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Writing Reviews: Getting Started

Writing Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis

What is a Review?

Review: an article published after examination of published materials on a subject. It may be comprehensive to various degrees and the time range of material scrutinized may be broad or narrow, but the reviews most often desired are reviews of the current literature. The textual material examined may be equally broad and can encompass clinical material as well as experimental research or case reports. State-of-the-art reviews tend to address more current matters. A review of the literature must be differentiated from historical articles on the same subject, but a review of historical literature is also within the scope of this publication type. - PubMed MeSH definition of Review [Publication Type]

And that means...

  • A gathering of published literature on a topic for analysis 
  • A critical survey of existing literature on a topic 

Getting started

How do I get started?

  1. Choose a topic - pick something you are interested in, but make sure there is enough literature to support that topic! 
  2. Run some preliminary searches to figure out what terms might work/what databases might work.
  3. Decide on your limiters - date range, languages, gender, etc. 
  4. Select your databases - choose 5 to 7 databases to search. 
  5. Select your search terms - pick the terms that seemed to work the best. You may have to slightly change them depending on which database you are in. 
  6. Save your searches! Save every search you run, even if you don't think you'll use the results. 
  7. Begin selecting articles. Grab every article that you think might be relevant to your topic.
  8.  Read the articles! 
  9. Decide which articles fit your topic and your limiters. 
  10. Start writing!