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A Literature Review is ...
A Literature Review is NOT ...
Purposes for Literature Reviews Generally
Additional Purposes for HEALTH SCIENCES Literature Reviews:
STEP 1: Choose a Topic.
Informally, explore a topic you find fascinating or troubling, that you enjoy, or that you are passionate about.
Is there enough published material on your topic generally to allow you to perform a meaningful review? Two or three items would make a weak review.
REALITY CHECK: You can't review the literature on a topic that hasn't been researched to some extent. If you can't find articles or books on your topic with basic searching, maybe nothing has been written about that topic yet. Consider lengthening your time frame. Contact a librarian to help with search terms and places to search.
ADVICE: Do some informal exploring before emotionally attaching to a topic.
STEP 2: Predict the Location of Information on the topic.
Ask yourself where information on your topic might be located.
Newspapers? Government websites? Books? Magazines? Scholarly Journals?
If your topic is Nursing Education Theory, don't look in an Agriculture database.
Is your topic cross-disciplinary?
Autism interventions can be found in Education databases, Medical databases, Child Development databases, Psychology databases, and maybe even Family Sciences databases. If the interventions include equipment, then Science databases, Engineering databases, and even Business database might be necessary.
STEP 3: Choose your Search Tools.
Use a variety of tools to get comprehensive results.
Search Engines such as Google Bing Yahoo DuckDuckGo Google Scholar
Library databases Library catalogs Bibliographies Archives Institutional Repositories, etc.
One single information search tool will NOT find everything you will need for an adequate literature review.
Use a variety of tools: library catalogs, library databases, internet search engines, etc.
STEP 4: Identify appropriate information formats.
*Book Chapters * Research Articles * Videos * Newspaper articles * Blog posts * Audio Recordings * Conference papers * EHRs
Keep in mind that some topics have a TIME component. Information on topics that are historical may not be found online.
You may have to search print resources by hand. Physically browse Library shelves. Locate and search archives.
Information on topics that are extremely current may only be available online: news websites, blog posts, twitter, etc.
STEP 5: Choose search TERMS carefully.
The BEST search begins with a search for the RICHT SEARCH WORDS. If you identify the RIGHT WORDS, the literature will fall into your lap. When choosing serach terms, be comprehensive. Think of as many words as you can.
Use Natural (plain) language search terms -- common words, everyday words
Use Controlled Vocabulary -- formal or technical terminology (MeSH, Library of Congress Subject Headings, Database Subject Headings)
THINK SYNONYMS, lots of synonyms.
Examples: Brain Cancer * Brain Neoplasms * Brain Tumor * Brain Malignancy * Intracranial Neoplasm * Cerebral Ventricle Neoplasm * Infratentorial Neoplasm * Cerebellar Neoplasm * Neurocytoma * Pinealoma * Supratentorial Neoplasm * Glioblastoma Multiforma, etc.
STEP 6: Devise a Search Strategy
Make a Plan * Follow Your Plan * Document Your Work
STEP 7: Analyze Results.
STEP 8: Write
Keep the following in mind when writing:
STEP 9: Cite all Sources.
Use the PICO to enhance your searching:
Asking for and locating evidence in the literature depends upon asking an effective clinical question.
Use the PICO mnemonic to focus your mind and build that question.
P = Patient Patient Population Problem (includes demographic information)
I = Intervention Treatment Therapy Prognostic Factor Exposure
C = Comparison (could be placebo or no treatment)
O = Outcome (what you hope to accomplish; target for success: measurable)
Google Searches using Boolean:
Advance or Expert Boolean:
Searching with Controlled Vocabulary (formal terms) using search sets (Boolean) and filters (limits).
CINAHL Complete Videos
Nursing & Allied Health Literature (ProQuest) Videos
APA PsycINFO Videos
OT Search Videos
Medline with Full Text Videos
For Occupational Therapy research, try these databases first.
Depending on your topic, you might find information in these databases.
These resources are useful for BASIC information about a topic. Includes encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc.
This book is in PRINT only. However, students may request book pages or book chapters using InterLibrary Loan.
FREE ONLINE RESOURCES:
RefWorks is a Citation Management Software used to gather article citations and book citations so Reference Lists can be generated instantly in a variety of citation styles.
Below are resources that explain how to use RefWorks Citation Management software.
FREE to TWU students.
Click the PDF link to access the full-text article.
No PDF link?? Locate the Find Full-Text link.
1. Locate and click on the Find Full-Text link for your article:
2. Click on the Database link where the full-text article is held.
3. Click on the PDF link in the database.
If you cannot access the full-text, consider submitting an InterLibrary loan (ILL) request.
Sometimes your librarian can help locate full-text even if it appears not to be available -- so feel free to contact your librarian before submitting an ILL request.
Google Scholar is a subset of big Google. It searches for items on the Internet that are "published."
TWU InterLibrary Loan
When TWU does not have your article full-text, you can request the article full-text using the TWU Libraries InterLibrary Loan service.
* For Students, Faculty, & Staff only. * Register for an account using TWU Portal name & password
* Full Text arrives in your email * Track ILL Requests (like UPS or FedEx) * Delivery within 24 hours is our goal
* No ILL for Reserve items * No ILL for Textbooks * No ILL for Woman's Collection items * No ILL for videos or CDs
Login using your TWU Portal Username and Password.
2. Fill out ILL account form.
3 Click Submit Information button. (see above)
Your ILL account will look like this.