Having defined your research question, you’re ready to review the literature
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You’ll need to undertake a review of contemporary evidence to help:
- Identify gaps in the evidence base
- Identify the strengths of weakness of study designs already used in your topic area
- Give credibility to your project findings by being able to discuss your findings in the context of previous research.
A mind map may help to define and scope your topic by identifying key themes and search terms.
The following resources will help with the review process:
- Aveyard, H. (2019). Doing a literature review in health and social care: a practical guide (4th ed.). Berkshire: Open University Press – provides real life examples of how to overcome practical challenges in undertaking a literature review
- Booth, A., Papaioannou, D., & Sutton, A. (2016). Systematic approaches to a successful literature review (2nd ed.). London: Sage – this book helps you choose an approach which is right for your research
- Grant, M. J., & Booth, A. (2009). A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Health Information and Libraries Journal, 26(2), 91-108 – valuable for preparing to conduct a review in the health information and wider health care sector
- Levay, P., & Craven, J. (2019). Systematic searching: practical ideas for improving results. London: Facet Publishing – this book includes case studies, practical examples and ideas for further research
- Sutton, A., Clowes, M., Preston, L., & Booth, A. (2019). Meeting the review family: exploring review types and associated information retrieval requirements. Health Information and Libraries Journal, 36(3), 202-222 – A companion paper to the 2009 Typology of Reviews, this paper will help you select a suitable approach for your research project
If you plan to undertake a systematic review the following resources provide guidance on systematic review processes and reporting:
- Centre for Reviews and Dissemination. (2009). Systematic reviews: CRD’s guidance for undertaking reviews in healthcare (3rd ed.). York – the definitive guide on producing systematic reviews
- PRISMA: Transparent reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses – Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses checklist and flowchart for reporting your review methodology
- PROSPERO: International prospective register of systematic reviews – Avoid duplication by searching PROSPERO’s comprehensive list of prospectively registered review. If you don’t find a review in your area, consider registering your own.
Databases can be used to identify contemporary evidence in your subject area. This includes journal articles, conference proceeding and reports.
The following resources have content tailored to the library and knowledge service community:
- Library and Information Science Abstracts (LISA) -This database provides bibliographic information about developments in librarianship, information science, online retrieval, publishing and information technology. Available to CILIP members as part of their annual subscription
- Library, Information Science and Technology Abstracts (LISTA) – A freely available online database of library and information science research studies
- Library Science Database – full-text access to over 150 top publications in library and information science. Available to CILIP members as part of their annual subscription
Your research subject may relate to a broader clinical area. The following databases provide access to research and references in the clinical and health management sectors.
- Cochrane Library – a free collection of evidence-based medicine databases, including the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
- ERIC (Education Resources Information Center) – free to use international bibliographic database on educational research and practice. Subjects covered include physical education, exercise, sport, nutrition and health
- NICE Evidence – access to multiple bibliographical databases including MEDLINE, CINAHL and Embase, and over 800 full text journals. You need an NHS OpenAthens username and password to access these resources
- PubMed – a free to use search engine which primarily accesses the MEDLINE biomedical database of references and abstracts on life sciences and biomedical topics
You’ll want to assess the trustworthiness, value and relevance of any research to your context, a process called critical appraisal. Here are some resources to get you started:
- Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) – a research glossary and critical appraisal checklists for eight research designs. CASP also provides critical appraisal training.
- Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal Tools
- International Centre for Allied Health Evidence – research glossary and critical appraisal checklists for ten research designs
The following journals are key sources for KLS research:
- Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (EBLIP) – quarterly peer-reviewed cross-sectoral open access journal
- Health Information and Libraries Journal (HILJ) – quarterly peer-reviewed international health library and knowledge services research journal based in the UK
- Journal of Hospital Librarianship – quarterly peer-reviewed journal on quality improvement, technological challenges and health care administration in hospital settings
- Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA) – quarterly peer-reviewed journal on health sciences librarianship based in the USA
- Library and Information Research (LIR) – peer-reviewed journal published by CILIP’s Library and Information Research Group
- Library and Information Science Research – a quarterly peer-reviewed cross-disciplinary research journal
- LIS Publications Wiki: Research. Write. Publish – a regularly updated wiki listing scholarly journals, maintained by students of the San Jose State University’s School as part of their Publishing for the Profession programme.
Page last reviewed: 15 June 2021