Some dissertation students will write a systematic literature review. This will involve review. The following are examples of resources that are commonly used. Literature Review: Conducting & Writing. This guide will provide research and writing tips to help students complete a literature review. The literature review represents a method because with the type of primary study (Myth 9) and that it x information about the sample characteristics per-.
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Handbook of eHealth Evaluation: An Evidence-based Approach [Internet]. Victoria BC: University of Victoria; Feb Literature reviews play a critical role in scholarship because science remains, first and foremost, a cumulative endeavour vom Brocke et al. As in any academic discipline, rigorous knowledge syntheses are becoming indispensable in keeping up with an exponentially growing eHealth literature, assisting practitioners, academics, and graduate students in finding, evaluating, and synthesizing the contents of many empirical and conceptual papers.
Among other methods, literature reviews are essential for: Literature reviews can take two major forms. Further, high-quality reviews become frequently cited pieces of work which researchers seek out as a first clear outline of the literature when undertaking empirical studies Cooper, ; Rowe, The reason for their popularity may be the fact that reading the review enables one to have an overview, if not a detailed knowledge of the area in question, as well as references to the most useful primary sources Cronin et al.
Most, if not all, peer-reviewed journals in the fields of medical informatics publish review articles of some type.
The main objectives of this chapter are fourfold: Formulating the research question s and objective s: In this regard, we concur with Jesson, Matheson, and Lacey that clearly articulated research questions are key ingredients that guide the entire review methodology; they underscore the type of information that is needed, inform the search for and selection of relevant literature, and guide or orient the subsequent analysis. Searching the extant literature: The next step consists of searching the literature and making decisions about the suitability of material to be considered in the review Cooper, There exist three main coverage strategies.
First, exhaustive coverage means an effort is made to be as comprehensive as possible in order to ensure that all relevant studies, published and unpublished, are included in the review and, thus, conclusions are based on this all-inclusive knowledge base.
The second type of coverage consists of presenting materials that are representative of most other works in a given field or area. In the third strategy, the review team concentrates on prior works that have been central or pivotal to a particular topic.
This may include empirical studies or conceptual papers that initiated a line of investigation, changed how problems or questions were framed, introduced new methods or concepts, or engendered important debate Cooper, Screening for inclusion: A set of predetermined rules provides a basis for including or excluding certain studies.
This exercise requires a significant investment on the part of researchers, who must ensure enhanced objectivity and avoid biases or mistakes. As discussed later in this chapter, for certain types of reviews there must be at least two independent reviewers involved in the screening process and a procedure to resolve disagreements must also be in place Liberati et al.
Assessing the quality of primary studies: In addition to screening material for inclusion, members of the review team may need to assess the scientific quality of the selected studies, that is, appraise the rigour of the research design and methods. Ascribing quality scores to each primary study or considering through domain-based evaluations which study components have or have not been designed and executed appropriately makes it possible to reflect on the extent to which the selected study addresses possible biases and maximizes validity Shea et al.
Extracting data: Analyzing and synthesizing data: As a final step, members of the review team must collate, summarize, aggregate, organize, and compare the evidence extracted from the included studies. The extracted data must be presented in a meaningful way that suggests a new contribution to the extant literature Jesson et al. Webster and Watson warn researchers that literature reviews should be much more than lists of papers and should provide a coherent lens to make sense of extant knowledge on a given topic.
There exist several methods and techniques for synthesizing quantitative e. EHealth researchers have at their disposal a number of approaches and methods for making sense out of existing literature, all with the purpose of casting current research findings into historical contexts or explaining contradictions that might exist among a set of primary research studies conducted on a particular topic.
Below we present and illustrate those review types that we feel are central to the growth and development of the eHealth domain. Put simply, a narrative review attempts to summarize or synthesize what has been written on a particular topic but does not seek generalization or cumulative knowledge from what is reviewed Davies, ; Green et al. As such, reviewers may selectively ignore or limit the attention paid to certain studies in order to make a point.
In this rather unsystematic approach, the selection of information from primary articles is subjective, lacks explicit criteria for inclusion and can lead to biased interpretations or inferences Green et al. There are several narrative reviews in the particular eHealth domain, as in all fields, which follow such an unstructured approach Silva et al.
Despite these criticisms, this type of review can be very useful in gathering together a volume of literature in a specific subject area and synthesizing it. As mentioned above, its primary purpose is to provide the reader with a comprehensive background for understanding current knowledge and highlighting the significance of new research Cronin et al.
Faculty like to use narrative reviews in the classroom because they are often more up to date than textbooks, provide a single source for students to reference, and expose students to peer-reviewed literature Green et al.
For researchers, narrative reviews can inspire research ideas by identifying gaps or inconsistencies in a body of knowledge, thus helping researchers to determine research questions or formulate hypotheses.
Importantly, narrative reviews can also be used as educational articles to bring practitioners up to date with certain topics of issues Green et al. Recently, there have been several efforts to introduce more rigour in narrative reviews that will elucidate common pitfalls and bring changes into their publication standards.
For instance, Levy and Ellis proposed a generic framework for conducting such reviews. Their model follows the systematic data processing approach comprised of three steps, namely: They provide detailed and very helpful instructions on how to conduct each step of the review process. As another methodological contribution, vom Brocke et al.
Last, Bandara, Miskon, and Fielt proposed a structured, predefined and tool-supported method to identify primary studies within a feasible scope, extract relevant content from identified articles, synthesize and analyze the findings, and effectively write and present the results of the literature review. We highly recommend that prospective authors of narrative reviews consult these useful sources before embarking on their work. Darlow and Wen provide a good example of a highly structured narrative review in the eHealth field.
As in most narrative reviews, the scope of the research questions being investigated is broad: To provide clear answers to these questions, a literature search was conducted on six electronic databases and Google Scholar. The search was performed using several terms and free text words, combining them in an appropriate manner.
Four inclusion and three exclusion criteria were utilized during the screening process. Both authors independently reviewed each of the identified articles to determine eligibility and extract study information. A flow diagram shows the number of studies identified, screened, and included or excluded at each stage of study selection. In terms of contributions, this review provides a series of practical recommendations for m-health intervention development.
Further, authors of descriptive reviews extract from each study certain characteristics of interest, such as publication year, research methods, data collection techniques, and direction or strength of research outcomes e. In the fields of health sciences and medical informatics, reviews that focus on examining the range, nature and evolution of a topic area are described by Anderson, Allen, Peckham, and Goodwin as mapping reviews.
Like descriptive reviews, the research questions are generic and usually relate to publication patterns and trends. There is no preconceived plan to systematically review all of the literature although this can be done. Instead, researchers often present studies that are representative of most works published in a particular area and they consider a specific time frame to be mapped. The purpose of this descriptive or mapping review was to characterize publication trends in the medical informatics literature over a year period to To achieve this ambitious objective, the authors performed a bibliometric analysis of medical informatics citations indexed in medline using publication trends, journal frequencies, impact factors, Medical Subject Headings MeSH term frequencies, and characteristics of citations.
The MeSH term analysis also suggested a strong interdisciplinary trend. Finally, average impact scores increased over time with two notable growth periods. Overall, patterns in research outputs that seem to characterize the historic trends and current components of the field of medical informatics suggest it may be a maturing discipline DeShazo et al.
In line with their main objective, scoping reviews usually conclude with the presentation of a detailed research agenda for future works along with potential implications for both practice and research. Inclusion and exclusion criteria must be established to help researchers eliminate studies that are not aligned with the research questions.
It is also recommended that at least two independent coders review abstracts yielded from the search strategy and then the full articles for study selection Daudt et al. These authors reviewed the existing literature on personal health record phr systems including design, functionality, implementation, applications, outcomes, and benefits. Seven databases were searched from to March Several search terms relating to phr s were used during this process.
Two authors independently screened titles and abstracts to determine inclusion status. A second screen of full-text articles, again by two independent members of the research team, ensured that the studies described phr s. All in all, articles met the criteria and their data were extracted manually into a database. Their in-depth analysis of the literature signalled that there is little solid evidence from randomized controlled trials or other studies through the use of phr s.
Hence, they suggested that more research is needed that addresses the current lack of understanding of optimal functionality and usability of these systems, and how they can play a beneficial role in supporting patient self-management Archer et al.
It is unrealistic to expect that all these disparate actors will have the time, skills, and necessary resources to identify the available evidence in the area of their expertise and consider it when making decisions.
Systematic reviews that involve the rigorous application of scientific strategies aimed at limiting subjectivity and bias i.
Systematic reviews attempt to aggregate, appraise, and synthesize in a single source all empirical evidence that meet a set of previously specified eligibility criteria in order to answer a clearly formulated and often narrow research question on a particular topic of interest to support evidence-based practice Liberati et al. They adhere closely to explicit scientific principles Liberati et al. The main procedures of a systematic review involve:.
Many systematic reviews, but not all, use statistical methods to combine the results of independent studies into a single quantitative estimate or summary effect size. Known as meta-analyses , these reviews use specific data extraction and statistical techniques e. Subsequently, they use fixed or random-effects analysis models to combine the results of the included studies, assess statistical heterogeneity, and calculate a weighted average of the effect estimates from the different studies, taking into account their sample sizes.
The summary effect size is a value that reflects the average magnitude of the intervention effect for a particular outcome of interest or, more generally, the strength of a relationship between two variables across all studies included in the systematic review. By statistically combining data from multiple studies, meta-analyses can create more precise and reliable estimates of intervention effects than those derived from individual studies alone, when these are examined independently as discrete sources of information.
The review by Gurol-Urganci, de Jongh, Vodopivec-Jamsek, Atun, and Car on the effects of mobile phone messaging reminders for attendance at healthcare appointments is an illustrative example of a high-quality systematic review with meta-analysis.
Missed appointments are a major cause of inefficiency in healthcare delivery with substantial monetary costs to health systems. These authors sought to assess whether mobile phone-based appointment reminders delivered through Short Message Service sms or Multimedia Messaging Service mms are effective in improving rates of patient attendance and reducing overall costs.
To this end, they conducted a comprehensive search on multiple databases using highly sensitive search strategies without language or publication-type restrictions to identify all rct s that are eligible for inclusion.
In order to minimize the risk of omitting eligible studies not captured by the original search, they supplemented all electronic searches with manual screening of trial registers and references contained in the included studies. Findings from eight rct s involving 6, participants were pooled into meta-analyses to calculate the magnitude of effects that mobile text message reminders have on the rate of attendance at healthcare appointments compared to no reminders and phone call reminders.
Meta-analyses are regarded as powerful tools for deriving meaningful conclusions. However, there are situations in which it is neither reasonable nor appropriate to pool studies together using meta-analytic methods simply because there is extensive clinical heterogeneity between the included studies or variation in measurement tools, comparisons, or outcomes of interest.
In these cases, systematic reviews can use qualitative synthesis methods such as vote counting, content analysis, classification schemes and tabulations, as an alternative approach to narratively synthesize the results of the independent studies included in the review. This form of review is known as qualitative systematic review. A rigorous example of one such review in the eHealth domain is presented by Mickan, Atherton, Roberts, Heneghan, and Tilson on the use of handheld computers by healthcare professionals and their impact on access to information and clinical decision-making.
Heterogeneity between the included studies in terms of reported outcomes and measures precluded the use of meta-analytic methods. To this end, the authors resorted to using narrative analysis and synthesis to describe the effectiveness of handheld computers on accessing information for clinical knowledge, adherence to safety and clinical quality guidelines, and diagnostic decision-making.
In recent years, the number of systematic reviews in the field of health informatics has increased considerably. Systematic reviews with discordant findings can cause great confusion and make it difficult for decision-makers to interpret the review-level evidence Moher, Therefore, there is a growing need for appraisal and synthesis of prior systematic reviews to ensure that decision-making is constantly informed by the best available accumulated evidence.
Umbrella reviews generally adhere to the same principles and rigorous methodological guidelines used in systematic reviews. As explained above, systematic reviews seek to identify causation. Such logic is appropriate for fields like medicine and education where findings of randomized controlled trials can be aggregated to see whether a new treatment or intervention does improve outcomes.
The basic research question — what works? Realist reviews have no particular preference for either quantitative or qualitative evidence. As a theory-building approach, a realist review usually starts by articulating likely underlying mechanisms and then scrutinizes available evidence to find out whether and where these mechanisms are applicable Shepperd et al.
Introduced the sections of the thesis which would address overall objective. Next four paragraphs described the contents and purpose of each section of the thesis. Literature Review of Relevant Research The overall goals of this chapter were firstly to establish the significance of the general field of study, then identify a place where a new contribution could be made.
Establishes research territory. Establishes significance of territory. Motivates next part of literature review. Further justifies the need to investigate the impact of social influences on memory. Repeats 6 for another sub-topic. Theoretical Explanations of Memory Conformity 1. Establishes a reason for this chapter and states the purpose.
Discusses methodological issues in achieving aim. Introduces another question of interest and reviews what has been found so far. Relevance to thesis is made clear. Study 3: Co-Witness Contamination Chapter had structure: Introduction Methods Results Discussion The Introduction introduced the particular study to be reported on, and also contained a three and a half page literature review which: Linked back to the relevant to the general findings of the earlier literature review chapters.
Previous literature was used to generate specific hypotheses to test. Postgraduate research Conceptualising a research degree General writing tips Confirmation document Literature review Thesis Journal article Getting finished Research policies. A Member of. The writing should be direct and precise and always written in the past tense.
Kallet, Richard H. You must explain how you obtained and analyzed your results for the following reasons: Bem, Daryl J. Writing the Empirical Journal Article. Psychology Writing Center. University of Washington; Denscombe, Martyn. The Good Research Guide: Buckingham, UK: Writing a Successful Thesis or Dissertation: Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Groups of Research Methods. There are two main groups of research methods in the social sciences: The introduction to your methodology section should begin by restating the research problem and underlying assumptions underpinning your study.
If the method you choose lies outside of the tradition of your field [i. The remainder of your methodology section should describe the following: In addition, an effectively written methodology section should: Once you have written all of the elements of the methods section, subsequent revisions should focus on how to present those elements as clearly and as logically as possibly.
The description of how you prepared to study the research problem, how you gathered the data, and the protocol for analyzing the data should be organized chronologically. For clarity, when a large amount of detail must be presented, information should be presented in sub-sections according to topic.
If you are conducting a qualitative analysis of a research problem , the methodology section generally requires a more elaborate description of the methods used as well as an explanation of the processes applied to gathering and analyzing of data than is generally required for studies using quantitative methods. Because you are the primary instrument for generating the data, the process for collecting that data has a significantly greater impact on producing the findings.
Therefore, qualitative research requires a more detailed description of the methods used. If your study involves interviews, observations, or other qualitative techniques involving human subjects , you may be required to obtain approval from your Institutional Review Board before beginning your research.
If this is the case, you must include a statement in your methods section that you received official endorsement and adequate informed consent from the IRB and that there was a clear assessment and minimization of risks to participants and to the university. This statement informs the reader that your study was conducted in an ethical and responsible manner. In some cases, the IRB approval notice is included as an appendix to your paper. Problems to Avoid. Irrelevant Detail The methodology section of your paper should be thorough but to the point.
Do not provide any background information that does not directly help the reader understand why a particular method was chosen, how the data was gathered or obtained, and how the data was analyzed in relation to the research problem [note: Save how you interpreted the findings for the discussion section].
With this in mind, the page length of your methods section will generally be less than any other section of your paper except the conclusion. Unnecessary Explanation of Basic Procedures Remember that you are not writing a how-to guide about a particular method. You should make the assumption that readers possess a basic understanding of how to investigate the research problem on their own and, therefore, you do not have to go into great detail about specific methodological procedures.
The focus should be on how you applied a method , not on the mechanics of doing a method. An exception to this rule is if you select an unconventional methodological approach; if this is the case, be sure to explain why this approach was chosen and how it enhances the overall process of discovery. Problem Blindness It is almost a given that you will encounter problems when collecting or generating your data, or, gaps will exist in existing data or archival materials.
Do not ignore these problems or pretend they did not occur. Often, documenting how you overcame obstacles can form an interesting part of the methodology. It demonstrates to the reader that you can provide a cogent rationale for the decisions you made to minimize the impact of any problems that arose. Literature Review Just as the literature review section of your paper provides an overview of sources you have examined while researching a particular topic, the methodology section should cite any sources that informed your choice and application of a particular method [i.
A description of a research study's method should not be confused with a description of the sources of information. Such a list of sources is useful in and of itself, especially if it is accompanied by an explanation about the selection and use of the sources. The description of the project's methodology complements a list of sources in that it sets forth the organization and interpretation of information emanating from those sources.
Azevedo, L. Writing the Methods Section. Sense Publishers , pp. Corwin, ; Carter, Susan. Structuring Your Research Thesis.
Literature reviews - Example 1
Example of literature reviews from Helen M. Paterson (), “Co-Witnesses and the Examples. Overview of the Thesis “Introduction” Less than 2 pages long. the different methodologies used in this field so as to identify the appropriate. Up until the point of writing your methodology, you will have defined your research This will draw in part from your literature review, presenting your likely to distort your data (for example, by introducing false positives into. Research Methodology-3 Writing Literature Review. Sajadin Sembiring. The literature review is a critical look at the existing research that is significant to your project. You should Did the authors sample the population fairly? Did they.