Lecture 6 - Part I
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Lecture 6 – Principles of Health Research
Types of Reviews
• Three main types (Sackett et al. 1991):
‘synthesize the results and conclusions of 2 or more publications on a given
Overview / systematic literature review
‘comprehensively identify and track down all the literature on a given topic’
technique that combines pooled datasets from different studies and analyzes
them in order to reach a single observation for the aggregated data
•Basis of theoretical framework
1. A conceptual framework and theoretical and empirical information
2. Major research findings, research questions, and gaps
Objectives of Literature Review
1. To broaden the knowledge base
2. Gives information on methods and procedures
•‘scientific tool which can be used to summarize, appraise, and communicate the
results and implications of otherwise unmanageable quantities of research’ (CRD
•Published and unpublished ‘grey’ literature.
•Aim: reduce bias
•Why are systematic reviews important?
-Systematic approach in identification and evaluation of materials
-Objectiveness in interpretation
Resources for Systematic Reviews
-Group of subject and methodology specialists who identify and synthesise the
results of controlled trials and maintain their reviews
-Developed a highly sensitive search strategy that has since been improved.
•ScHARR (School for Health And Related Research):
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-permits a broader perspective both in terms of range of study designs and in
incorporating qualitative research
Steps for conducting systematic reviews
1) Set objectives
2) Develop Rationale
-Well-defined research question –population, medical / social problem,
intervention, outcomes of concern, design of study
-Study protocol –set out tasks and methods
4) Time chart and budget – 6 to 18 months
5) Identify Sources
-Comprehensive in coverage of bibliographic sources
-Types of material
-Period of time to be covered
-Availability of previous bibliographies and reviews
Devising the Search Plan
•Summary of the study
•Inclusion and exclusion criteria
•List of the appropriate publications
•Sources and methods that will be used to identify materials
•Brainstorm of associated or concepts related to the topic
•Authors / institutions
•Manually searching reference lists or indexes, bibliographies...
•Operationalises these decisions for an individual database
•Are subject headings appropriate, specific , consistent, or precise?
•Which syntax will be used? ‘Boolean logic’ i.e. ‘OR’ ‘AND’
•Include input from information specialist
•Additional concepts or search terms?
•Have all publications been retrieved?
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