Turn a stack of papers into a literature review: Useful tools for beginners.
Communicating evidence is an essential competency for all health professionals and literature reviews form part of this process; however, a succinct and coherent review does not automatically emerge after downloading a stack of papers. This paper provides an in-depth outline of techniques, including two simple conceptual diagrams, to assemble findings of a literature search that will be Turn a stack of papers into a literature review: Useful tools for beginners. Dr L Talbot and Ms G Verrinder, especially useful for health professionals. The grid and the funnel are visual concepts that assist students and health professionals new to the field to synthesise literature. Students find the visual concepts to be very useful in practice. Keywords: Synthesising literature, Literature reviews, health professionals, writing tool.
Reviewing and synthesising the literature requires competencies which are essential for all health professionals. This paper provides an in-depth outline of techniques to assemble findings of a literature search that will be especially useful for students and practitioners new to the field, and for those who assist students’ learning about literature reviewing. School of Public Health, La Trobe University Correspondence Dr Lyn Talbot Department of Health and Environment School of Public Health, La Trobe University PO Box 199 Bendigo VIC 3552, Australia [email protected] Telephone: 03 5444 7566 Fax: 03 5444 7977
A great deal has been written in scholarly journals and books about developing skills in searching, retrieving and analysing relevant literature (Daly and Lumley, 2005; Creswell, 2003). Competency in reviewing the literature is considered essential for health professionals (Stevahn, King, Ghere & Minnema, 2005). Literature reviews have a number of purposes. They can be used to select correct methodological approaches to research and evaluation questions. They are essential to provide background to new research, especially where the research is subject to funding allocation or if it is a higher degree student project. A review of current literature can make an evaluation easier to plan and more successful in outcome, since the reviewer becomes aware of tools and processes used by others. Literature.