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Finding Research Reviews

The purpose of research reviews is to survey and synthesize research, and sometimes practice, in a particular area. They can be excellent sources of background reading, research ideas, criticism, and extensive bibliographies.

Reviews come in many forms. Some are books that compile and assess the research to date, or to highlight current developments or advances in a particular subject area. Some are journal articles. Some are literature reviews that are part of a dissertation.

All can be helpful for providing context for your own research.

Where & How To Find Reviews

In PsycInfo, first do a search for information on your topic. Once you have a result, then click on the link for Additional Limits. Under Methodology you can choose the review types that you wish. This includes 0800 literature review0830 systematic review, and 1200 meta analysis.

Web of Science does not offer you an option to limit your search by methodology as PsycInfo does. Instead, include review words in your keyword search, such as "review" or "systematic review."

Most dissertations include a literature review that places the author's research in context. These reviews are a good source for collected research on a given topic. Perform your search to find a dissertation in your area of interest, then preview the abstracts, literature reviews and reference lists for any that seem pertinent to you. Most are available online.

Finding Systematic Reviews

systematic review is a highly rigorous review that utilises a replicable and extensive search protocol. Systematic reviews aim to find, evaluate, and synthesize all relevant research related to a specific topic, in most cases a clinical query involving a precise phenomenon, population, and intervention.

An excellent introduction to systematic reviews is downloadable here (pdf).

There are several places to find systematic reviews (left).

The Cochrane Library is also a popular source of systematic reviews.

For an extensive introduction to finding and conducting systematic reviews, see this excellent guide from one of our health sciences librarians.