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Published on 24 Apr 2011
Health Studies
Lecture 6 Principles of Health Research
Three main types of reviews:
Review- synthesize the results and conclusions of 2 or more publications on a
given topic
Overview/ Systematic literature review- comprehensively identify and track
down all the literature on a given topic
Meta-analysis- techniques that combines pooled data sets from different studies
and analyzes them in order to reach a single observation for the aggregated
Literature Review
major publications
basis of theoretical framework
proposed methodology
a conceptual framework and theoretical and empirical information
Major research findings, research questions, and gaps
To broaden the knowledge base
Gives information on methods and procedures
Systemic Review
scientific tool which can be used to summarize, appraise, and communicate the
results and implications of otherwise unmanageable quantities of research
(CRD Report 4)
Published and unpublished 'grey' Literature
Aim: reduce bias
systematic approach in identification and evaluation of materials
objectiveness and interpretation
Cochrane Collaboration:
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
ScHARR- School for health and related Research
permits a broader perspective both in terms of range of study designs and
in incorporating qualitative research
Set objectives
develop rationale
Well-defined research question- Population, Medical/ social problem,
intervention, outcomes of concern, design of study
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Study protocol- set out tasks and methods
Time chart and budget
Identify Sources
comprehensive in coverage of bibliographic sources
types of material
Period of time to be covered
availability of previous bibliographies and reviews
published work
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...
Unpublished literature
Search Strategy
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
Missing aspects
additional concepts or search terms
have all publications been retrieved
Assessing the Quality of Studies
blind review or use of a “critical appraisal checklist
Outcome of the assessment:
to exclude
to rank or group studies by quality
adoption of either an interpretative or a statistical approach to combine
Presentation of results
what is the major conclusions of the review
what are the sources of evidence
what is the quality of the evidence
what is the likely degree of completeness
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