested in studying? This includes a clear identification of the population to be studied to eliminate any possibility of ambiguity.
  • • Intervention (I): What intervention is the researcher interested in reviewing? This could be one or multiple interventions, depending on the researcher’s approach and chosen population.
  • • Comparison (C): To what is the intervention being compared?
  • • Outcome (O): What outcome does the researcher hope for from the proposed intervention? It is crucial to identify which outcomes are the most relevant to the question, in order to ensure an efficient collection of information.

The PICO Model has been used by Stone (2002) (Table 7.2).

What are the key sustainability strategies that have been implemented in the Qatar oil and gas industry?

Reliability of inclusion/exclusion decisions

Three panels, composed of a mixture of three members each, including academics with engineering, policy, business, and energy backgrounds, industry practitioners from the energy sector, and researchers were formed, first, to set the inclusion

Table 7.2 Description of the PICO model






Qatar oil and gas industry



Government/organisation sustainability activities



Qatar’s situation before implementing sustainability



The country and industry’s sustainability performance

standards and, second, to review the sources to decide whether to include them or not. The inclusion/exclusion criteria were applied to the full content of the reviewed studies. Each reviewer of the review panels analysed the proposed articles separately to assess the extent to which the focus of the articles was on topics related to Qatar or its oil and industry’s sustainable development strategies. Then, coders resolved the disagreements through discussion. A similar process was undertaken by Garcia et al. (2015), when they studied the factors that influence entrepreneurship.

The review focused on peer-reviewed journal articles that were available in five different databases: Science Direct, ProQuest, Google Scholar, Dawsonera, and Scopus. The reports of the Government and international associations also were considered considering the nature of the study (Table 7.3).

Generation and analysis of keywords

The members of the panels identified the keywords of the research based on their previous experience, using brainstorming sessions during the panel meetings. A list of the main keywords and terms was drafted and grouped by the researchers of the study into different categories. The list comprised 17 keywords classified under

Table 7.3 Criteria for inclusion/exclusion of studies

Inclusion criteria

Exclusion criteria



Prior to 2008

Geographic location




Papers not in English


Original research paper and textbooks

Articles and book

reviews, research notes, dissertations


Peer-reviewed articles, government reports, published textbooks, conference proceedings

Papers focusing on the technical areas


Organisations within the Qatar energy sector


Qualitative, quantitative, case study, survey, studies that used a validated methodology

Informal papers, with no research questions, no research process, and defined data


Does the study examine Qatar’s current overall sustainability strategies?

Does the study identify practices and strategies to embed sustainability within Qatar and its energy sector?

Studies with no relationship to sustainability

Source: Original.

Table 7.4 Target dates for preparation tasks

Duration (weeks)



Preparation and development of review protocol


Search for relevant studies


Inclusion assessment


Data extraction/collection


Data analysis/synthesis


Reporting and recommendation

Source: Original.

three major categories: sustainability policies, keywords related to the sector, and performance outcome. The keywords were: Qatar sustainable development; Oil and gas sector; Carbon-based policies; Sustainability performances; Qatar Vision 2030; Sustainability strategies; National development strategy; Qatar energy sustainability performance; Knowledge-based economy; Qatar environmental development; Qatar economic development; Qatar human development; Qatar social development; Ladder of sustainable development and Qatar; Qatar Ministry Of Energy and Industry; Sustainable development practices; GCC sustainability; and Sustainable development goals.

The search timeframe

Specific target dates were set at the start of the literature review process in order to finish the preparation tasks within the agreed upon schedule. The targets were set in collaboration with the authors and different panel members (Table 7.4).

Data extraction

Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, available on a shared, open access platform (Google Drive), were used as a tool for data extraction. All the reviewers put their extracted data on their specific sheet within the document to be analysed afterwards. This strategy was used because it provided an inexpensive and easy access solution and presented the data in a format that can be easily summarised and analysed. An example of the data extraction form is shown in Figure 7.1 and the research framework that was followed is illustrated in Figure 7.2.

< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >