Explore our growing collection of resources for reviewing research literature, created with input from our Forum members.

Do you know of a relevant resource that would benefit others? Please send them to Lucy Pratt.

Literature Review

This book provides a guide to undertaking a literature review, specifically in the subject area of post-graduate health and social care. It includes the step-by-step process of a literature review from start to finish. The book explains why literature reviews are important in research, and will help students to work out what type of review is best for their research and to appropriately select and analyse literature.

Conducting systematic reviews

This article provides a synopsis of the systematic review as a scientific exercise, one that influences health care decisions.

This paper looks at the use of thematic analysis in systematic reviews and how it brings together and integrates the findings of multiple qualitative studies.

This paper looks at the growing number of methods for synthesising qualitative research and discusses which methods are appropriate for which situation.

Good for all types of systematic reviews, for producing a high-quality piece of research.

This book covers all aspects of a review from defining what a review is (and is not), the family of reviews, (so you can pick the right one for you), defining the scope, all the nitty gritty of searching and managing your references, through to writing up and dissemination. Andrew Booth is vastly experienced, and he and his co-authors have produced a hugely accessible guide.

The York guidance is comprehensive, it has detail on every step of systematic reviews and is from the same team who run Prospero. Additional issues specific to reviews in more specialised topic areas are also addressed. This guide focuses on the methods relating to use of aggregate study-level data.

Why create your own search strategy when someone else has designed, tested and validated one for you? This site pulls together a wealth of search filters to help you identify study designs, population groups (e.g. ethnic or social groups), geographical areas (et LMIC), when you combine with your subject specific search terms.

Deduplication of the search results you’ve gathered from multiple databases is necessary to make the title/abstract screening as efficient as possible – you only want to see a paper once, after all. This paper guides you in making your Endnote deduplication as thorough as possible.

A very comprehensive ‘go-to’ guide to conducting systematic reviews of interventions. Frequently updated and freely available online.

Excellent basic ‘how-to’ resource – a bible for UG & PG dissertations.

The JBI Manual for Evidence Synthesis is designed to provide authors with a comprehensive guide to conducting JBI systematic reviews. It describes in detail the process of planning, undertaking and writing up a systematic review using JBI methods. This resource covers guidance for reviews and protocols for all review types. Very good for novices.

PRISMA aims to help authors improve the reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. PRISMA may also be useful for critical appraisal of published systematic reviews, although it is not a quality assessment instrument to gauge the quality of a systematic review.

For reviews that cannot be combined in meta-analysis. The Synthesis Without Meta-analysis (SWiM) guideline has been developed to guide clear reporting in reviews of interventions in which alternative synthesis methods to meta-analysis of effect estimates are used. This article describes the development of the SWiM guideline for the synthesis of quantitative data of intervention effects and presents the nine SWiM reporting items with accompanying explanations and examples.

One of the newer review types is the ‘scoping review’. In general, scoping reviews are commonly used for ‘reconnaissance’ – to clarify working definitions and conceptual boundaries of a topic or field. Scoping reviews are therefore particularly useful when a body of literature has not yet been comprehensively reviewed, or exhibits a complex or heterogeneous nature not amenable to a more precise systematic review of the evidence.

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