Literature reviews are the starting point for any research activity, since they provide a comprehensive and unbiased summary of available evidence, based on existing academic production, selected by a clearly defined and reproducible search strategy. The systematic approach offers deeper observation of findings that cannot be extracted through the traditional narrative review approach (Pickering and Byrne, 2014). According to Petticrew and Roberts (2008), the systematic review approach is a more scientific and transparent process that minimizes bias through an extensive literature search of published papers. A systematic review uses algorithmic and heuristic approaches to search articles, to synthesize all relevant facts and perform critical analysis. The systematic approach requires detailed pre-selection criteria for inclusion and exclusion of articles, selection of keywords as per research questions, selection of databases, as well as a detailed strategy to filter relevant articles based on title, abstract and detailed reading. Finally, the resulting papers will be deeply read and synthesized into a detailed representation (Hart, 2008).
Hart’s (2008) methodology has been used in this study for the systematic review. Due to the multidisciplinary nature of urban-rural relations and tourism, the research was performed in Scopus, which offers a wider index journal range and greater international coverage (Le-Klahn and Hall, 2015). An online database research was conducted on 6 July 2015 and a second one was performed on 1 February 2016. Results below are presented on the findings of the latter date. The fields of research were selected as TITLE-ABSTRACT-KEYWORDS, with the following keywords:
‘*rural*’ AND ‘*urban*’ AND ‘*touris*’
The use of ‘*’ was to ensure that all possible combinations (i.e. urban- rural, rural-urban) and derivatives (i.e. tourism, tourist, tourists, touristic) were covered.
The research was refined by including: DOCUMENT TYPES (i.e. ARTICLE, CONFERENCE PAPER, REVIEW, BOOK, BOOK CHAPTER and CONFERENCE REVIEW), and excluding criteria: LANGUAGES (i.e. languages other than ENGLISH) and SUBJECT AREA (i.e. subjects other than SOCIAL SCIENCES, ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICE, BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT, EARTH AND PLANET SCIENCES). Including and excluding criteria were selected in order not to omit any relevant paper.