Write a "literature review for a research question"
This lesson will cover the following topics
- Basic steps to conducting a systematic literature search
- List of useful and relevant electronic databases
Reviewing the relevant literature
“A research literature review is a systematic, explicit and reproductive method for identifying, evaluating, and synthesising the existing body of completed and recorded work produced by researchers, scholars, and practitioners.” (Fink, 2005) By reviewing the relevant literature, in addition to learning what is already known about the research question(s), the researcher will become familiar with problems that other investigators have faced, using various study methods. In an era of evidence based medicine, being able to search for relevant literature to answer a question is crucial. Computers and particularly the internet have revolutionised medical publishing. With thousands of research articles being published each year, bibliographic databases provide a way to search the archives of multiple journals from across the world. A bibliographic database is a repository of bibliographic or publication records. It provides an index of journal articles from multiple journals, and includes citations, abstracts and often a link to the full text. Databases are usually held electronically, so they can be updated regularly.
After you have selected your research questions, you would need to:
- Select search terms
- Select data resources
- Consult with a librarian regarding the search terms and search engines
- Run search terms
- Collate retrieved articles in a single library (i.e., EndNote)
- Screen for relevant literature, and finally
- Synthesise the results