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Whether you are reviewing the literature for an essay or for a complete systematic review it can be difficult to know where to start. The following resources will help you to tackle your review in a structured manner.



Systematic reviews Iain Chalmers W20.5 SYS
Systematic reviews in health care: a practical guide Paul Glasziou W20.5 GLA


Abrams, S. E. (2012), Purpose, Insight, and the Review of Literature. Public Health Nursing, 29: 189–190. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1446.2012.01025.x

Davis, E.A., Thompson, C.B., Panacek, E.A. (1995). Basics of research (Part 2): Reviewing the literature. Air Medical Journal, 14 (2): 101-105.


This example of a literature review has been done for a sports science journal but the outline can be applied to reviews in general.

Loughborough University Library have written a particularly clear guide to carrying out a literature review.

This brief guide from the University of Toronto details the basic points to consider when writing your literature review.

Additionally, the following guides, although very detailed, are essential reading for anyone who wishes to write a good quality systematic review.

The Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions provides guidance for those preparing Cochrane Reviews.

The Centre for Reviews and Dissemination also provide guidance for undertaking a literature review in healthcare.

A minimum set of items for the reporting of systematic reviews has been set out in the PRISMA statement with a view to helping authors ensure their review meets a certain standard.


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