Writing a Literature Review In the Health Sciences and Social Work

Writing a Literature Review In the Health Sciences and Social Work

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Writing a Literature Review In the Health Sciences and Social Work (Source: Dr. D. Taylor, University of Toronto, 2001) What Is A Review of the Literature? A review of the literature is a classification and evaluation of what accredited scholars and researchers have written on a topic, organized according to a guiding concept such as your research objective, thesis, or the problem/issue you wish to address. Your objective is not to rack up points by listing as many articles as possible; rather, you want to demonstrate your intellectual ability to recognize relevant information, and to synthesize and evaluate it according to the guiding concept you have determined for yourself. Your reader not only wants to know what literature exists, but also your informed evaluation of the literature. To meet both of these needs, you must employ two sets of skills: information seeking: the ability to scan the literature efficiently using manual or computerized methods to identify a set of potentially useful articles and books. critical appraisal: the ability to apply principles of analysis to identify those studies which are unbiased and valid. Your readers want more just than a descriptive list of articles and books. It's usually a bad sign when every paragraph of your review begins with the names of researchers. Instead, organize your review into useful, informative sections that present themes or identify trends. A literature review is NOT just a summary, but a conceptually organized synthesis of the results of your search. It must: organize information and relate it to the thesis or research question you are developing synthesize results into a summary of what is and isn't known identify controversy when it appears in the literature develop questions for further research The value of your review depends not simply on how many sources you find, but also on your awareness of how these different levels of perspectives affect the way that research on your topic is conducted, published, and read. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Review of Literature
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Do I have a specific thesis, problem, or research question which my literature review helps to define? What type of literature review am I conducting? Am I looking at issues of theory? methodology? policy? quantitative research (e.g., studies of a new or controversial procedure)? qualitative research (e.g., studies determining criteria for allocating health care resources)? What is the scope of my literature review? What types of publications am I using; e.g., journals, books, government documents, popular media? What discipline am I working in; e.g., nursing, psychology, sociology, medicine? How good are my information seeking skills? Has my search been wide enough to ensure I've found all the relevant material? Has it been narrow enough to exclude irrelevant material? Is the number of sources I've used appropriate for the length of my paper?
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  • Summer '17
  • Qualitative Research, researcher, Denham, Tobacco cessation, Family Community Health

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