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How Do We Conduct A Thorough Literature Search For A Systematic Review?

Highly Cited papers are recently published papers getting the most attention in your field right now. They form the top 1% of papers based on the number of citations received, compared to other papers published in the same field in the same year. The more precise your topic is, the easier it will be to complete a literature review. This interdisciplinary guide describes the basic steps of doing a literature review.

Librarian Tallie Casucci and nursing leaders Gigi Austria and Barb Wilson help us understand how to formulate searchable, answerable questions using the PICO framework. Dissertation Abstracts – dissertation and theses database – NIH Library biomedical librarians can access and search for you. APA PsycINFOOver 4.5 million abstracts of peer-reviewed literature in the behavioral and social sciences. Includes conference papers, book chapters, psychological tests, scales and measurement tools.

In the event you cannot order a book from a remote library, see if you can take out an electronic copy from an online library or find the source at another nearby library. You’ll have to find a field of literary theory, as well as a subject within Shakespeare, through which to explore the topic. You may want to look into the philosophies of relativism and existentialism in the play.

You could be carrying out research which has already been done before, using redundant, outdated methodologies, or designing experiments that have shown to be ineffective in the past. Once you have completed your search, you’ll select articles that are relevant to your question. Some databases also include a “similar articles” feature which recommends other articles similar to the article you’re reviewing—this can also be a helpful tool. Try using the controlled vocabulary, or main words or phrases that describe the main themes in an article, within databases.

Important methodological considerations may also be included in the search strategy. Dependent on the databases and supplementary sources chosen, filters can be used to search the literature by study design (see ‘Searching electronic databases’). For instance, if the search strategy is confined to one study design term only (e.g. randomised controlled trial, RCT), only the articles labelled in this way will be selected. However, it is possible that in the database some RCTs are not labelled as such, so they will not be picked up by the filtered search. Filters can help reduce the number of references retrieved by the search, but using just one term is not 100% sensitive, especially if only one database is used (i.e. MEDLINE).

A number of filters exist to focus a search, including language, date and study design or study focus filters. Language filters can restrict retrieval of articles to the English language, although if language is not an inclusion criterion it should not be restricted, to avoid language bias. Date filters can be used to restrict the search to literature from a specified period, for example if an intervention was only made available after a certain date.

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