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Literature Reviews &
Literature Searches
Taghreed Justinia Msc PhD
Asst. Professor, Department of Health Informatics
Asst. Director, Information & Communication Technology
KSAU-HS, NGHA
Tel. +966 2 6240000 ext 26217 / 26210
Email: JustiniaT@ngha.med.sa
In this session…
 Definition and understanding of a literature review
 Important steps in literature review writing
 Critical appraisal of journals, articles and websites
2Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Literature Search
 The best way to find high quality information is to
carry out a literature search on one or more databases
and to download, copy or request relevant current
publications on the topic/s of interest.
3Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
What is a research literature
review?
 It is a systematic, explicit and reproducible method
for identifying, evaluating, and synthesizing the
existing body of completed and recorded work
produced by researchers, scholars, and practitioners.
Fink, A. (2005). Conducting Research Literature Reviews. London: Sage.
4Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Steps in
literature review writing
 Selecting the research questions
 Selecting the sources
 Choosing search terms
 Conducting the search
 Applying practical screening criteria
 Critically appraising the literature
 Journals & Articles
 Websites
5Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Selecting the research
questions
6Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Research questions influence
search results
Relevancy
Retrieval
(# of search
results)
Broad
Questions
Narrow
Questions
High =
lots of
articles
Low =
very few
articles
High = directly
relevant articles
Low = mostly
irrelevant articles
7Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Possible research questions
Broad question:
What is the prevalence of bacterial meningitis?
Narrow question:
What costs are associated with hospitalization for bacterial
meningitis?
Very narrow question:
What strategies have been utilized in Saudi Arabia to reduce length
of stay for patients with bacterial meningitis?
8Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Selecting Sources
9Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Literature review data sources
 Online public bibliographic databases
 Commercial bibliographic databases
 Specialized bibliographic databases
 Manual or “hand searches” of references lists
 “Grey literature”
 Web reports
 Expert opinions
10Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Bibliographic Databases
 Medicine
 PubMed (or Ovid MEDLINE), EMBASE, Cochrane Library, PsycINFO
 Multidisciplinary
 Scopus
 Web of Science
 Nursing and Allied Health
 CINAHL
11Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Websites
 Associations, Organizations & Government
 World Health Organization (WHO)
 Health Canada
 Canadian Medical Association
 National Health Service (NHS)
12Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
“Grey Literature”
 Dissertations & Theses
 SCOPUS (conference proceedings)
 Web search engines
13Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Choosing Search Terms
14Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Break down the
research question
 Select your database
 Break down the research question into concepts
 Identify subject headings (descriptors) for each concept
 Identify text words for each concept
 Use a “target article” to help identify search terms
 Use a worksheet to keep track of your terms
1. Your database will determine your subject headings and
operators (i.e., truncation symbols)
15Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Different databases have
different subject headings
 Select subject headings that are the closest match for your concept
 General descriptors: Anatomy
 More specific descriptors: Ankle
Database Subject Headings
Medline MeSH
EMBASE EMTREE
CINAHL CINAHL Headings
Cochrane Library MeSH
PsycINFO Thesaurus of Psychological Index
Terms
Scopus, Web of Science N/A
16Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Search Strategy Worksheet
Search Strategy Worksheet_________________________________________________
Search statement: I am looking for articles about ___________________________________________________________________
After writing out the search statement, underline the key concepts. Decide how the concepts will be combined together using the
AND and OR Boolean operators. Concepts to be ANDed go across the grid and concepts to be ORed go down the grid.
Fill in the grid with the key concepts and possible synonyms for each concept.
AND AND AND AND
OR
OR
OR
OR
OR
OR
OR
Databases to search:___________________________________________________________________________________________
Limits to apply:_______________________________________________________________________________________________
17Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Key Operators in OVID
Operator Command Example
* Find alternate endings to this
word
nurs* [will find nurse, nursing,
nurses]
.tw. Search for this term in the
Title and Abstract fields
anxiety.tw.
adj Search for one term within x
number of terms from another
patient adj3 anxiety [will find
patient within three words of
anxiety]
AND Find articles where both terms
appear
smoking AND cessation
OR Find articles where either
term appears
smoking OR tobacco
18Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Conducting the Search
19Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Conducing the Search
 Start with your first concept
 Search for the subject headings first
 Then search text words
 Combine these synonymous searches with OR using your
search history
 Repeat for your second, third, and subsequent concepts
 Finally, combine large search results set with AND
 Example MeSH search: hypertenstion AND toxicity
20Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Concepts
Which concepts are contained in the question:
Does hand washing prevent MRSA in the ICU?
 Hand washing
 Prevention
 MRSA
 ICU
21Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Getting the search results
Concept 1
SEARCH 1
SEARCH 2
SEARCH 3
SEARCH 4
SEARCH 5 = 1 OR 2 OR 3 OR 4
Concept 1
SEARCH 6
SEARCH 7
SEARCH 8
SEARCH 9
SEARCH 10 = 1 OR 2 OR 3 OR 4
SEARCH 11 = 5 AND 10 = RESULTS
22Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Applying Practical
Screening Criteria
23Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Screening Criteria Examples
 Date of publication
 only studies conducted between 2005 and 2010
 Participants or subjects
 only children 6 to 12 years of age
 Publication language
 only materials written in English or French
 Research design
 only clinical trials
24Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Citation List
 Searching databases will result in a list of citations,
which include the information needed to locate the
articles in print journals and other sources
25Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Critically Appraising
Journals & Articles
26Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Be Critical
 Once you have obtained the papers most relevant to
your question you should consider a number of things
before using the results.
 This applies even when the publications are from peer
reviewed journals.
27Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Publication Bias
 Negative results don’t (often) get published – If you
want to carry out a detailed or systematic review of a
subject area, you might consider trying to get hold of
unpublished studies.
 Reviewers may be biased against unconventional
versus conventional techniques (eg orthodox drug
versus alternative therapy).
28Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Authorship
 Are the authors based at a well-established Centre of
Excellence?
 Are there any issues of sponsorship or competing
interests?
29Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Journal Ranking &
Impact Factors
 Impact Factor is:
 A measure of the frequency with which the "average
article" in a journal has been cited in a particular year or
period
 The impact factor of a journal is linked to its
popularity and accessibility
 Journals with higher impact factors in a subject area
are generally more highly regarded
30Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Abstract Quality
 Read the paper carefully; don’t rely on only the abstract
 Many abstracts in peer reviewed journals have errors
 Three common types of inaccuracies are:
 data inconsistent in abstract and body of the paper,
tables, and figures
 data or information in the abstract do not appear
elsewhere; and
 conclusions in the abstract not substantiated in the paper
itself
31Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Critically Appraising
Websites
32Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Be critical, be selective
 The peer review system for journal articles provides a
degree of quality control.
 However, anybody can put anything on the web (you
have to do your own critical appraisal).
33Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
What to consider
 Content
 consider intended audience, purpose of site, accuracy
 are the sources of information provided?
 Source; Consider
 author(s)
 is it current and up to date?
 depth/breadth of coverage
 bias – are there any conflicts of interest
 Structure; Consider
 graphics, presentation, ease of use, clarity
34Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Don’t forget!
 Your subject librarian can always help you. Don’t
waste that valuable resource.
 Make an point to meet your medical/university
librarian to assist and advise you on your literature
searches and literature reviews.
35Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Useful References
 Fink, A. (2005). Conducting Research Literature Reviews. London:
Sage.
 Greenhalgh, T. (2006). How to read a paper (3rd ed.). London: BMJ
Publishing Group.
 Sackett, D., Straus, S., & Richardson, W. (2000). Evidence-based
medicine (2nd ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.
 Wilson, P. (2002). How to find the good and avoid the bad or ugly.
A short guide to tools for rating quality of health information on
the internet. BMJ, 324, 598-602.
36Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Useful Sites
 NHS Solutions for Public Health http://www.sph.nhs.uk/what-
we-do/public-health-workforce/resources
 CADTH. Grey Matters: a practical search tool for evidence-based
medicine - http://cadth.ca/en/resources/grey-matters
 Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews and Interventions -
http://www.cochrane-handbook.org/
 IOM (Institute of Medicine). Finding what works in health care:
standards for systematic reviews -
http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2011/Finding-What-Works-in-Health-
Care-Standards-for-Systematic-Reviews.aspx
37Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
Questions?
38Literature Reviews & Literature Searches

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Literature reviews & literature searches

  • 1. Literature Reviews & Literature Searches Taghreed Justinia Msc PhD Asst. Professor, Department of Health Informatics Asst. Director, Information & Communication Technology KSAU-HS, NGHA Tel. +966 2 6240000 ext 26217 / 26210 Email: JustiniaT@ngha.med.sa
  • 2. In this session…  Definition and understanding of a literature review  Important steps in literature review writing  Critical appraisal of journals, articles and websites 2Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 3. Literature Search  The best way to find high quality information is to carry out a literature search on one or more databases and to download, copy or request relevant current publications on the topic/s of interest. 3Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 4. What is a research literature review?  It is a systematic, explicit and reproducible method for identifying, evaluating, and synthesizing the existing body of completed and recorded work produced by researchers, scholars, and practitioners. Fink, A. (2005). Conducting Research Literature Reviews. London: Sage. 4Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 5. Steps in literature review writing  Selecting the research questions  Selecting the sources  Choosing search terms  Conducting the search  Applying practical screening criteria  Critically appraising the literature  Journals & Articles  Websites 5Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 6. Selecting the research questions 6Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 7. Research questions influence search results Relevancy Retrieval (# of search results) Broad Questions Narrow Questions High = lots of articles Low = very few articles High = directly relevant articles Low = mostly irrelevant articles 7Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 8. Possible research questions Broad question: What is the prevalence of bacterial meningitis? Narrow question: What costs are associated with hospitalization for bacterial meningitis? Very narrow question: What strategies have been utilized in Saudi Arabia to reduce length of stay for patients with bacterial meningitis? 8Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 10. Literature review data sources  Online public bibliographic databases  Commercial bibliographic databases  Specialized bibliographic databases  Manual or “hand searches” of references lists  “Grey literature”  Web reports  Expert opinions 10Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 11. Bibliographic Databases  Medicine  PubMed (or Ovid MEDLINE), EMBASE, Cochrane Library, PsycINFO  Multidisciplinary  Scopus  Web of Science  Nursing and Allied Health  CINAHL 11Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 12. Websites  Associations, Organizations & Government  World Health Organization (WHO)  Health Canada  Canadian Medical Association  National Health Service (NHS) 12Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 13. “Grey Literature”  Dissertations & Theses  SCOPUS (conference proceedings)  Web search engines 13Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 14. Choosing Search Terms 14Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 15. Break down the research question  Select your database  Break down the research question into concepts  Identify subject headings (descriptors) for each concept  Identify text words for each concept  Use a “target article” to help identify search terms  Use a worksheet to keep track of your terms 1. Your database will determine your subject headings and operators (i.e., truncation symbols) 15Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 16. Different databases have different subject headings  Select subject headings that are the closest match for your concept  General descriptors: Anatomy  More specific descriptors: Ankle Database Subject Headings Medline MeSH EMBASE EMTREE CINAHL CINAHL Headings Cochrane Library MeSH PsycINFO Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms Scopus, Web of Science N/A 16Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 17. Search Strategy Worksheet Search Strategy Worksheet_________________________________________________ Search statement: I am looking for articles about ___________________________________________________________________ After writing out the search statement, underline the key concepts. Decide how the concepts will be combined together using the AND and OR Boolean operators. Concepts to be ANDed go across the grid and concepts to be ORed go down the grid. Fill in the grid with the key concepts and possible synonyms for each concept. AND AND AND AND OR OR OR OR OR OR OR Databases to search:___________________________________________________________________________________________ Limits to apply:_______________________________________________________________________________________________ 17Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 18. Key Operators in OVID Operator Command Example * Find alternate endings to this word nurs* [will find nurse, nursing, nurses] .tw. Search for this term in the Title and Abstract fields anxiety.tw. adj Search for one term within x number of terms from another patient adj3 anxiety [will find patient within three words of anxiety] AND Find articles where both terms appear smoking AND cessation OR Find articles where either term appears smoking OR tobacco 18Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 19. Conducting the Search 19Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 20. Conducing the Search  Start with your first concept  Search for the subject headings first  Then search text words  Combine these synonymous searches with OR using your search history  Repeat for your second, third, and subsequent concepts  Finally, combine large search results set with AND  Example MeSH search: hypertenstion AND toxicity 20Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 21. Concepts Which concepts are contained in the question: Does hand washing prevent MRSA in the ICU?  Hand washing  Prevention  MRSA  ICU 21Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 22. Getting the search results Concept 1 SEARCH 1 SEARCH 2 SEARCH 3 SEARCH 4 SEARCH 5 = 1 OR 2 OR 3 OR 4 Concept 1 SEARCH 6 SEARCH 7 SEARCH 8 SEARCH 9 SEARCH 10 = 1 OR 2 OR 3 OR 4 SEARCH 11 = 5 AND 10 = RESULTS 22Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 23. Applying Practical Screening Criteria 23Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 24. Screening Criteria Examples  Date of publication  only studies conducted between 2005 and 2010  Participants or subjects  only children 6 to 12 years of age  Publication language  only materials written in English or French  Research design  only clinical trials 24Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 25. Citation List  Searching databases will result in a list of citations, which include the information needed to locate the articles in print journals and other sources 25Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 26. Critically Appraising Journals & Articles 26Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 27. Be Critical  Once you have obtained the papers most relevant to your question you should consider a number of things before using the results.  This applies even when the publications are from peer reviewed journals. 27Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 28. Publication Bias  Negative results don’t (often) get published – If you want to carry out a detailed or systematic review of a subject area, you might consider trying to get hold of unpublished studies.  Reviewers may be biased against unconventional versus conventional techniques (eg orthodox drug versus alternative therapy). 28Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 29. Authorship  Are the authors based at a well-established Centre of Excellence?  Are there any issues of sponsorship or competing interests? 29Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 30. Journal Ranking & Impact Factors  Impact Factor is:  A measure of the frequency with which the "average article" in a journal has been cited in a particular year or period  The impact factor of a journal is linked to its popularity and accessibility  Journals with higher impact factors in a subject area are generally more highly regarded 30Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 31. Abstract Quality  Read the paper carefully; don’t rely on only the abstract  Many abstracts in peer reviewed journals have errors  Three common types of inaccuracies are:  data inconsistent in abstract and body of the paper, tables, and figures  data or information in the abstract do not appear elsewhere; and  conclusions in the abstract not substantiated in the paper itself 31Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 33. Be critical, be selective  The peer review system for journal articles provides a degree of quality control.  However, anybody can put anything on the web (you have to do your own critical appraisal). 33Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 34. What to consider  Content  consider intended audience, purpose of site, accuracy  are the sources of information provided?  Source; Consider  author(s)  is it current and up to date?  depth/breadth of coverage  bias – are there any conflicts of interest  Structure; Consider  graphics, presentation, ease of use, clarity 34Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 35. Don’t forget!  Your subject librarian can always help you. Don’t waste that valuable resource.  Make an point to meet your medical/university librarian to assist and advise you on your literature searches and literature reviews. 35Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 36. Useful References  Fink, A. (2005). Conducting Research Literature Reviews. London: Sage.  Greenhalgh, T. (2006). How to read a paper (3rd ed.). London: BMJ Publishing Group.  Sackett, D., Straus, S., & Richardson, W. (2000). Evidence-based medicine (2nd ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.  Wilson, P. (2002). How to find the good and avoid the bad or ugly. A short guide to tools for rating quality of health information on the internet. BMJ, 324, 598-602. 36Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 37. Useful Sites  NHS Solutions for Public Health http://www.sph.nhs.uk/what- we-do/public-health-workforce/resources  CADTH. Grey Matters: a practical search tool for evidence-based medicine - http://cadth.ca/en/resources/grey-matters  Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews and Interventions - http://www.cochrane-handbook.org/  IOM (Institute of Medicine). Finding what works in health care: standards for systematic reviews - http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2011/Finding-What-Works-in-Health- Care-Standards-for-Systematic-Reviews.aspx 37Literature Reviews & Literature Searches
  • 38. Questions? 38Literature Reviews & Literature Searches