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Research Methods in Healthcare: IHS 4504

Writing the Literature Review

Overview of a Lit Review:
Take 5 minutes to watch the below video that describes what a lit review is and isn't, what its role is, and why we do them. This is the first of a 3-part tutorial on lit reviews. It's HIGHLY recommended that you watch the remaining two parts after this one plays through. (Sorry about the poor sound quality.)

[From University of Maryland University College.]

Research or Review: what's the difference?

Research articles:
Present original research results, and include details of the scientific data obtained during the research, as well as the methodology used.  They are known as a primary source of scientific information, and should include:

  • An abstract, which succinctly summarises the article content
  • An introduction which explains the reason/purpose/justification for the research
  • A clear outline of the methodology/ies used to conduct and analyse the research
  • Data to support analysis of results
  • Discussion of results
  • References

How to Find Research Articles (tips to hone in on research studies via FGCU databases)

Review articles:
Do exactly what their name suggests: they review the literature published on a particular topic.  Typically, review articles:

  • Provide an overview of the research conducted ‘to date’ on a particular topic
  • 'Track' the course of research, identifying significant contributions to the field, and themes in the literature
  • Discuss/analyse/compare/contrast the research of different authors working in the same field

A review article is usually considered to be a secondary source of information, and can provide an ideal starting point for researching a topic.  The reference list will contain citations for the research articles (primary sources) discussed – a good way of locating other literature that may be relevant to your topic.  Be aware that a review article reflects the views of its authors - you should still look at the articles discussed and draw your own conclusions.

Sample Literature Reviews

Walker, W. (2008, February 15). Accident and emergency staff opinion on the effects of family presence during adult resuscitation: critical literature review. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 61(4), 348-362. Retrieved July 7, 2009, from CINAHL with Full Text database.

Paul, F., & Rattray, J. (2008, May). Short- and long-term impact of critical illness on relatives: literature review. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 62(3), 276-292. Retrieved July 6, 2009, from CINAHL with Full Text database.

Check out FGCU Library Books on Writing Literature Reviews

For ebooks, just click on the title link, then look for "Read this ebook" or "Connect now" in the new window. Otherwise, the book is located on the library shelves by call number.